Thursday, September 13, 2012

Book Review: Mulholland Dive by Michael Connelly

I’m a big fan of Michael Connelly and as such I guess I should wear a kind of blindfold when it comes to his work, but alas that is not the case, so I just have to say that, in my humble opinion, Mulholland Dive is not as good as his two previous three-story ebook collections, Suicide Run and Angle of Investigation.

I don’t know if it’s the Harry Bosch component that’s missing here, but I do know that these stories seem a bit flawed. Yet again maybe that’s only because when it comes to short stories I really set the bar high.

When it comes to the stories themselves the best one is the last, Two-Bagger. A meth cook that goes by the name Eugene Vachon has just got out of jail, and two cops, Stilwell and Harwick, are waiting for him to arrive by bus in Los Angeles. According to the info received by the Gang Intelligence Unit, during his stay in jail Vachon was under the protection of the Road Saints Gang, which means that now that he’s out he’ll somehow have to return the favor. How? Most probably by killing someone, following Sonny Mitchell’s, the gang leader’s, orders. Who’s the indented target? Nobody knows. And that’s exactly why Stilwell and Harwick are on Vachon’s tail. The end arrives with a bang, and it’s exactly then that all the pieces fall together.

Cahoots, the first story of the three, takes place in the early 1930’s. The narrator is an unnamed man who’s playing cards with another five men, one of whom is a cheat. McMillan, the bad apple, talks to his co-players about a big heist, which involves stealing the gold and silver Olympic metals, melting them and selling them as bars, thus making themselves rich. The narrator, who tells the story in the present tense, though it has already come to pass, is certain that what McMillan is really trying to do is distract them, so he can take their money while feeding them tales of wealth and glory.

In-between the aforementioned stories, comes Mulholland Dive. Detective Clewiston, a reconstructionist for the LAPD, is heading to Mulholland Drive, where a man in an expensive car has taken a… dive down the hill. The man is dead, and it’s up to Clewiston to determine whether what happened was an accident or not. The victim, a celebrity of sorts, was in the middle of divorce proceedings, so if his death is ruled a homicide his almost ex-wife will become the prime suspect. If not, she’ll walk away richer than ever. What is the verdict going to be? Maybe the expected. The result? The unexpected.

At the end of these stories you can find a generous forty pages of Michael Connelly’s next novel, The Black Box, which comes out on November 26.

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