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Angels Flight (A Harry Bosch Novel, 6) Mass Market Paperback – March 6, 2018
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"A Connelly novel is a thing of cool beauty."―Chicago Tribune
"Michael Connelly is the master of the universe in which he lives, and that is the sphere of crime thrillers. This man is so good at what he does."
About the Author
- Publisher : Grand Central Publishing (March 6, 2018)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 512 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1538762714
- ISBN-13 : 978-1538762714
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.25 x 1 x 7.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #24,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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For those familiar with the “Bosch” TV series on Amazon, “Angels Flight” served as the basis for the show’s fourth season. However, for people who have seen the series but not read this book, their enjoyment won’t be spoiled by their prior experience. The resolution of the central mystery in the novel is quite different, and in my opinion, better and considerably more complex than on the TV show.
The Angels Flight referred to in the title of the novel is a well-known Los Angeles landmark, a cable car that goes up and down a nearly vertical incline in downtown Los Angeles. When Connelly wrote “Angels Flight” in 1999, the ride was in service, although it’s been closed on and off since then for various repairs (as I write this review in 2019, it’s open again). Although the ride is a tourist attraction, it’s also a method of transport for those who live in the area, like the novel’s Howard Elias, a black attorney who made quite a bit of money suing the LAPD on behalf of various suspects and defendants. His latest multimillion-dollar lawsuit was due to go to trial in a couple of days when a gunman put a permanent end to Elias’ career as he rode the train late one night. The LAPD brass realize that the case is potentially explosive since Elias was both a hero to many in the black community and a man despised and vilified by many cops. Of course, Bosch gets assigned the case, and he soon finds that maneuvering past all the departmental and city politics involved is even more challenging than finding the killer.
As a mystery, “Angels Flight” is quite good, with Connelly throwing in some classic bits like cryptic messages that Bosch finds in Elias’ office which need to be deciphered. The final reveal in the last couple of chapters is fairly surprising as well, as the author covers his tracks well when he leaves a handful of clues behind. But “Angels Flight” is about far more than figuring out who killed Howard Elias. Instead, it’s a study in the murky gray area where law enforcement and politics collide. In 1999, when “Angels Flight” is set, Los Angeles was still dealing with the aftermath of the Rodney King and O.J. Simpson cases, so Bosch’s superiors in the story were acutely aware of the possible repercussions of Elias’ murder and how it might play out among the black community, especially if a cop was implicated in the killing. So, the book becomes somewhat of a tightrope act that Bosch and his superiors work, torn between the effort to find the killer and the need to keep the peace in the city, along with a good bit of cynical self-dealing by some of the characters in the book. This makes for a fascinating, compelling read that easily eclipses the actual murder mystery in terms of engaging readers. Many readers will not enjoy the book’s rather cynical ending, but that’s the sign of an excellent book. Connelly is not afraid to deny readers the pat happy ending they typically want in favor of a murkier and more realistic one.
Connelly also takes the time to give readers assorted bits and pieces of police business that don’t advance the actual case at hand but do make the novel feel more real. One great example is his discussion of one of Bosch’s earlier cases, one that the press dubbed the “hard-boiled egg” case. As Bosch reluctantly recounts the story, it was the presence of hard-boiled eggs at the scene of a suspicious death that enabled him to determine what actually occurred there. Unlike some writers who strive for “authenticity” by burying readers with mountains of researched detail, Connelly gives just enough to make the action seem real without detracting from the pace of the book.
One aspect of “Angels Flight” that will probably garner some chuckles for readers in 2019 that weren’t there when the book was first published is its depiction of now-badly outdated technology. In 1999, lots of police still used pagers instead of cell phones (which figures into the plot on a couple of occasions), and Bosch seems to be a complete Luddite regarding the use of personal computers and the Internet. As a result, one of the younger, more technically savvy detectives on the case has to give him a crash course that winds up being rather amusing when read today. The investigation in the Elias case eventually uncovers some Internet-based criminal activity, and, at the time, probably surprised and shocked some readers that it even existed. Today, that sort of activity still goes on, but the mechanism portrayed in “Angels Flight” seems almost archaic.
Apart from some badly dated technological references, though, “Angels Flight” remains as cutting edge today as it was 20 years ago. The politics and the intrigue are just as fresh, and the moral dilemmas that Bosch faces as he tries to wade his way through the case are just as troubling for him and the readers. The entire novel takes place over a week, but readers will completely lose track of time, both in terms of Bosch’s progress on the case and their own in reading the book. The book is a good introduction to Connelly and Bosch, as its plot isn’t overly reliant on events in earlier books. But the best reason I can give for recommending “Angels Flight” is that it’s just a top-notch novel.
Oh, and Bosch’s year-old marriage is falling apart.
Angels Flight is Michael Connelly’s sixth Harry Bosch novels, and like the previous ones, I couldn’t put it down. Connelly writes a tight, well-paced whodunit. The twists and turns of the investigation keep your eyes glued to the page even as your empathy for the investigator grows because of his personal crisis. You want Bosch to solve the crime and save his marriage. But can he really do both?
Connelly has his pulse on the post-Rodney King antipathy between Los Angeles’ black residents and the LAPD. This lends verisimilitude to the novel’s portrait of rogue police officers, race hustlers, and bureaucratic fixers. In the end, everyone gets what they want, though not in the way they expected. Angels Flight is a great read, probably the best of the first six installments in Connelly’s twenty-novel Bosch series.
A prominent black attorney, Howard Elias, is murdered while a passenger on the Angels Flight trolley. Elias has been working on a legal defense for a man accused of kidnapping and murdering a young girl in a terrible manner. Elias’ murder fans the flames of racial hatred causing riots and looting in different parts of the city. Many people believe that members of the LAPD were responsible for his death. The situation reminded me of Rodney King who was beaten severely in 1991 by the LAPD which resulted in terrible race riots.
