Trunk Music

Reviewed: July 21, 2006
By: Michael Connelly
Publisher: St. Martins Press
448 pages, $10.99

Iím quietly working my way through Michael Connellyís Harry (for Hieronymous) Bosch mysteries. Maybe I should jump ahead to the brand new ones, but all of these are still in print and also available in omnibus sets as e-books, so itís just very convenient to carry on as I have begun.

Trunk Music refers to a method of assassination used by the mob to deal with people who have broken the rules. Details may vary, but a typical example ends up like Anthony A. Aliso, the president of TNA Productions: full of bullet holes and crammed into the trunk of his Rolls.

Tony probably told people that the acronym of his company stood for his initials, but the type of films he marketed indicated that the letters came from somewhere else and that kind of business often had a link to organized crime.

It appeared that Tony had been bumped off after returning to LA from Vegas, but his wife didnít seem to know much about his business or who might have had it in for him.

Harry wants the case, not so much because he is anxious to avenge poor Tony, but because homicide investigation is really what police work is all about for him, and no one has been letting him do any lately. Harry has problems with authority and doesnít always go by the book. Internal Affairs has been sniffing round so often that itís a wonder heís still on the force.

The thing is, while he may bend a few rules on the way to a collar, the kinks arenít enough to hurt the prosecution in court, and he he has a way of solving mysteries that other people donít. He also has a new boss, which is a good thing. Lieut. Grace Billets (known to her officers as Bullets) was moving Harry back into homicide after his 18 month exile on other duties.

This case sends Harry to Vegas, and reunites him with a romantic interest from an earlier novel in the series. Former FBI agent Eleanor Wish had been busted from the agency and had served time after that, Cops arenít supposed to associate with known felons, but it turns out that Eleanor is very much a part of the Aliso case, which complicates matters.

In fact the whole thing gets complicated beyond belief and Harry finds himself up that well known creek once again when the case he is working along with the Vegas cops trips over an FBI undercover operation and blows an agentís cover. There are some folks who want to think that he did that on purpose.

What the FBI mess did was head everyone off in the wrong direction and Bosch, having been removed from the case while under investigation (again!) decides that the only way heís really going to clear himself of suspicion and scratch that annoying unsolved itch is to start over from scratch (pardon) and reexamine every detail and every assumption that his team had made along the way.

Itís all completely unauthorized, of course, but that often seems to be when Harry does his best work. There are several more twists and turns before the case gets solved, but the ending is quite satisfactory.