A Michael Connelly novel that features two of his best-loved heroes – Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller.
With a few exceptions I’m not a great fan of standard police detective novels, especially if said detective has appeared in a large number of books already. Over the years I’ve read a few books by Michael Connelly. The majority of his output features maverick detective Harry Bosch, who has worked for various parts of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). A smaller number of books feature Harry’s half-brother, Mickey Haller, a defence lawyer. This book features them both.
In Two Kinds of Truth, Harry is working as a volunteer for the minute San Fernando Police Department, which is in a small, mainly Latino enclave, completely surrounded by greater Los Angeles. He helps out when needed but mainly works to solve cold cases. He left the LAPD under a cloud, which got heavier when he sued them to reinstate his pension. He’s definitely persona non grata with the LAPD, and this comes back to bite him in this story.
The book is a story in two parts. There’s an investigation into a double murder at a local pharmacy, which takes Bosch on a very dangerous and bumpy ride into a large-scale prescription fraud orchestrated by the Russian Mafia. The other part is a problem with a death row inmate who now claims Bosch framed him and that new DNA evidence proves it. The LAPD leave Harry out in the cold, trying to clear his name and keep the killer behind bars. Both investigations nearly cost Harry his life but, of course, all ends well on both counts.
A good read?
I found the story of the prescription fraud and the Russian gangsters fairly pedestrian, almost formulaic. The set-up of the fraud is quite neat, though. A number of shady doctors willing to write prescriptions for strong opioids; an equal number of pharmacies willing to fill all these prescriptions no-questions-asked; and a large number of addicts who are shuffled by their minders endlessly from doctor, to pharmacy, to dealer, where they offload their opioid cargo. Bosch goes undercover as a drug addict to crack the case.
The other half of the story features Mickey Haller much more prominently. He takes on defending Bosch in the case of the inmate who claims Bosch framed him, and there are the usual courtroom machinations before the matter is resolved.
Bosch v Haller
Personally I am much more a fan of Mickey Haller than of the driven Bosch. I find Haller charming, ruthless when it suits him, devious when needed but on the whole fairly righteous. He got the nickname ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ due to his habit of working out of the backseat of his Lincoln town car. And the first book of Connelly’s Mickey Haller series was titled The Lincoln Lawyer and made into a very successful film a number of years ago. At one stage in Two Kinds of Truth, Mickey refers to the actor who played him in the film which made me smile. (I’ve seen the film and it was excellent.)
I’ve only been reading Michael Connelly for a few years and the first book of his which I ever read was The Brass Verdict in the Mickey Haller series. Maybe that is why I like him so much more than the maverick, almost totally humourless Bosch.
I give this book 3.5 Stars, and only really because Mickey Haller features so prominently in it.
Review by: Freyja