Monday, November 2, 2009

Review: 9 Dragons by Michael Connelly

Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly
Published by Little, Brown and Company
Release date: October 13, 2009

From the Publisher:

LAPD Detective Harry Bosch is off the chain in the fastest, fiercest, and highest-stakes case of his life.

Fortune Liquors is a small shop in a tough South L.A. neighborhood, a store Bosch has known for years. The murder of John Li, the store's owner, hits Bosch hard, and he promises Li's family that he'll find the killer.

The world Bosch steps into next is unknown territory. He brings in a detective from the Asian Gang Unit for help with translation--not just of languages but also of the cultural norms and expectations that guided Li's life. He uncovers a link to a Hong Kong triad, a lethal and far-reaching crime ring that follows many immigrants to their new lives in the U.S.

And instantly his world explodes. The one good thing in Bosch's life, the person he holds most dear, is taken from him and Bosch travels to Hong Kong in an all-or-nothing bid to regain what he's lost. In a place known as Nine Dragons, as the city's Hungry Ghosts festival burns around him, Bosch puts aside everything he knows and risks everything he has in a desperate bid to outmatch the triad's ferocity.

I've read a few of the Harry Bosch books in the past and enjoyed them. While my previous experience with Michael Connelly's work had piqued my interest enough to continuing reading the series, I must admit that none has kept my attention in quite the way Nine Dragons did. I didn't want to put it down! It ended up being one of those books I finished in a day. For me, this is a huge compliment to the author's skill in combining the people, themes, and ambiance with the writing that binds these elements.

I had always thought of the Harry Bosch character as somewhat one dimensional, where he's all about the police work and his personal life gets a minor, passing mention. Nine Dragons changed that for me, throwing his personal life into the forefront as he attempts a daring rescue while trying to find out who's responsible for the murder that set it all off. I felt this added more substance to Bosch, making his work all the more urgent because of the personal connection therefore making the reading more urgent for me. I love a fast paced book that grabs me and refuses to let go!

There were a few elements that didn't sit well with me. Some of the scenarios Bosch finds himself in at times felt a bit surreal, like Schwarzenegger taking on all the bad guys single-handed, but I could definitely picture this book as a big screen production. Harry does find himself relying on others a bit more than he likes but is able to come to terms with this. I was a bit disturbed that Bosch seemed to have a bit of a racial prejudice but this is explained and I felt throughout it does get dealt with well. But, again, the flow of the book far outweighed these small negative aspects.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to see what happens from here. If you enjoy an action-filled, seat-of-your-pants mystery, then you'll like it too!

For more information on Michael Connelly, checl out his website: or you can become a fan on Facebook at


okbolover said...

Great review! I can't wait to receive this book soon! :)

Jackie said...

okbo- Thanks! I hope you get it too ;-)

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

oh I need to mix things up - it's time for a good thriller & this sounds good :)

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