Trunk Music by Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch #5)Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
Published by Little, Brown and Company on January 28th 1997
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 427
Source: Borrowed: ebook

Back on the job after an involuntary leave of absence, LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch is ready for a challenge. But his first case is a little more than he bargained for.

It starts with the body of a Hollywood producer in the trunk of a Rolls-Royce, shot twice in the head at close range - what looks like "trunk music," a Mafia hit. But the LAPD's organized crime unit is curiously uninterested, and when Harry follows a trail of gambling debts to Las Vegas, the case suddenly becomes more complex - and much more personal.

A rekindled romance with an old girlfriend opens new perspectives on the murder, and he begins to glimpse a shocking triangle of corruption and collusion. Yanked off the case, Harry himself is soon the one being investigated. But only a bullet can stop Harry when he's searching for the truth . . .

Well I was up and down about Harry Bosch. I absolutely love the tv series and decided to go back and read these books. The only book I have read out of the series is “City of Bones.” At the time I had no idea it was part of an ongoing series. It was in one of my grandpa’s Reader’s Digest condensed books that included 3 other novels. I recall liking that story and had an idea at one time to see about other books Connelly wrote, but that was years ago and I forgot about it. When the tv series came out, I fall in love with Bosch all over again and started working my way through the series. Now with book #5, I can say that Connelly finally hits the sweet spot with Harry and company. I enjoyed this one from beginning to end. And the final reveal about how the murder victim was set up and by who was great too. I do have to say though, that Harry won’t stop, and can’t stop, he definitely has a blind spot about what repercussions will happen due to his actions. We get to see this over and over again in the next few books.

“Trunk Music” has Harry back after his leave of absence. He is excited to be back to doing what he knows, investigating murders and finding out who dun it. With a new set-up in Hollywood Division (3 partners per case) Harry, J. Edgar, and Kiz are working together after a man’s body is found in a trunk.

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Told in the first person by Harry Bosch, I found “Trunk Music” showcased a different Harry than one I am used to. This one is more subdued, is not a jerk, and definitely gets the issues (or tries to) with two partners who are African American. If anything, we get to see that Harry starts to really like Kiz more. And he is starting to see that J. Edgar kind of sucks. That one surprises me though, I definitely get that Harry and J. Edgar had some minor issues here and there, but a few times it is implied how J. Edgar shirks work.  One important thing that I got a kick out of while reading this book though is we get a better sense of Harry’s moral compass in this one. No matter what happens, whoever is responsible will be held responsible for the murdered man.  We also see that though the job drives him, he is lonely and has not been with someone for at least a year I think.

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Though the book is told in Harry’s POV, we do get a great sense of secondary characters included in this book. We once again have an IA man, John Chastain, up in Harry’s business. This guy will come up in the next book, so pay attention to the animosity Harry and this character have. I think that Harry has been investigated by IA in every book at this point. Or at least had them nosing around.

The case ends up leading Harry back to Vegas and he is shocked to see his ex-lover Eleanor Wish (first appearance “The Black Echo” Harry Bosch #1). Eleanor who we met in a previous novel, is an ex-FBI agent who has finally been released. She’s playing cards in Vegas and trying to get her life back on track. After Eleanor and Harry meet up, we find out how she is tied into Harry’s current case.  I really didn’t like this character after we find out what she did in “The Black Echo” and I have to say that Harry’s taste in women continues to be downright terrible.

One thing that I enjoy about these types of books is the forensics that come into play. Due to the location of the body of the trunk, we have LAPD scrambling to move the entire thing in one go and reading about how it works, how they go about testing and using the lay of the land to determine what happens always gets my brain racing. This is probably why I love Agatha Christie books so much. I love seeing how things the author brings up initially circle back to showing how a murder was committed and who did it and why.

The flow for this one really works. Though it does feel like every five seconds Harry was back in Las Vegas. We do get to see how his interaction with witnesses and suspects can somehow color his perceptions down the road. I may have said a few times to myself, um Harry, slow down and get your temper under control. Due to the fact that Eleanor is tied up in this mess, Harry seems hell-bent on keeping her safe first, and tying up his case next.

The setting switches between LA and Las Vegas. Most of the action seems to take place in Las Vegas this time through. I have been to Vegas a few times, and Connelly describes it as a sister city to LA and maybe even darker. I guess Connelly is not here for the Disney version of Vegas these days.

The ending surprised the life out of me though when Harry finally lays eyes on a character he was chasing the whole book I mumble okay random coincidence. I didn’t buy it, and thought it was just a reach. Sometimes it’s okay to just end a book with not everything wrapped up.