Four years ago, Harry Bosch was part of a task force assigned to find a brutal sexual serial killer known as "The Dollmaker". In the course of following a hot lead, faced with one of those terrifying life-or-death decisions that all police officers fear may eventually come their way, Bosch was forced to use lethal force and shot a completely naked, unarmed Norman Church. Despite subsequent forensic investigation having proved that Church was "The Dollmaker" and an internal police investigation that cleared the night's work as a "good shooting", Bosch is now stunned to find himself in court as the defendant in a civil lawsuit alleging improprieties from improper entry to excessive use of police force seeking millions of dollars in punitive damages. What's even worse is that his inept city-appointed defense attorney is squared off against the awesome court experienced power of well-known civil rights attorney "Money" Chandler, who has yet to meet the stone that she couldn't squeeze blood out of!
During Bosch's trial the police department receives a note that discloses the location of a body buried in the concrete foundation of a burned out pool hall. The nature of the note and the state of the buried blonde corpse seem to suggest that The Dollmaker, far from being dead, is in fact alive and well and continuing to kill with sadistic sexual abandon. Faced with the possibility that Norman Church never was "The Dollmaker" and that Bosch shot an innocent unarmed bystander who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, things are looking mighty bleak for the outcome of his trial. But - Bosch is Bosch, after all - and in the unwavering conviction that his actions that night were not only justified but completely correct, Bosch investigates the possibility of a copycat killer that he nicknames "The Follower". The hunt is on! If Bosch can't find the new killer before the jury begins deliberations on his trial, he'll almost certainly see the end of his career as a homicide detective in LAPD.
Michael Connelly is undoubtedly today's acknowledged master in the crafting of thrilling police procedural novels. And this provides the entrée, as it were, in "The Concrete Blonde" banquet. But Connelly serves up the gustatory delights of some cleverly conceived side dishes, aperitifs and deserts as well ... stirring courtroom drama, insight into the nature of internal police politics, a warmly realistic love story that exemplifies the difficulties and worries that must face the spouse of a police officer every single day of their lives, a down and dirty close up essay on the realities of the skin flick industry and, of course, a continuing character study on Hieronymus Bosch, who has to be one of the most interesting literary characters for whom pen was ever put to paper.
If there's any weakness in Connelly's Harry Bosch series yet, I certainly don't know what it might be! Highly recommended!