The parents of the murdered girl are quite wealthy. The father, Sam Kincaid, owns many car dealerships around the Los Angeles area and uses bizarre advertising techniques to bring in business. He reminded me of an actual Southern California car dealer, Cal Worthington, whose slogan set to music was, “Go See Cal, Go See Cal.”
Several more murders ensue and the FBI is brought in to help the LAPD. Besides having to work with the FBI and other “unfriendly” police departments, Harry Bosch has a personal problem which causes minor distractions at times; his wife Eleanor is unhappy with their marriage and is threatening to leave him. This area of the story is a rather weak one and we never learn exactly what Eleanor’s real problem is.
Altogether it’s a fascinating story with a complex plot that will keep you turning pages until the surprise ending unfolds.
Top reviews from other countries
I adore the writings of Michael Connelly and his depiction of life, its hardships and cruelties through the eyes of one honest and incorruptible policeman the great antihero Harry Bosch. I sympathize with his pain, and his longing for some inner peace, his search for a partner, a soulmate someone to share his anguish and mop his fevered brow...It is the style of writing and Connelly's ability to get under the skin of Bosch, laying him open to an eager reader, that makes for some wonderful thoughtful observations...."The rich kept you waiting so that you could feel free to admire all that they had."..."Happy is the man who finds refuge in himself."...."He believed in the one shot. He didn't know if he'd had his yet- it wasn't the kind of thing you knew and understood until you looked back over your life as an old man."...."It's about hope, Detective she continued. Most of the people in the minority communities of Los Angeles have no power, have no money, have no voice. They subsist on hope for these things. And Howard Elias was hope for many of them".....
Everyone in this book is perfect from the strong storyline to the well drawn and very believable characters, from the sad and deeply troubled ex cop Frankie Sheehan to the political ambitions of Deputy Chief Irvin Irving. I rarely ever read a book by Michael Connelly that is not worthy of at least a 5 star review and this is no exception. Highly Recommended.
When Howard Elias is killed, everyone in LA is bracing for race riots like Rodney King. Elias was a lawyer about to prove his black client was tortured by the LAPD but gets gunned down. Bosch is thrown into the case, buffeted by politics throughout. The case throws up amazing surprises that are altogether credible, and Bosch's personal life goes to hell in front of his eyes at the same time.
It is simply the best police procedural I have ever read. It makes me want to read more Connelly. It is sharp, complex, and written with real inside knowledge. Brilliant
Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch is back, fighting crime in Los Angeles, and for once he finds himself almost a part of the establishment, although naturally, Bosch being Bosch, things prove to be far from straightforward.
The novel opens with Bosch being called in the middle of a Friday night in 1999 by the Deputy Chief of Police for Los Angeles, demanding that he gather together his team and proceed, as soon as possible, to Angels Flight, the landmark funicular railway in Bunker Hill, downtown LA. Having arrived, he learns that there has been a double murder, and that one of the victims is prominent lawyer. Howard Elias had made many enemies (mainly cops) during his successful career that revolved around suing LAPD officers and detectives over claims of police brutality, racism and corruption. His latest case, charging four LAPD detectives with the torture of an African American suspect being held on suspicion of murder, was scheduled to start during the following week.
All too conscious of the rioting and mayhem that had followed the clearing of the officers charged with beating up Rodney King, the Deputy Chief asks Bosch to lead the investigation, and to keep him advised of every new development. Feeling that he is being set up to fail in the glare of extreme public and media scrutiny, Bosch is reluctant to take the case on, but is given no room for manoeuvre by the Deputy Chief. As if to add insult to injury, aware that suspicion is bound to land on rogue police officers, the Deputy Chief orders Bosch to work alongside four detectives from Internal Affairs Division, including john Chastain, who had twice investigated disciplinary charges levelled against Bosch himself. As if these factors were not enough to leave Bosch feeling sorely tried, his marriage to former FBI agent Eleanor Wish is also facing difficulties, and she seems to have gone AWOL.
Michael Connelly’s talent lies in his tight plotting and creation of highly plausible characters. In this novel there is greater consideration of the political context against which the plot unfolds, but this never intrudes to the detriment of the books, there is lots of action, although this time there a fair amount of political intrigue is adept at keeping the plot moving, and he does just that here.
Harry is put in charge of a case no detective in the LA police force wants to handle. The murder victim, Howard Elias, is a prominent lawyer who is bringing a civil case against the police for the violent way in which they handled the interrogation of his client, Michael Harris, who had been acquitted for the rape and murder of a 12 year old girl. Elias believes he has sufficient evidence to not only bring down the guilty cops but also to expose the real murderer of the young girl.
What I particularly enjoyed was the way the story unfolds. It starts with the discovery of two bodies in one of the cars on the Angels Flight cable railway in downtown Los Angeles and Harry being ordered to take charge of the case. From then on you follow the investigation through the eyes of Harry and his team, as if you are a fly-on-the-wall. You are present as they sift and uncover evidence and develop possible motives for a number of different suspects. As they hunt for the truth, you empathise with their concerns, their fears of being swayed by their own feelings for the earlier case and their increasing frustration as they sense they are being manipulated for political purposes.
You can easily read and enjoy this book as a standalone novel, but I think you will appreciate it all the more if you have read the previous books in the series as a number of characters who appeared in the earlier books play a prominent part in this one. It also helps if you know about the politically charged atmosphere in the USA in the early-to-mid nineteen-nineties as this is an important backdrop to the story.
There are plenty of twists and turns to the story and the ending caught me by surprise. I should say however, that some readers may find one or two of the scenes or some of the subject matter a little unsettling. But as a police procedural novel, this one is outstanding.