Nine Dragons

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I'm a longtime fan of Michael Connelly and (especially) his series of books featuring LA police detective Harry Bosch. But it's tough trying to keep up with Connelly's output: this book is from 2009, and there are still six later books from him in that mile-high to-be-read pile.

In this installment, Harry is investigating the murder of the Chinese owner of a run-down convenience store. He is (as always) the champion of the victim, but there's more of a connection than usual: the victim had offered him refuge in his store years back during a nasty riot.

Signs point to the involvement of the "Triad", a Chinese organized crime gang, who had been shaking the store down for protection money. Harry quickly ferrets out a suspect, who he manages to nab just before he hops a flight out of the country.

But things rapidly unwind: the actual evidence against the guy is weak, and Harry gets two phone calls. One warning him to back off, but that's nothing new. The second call is worse, though: Harry's ex-wife Eleanor and their daughter Madeline live in Hong Kong, and there's every indication that (somehow) Harry's arrest of the Triad goon in LA has put his daughter in danger.

In other words: "this time, it's personal." And it's off to Hong Kong, where frantic detective work alternates with a lot of slam-bang action.

So: a good read. Colorful settings, a tricky and surprising plot. You don't want to get on Harry's bad side. And just about everyone (save his daughter) can get on his bad side.

An irrelevant note: A few months back, I watched the Amazon Prime "pilot" for Bosch, an online series featuring our hero. Titus Welliver played Harry, and it is a tribute to his acting chops that I "saw" him as I was reading this book.

In contrast: Tom Cruise recently played Jack Reacher in a movie, and ever since seeing it, when I read Lee Child books, I "see" Reacher as … Kiefer Sutherland. Sorry, Tom.