HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly
Loading...

The Concrete Blonde (1994)

by Michael Connelly

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Harry Bosch (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,475None2,466 (3.9)70
audiobook (14) Bosch (16) California (22) Connelly (13) crime (97) crime fiction (31) detective (42) ebook (23) fiction (179) Harry Bosch (124) Kindle (10) LA (13) Los Angeles (53) Michael Connelly (14) murder (17) mystery (244) Mystery/Thriller (12) novel (14) paperback (13) police (16) police procedural (30) policier (9) read (37) serial killer (29) series (27) signed (10) suspense (18) thriller (52) to-read (17) USA (23)

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 70 mentions

English (50)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
[Cross-posted to Knite Writes]

I thought this was a great followup to The Black Ice. Connelly spent a lot more time in this novel exploring Harry’s feelings about the situations that have defined the past few years of his life, and I liked the change of pace. Much of this novel was spent in a court room setting, where Harry’s actions as a cop (and as a person) were deconstructed in a way that allowed the reader to gain a greater understanding of his motivations. His backstory, which has been briefly mentioned in prior installments, was brought closer to the surface this time around, and it added a great deal to Harry’s overall characterization.

On top of that, the plot was wonderfully twisted. There were some classic red herrings, a lot of hardboiled detective work, and several tense life-or-death scenes that kept the pace going strong in a book that could have easily fallen into a slow, plodding track, given all that “courtroom” stuff I mentioned. Connelly kept the suspense on high throughout, giving you just enough information to make you want to keep reading at all times but never dumping too many revelations at once.

The wealth of characters in the Harry Bosch world weren’t forgotten either. Connelly developed many, many characters in this book — from Harry’s friend and former partner Edgar to the frequently loathed Irving — and it kept the supporting cast rich, interesting, and relatable.

Overall, I really enjoyed this installment (if that wasn’t apparent) and look forward to continuing the series in the near future. ( )
  TherinKnite | Mar 31, 2014 |
The backstory: Concrete Blonde is the third mystery in Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series. Read my reviews of the first two: The Black Echo and The Black Ice.

The basics: Harry Bosch is on trial in civil court for the killing of the Dollmaker serial killer four years ago. Meanwhile, it appears the Dollmaker may not be dead. A new note, presumably from the killer, is received, and it points to a new body, one who died after the Dollmaker.

My thoughts: I have an odd fascination for serial killer stories, and Concrete Blonde is a good one. By re-investigating the murders from four years ago, before the Bosch series begins, the reader gets to know more about this case that demoted Bosch from the prestigious Robbery Homicide Division to Hollywood homicide. In many ways, this book felt allows Bosch and his recent past to come full circle. It's simultaneously an intriguing mystery and a suspenseful legal thriller, as every clue to the new body and note have potentially dire implications for Bosch's civil defense case.

I enjoyed each element of this novel, but I most appreciated the depth with which Connelly explores Bosch's backstory in this mystery. I'm frequently annoyed when mystery writers stifle character growth, even when paired with a compelling mystery. Connelly shows no fear, either in his mysteries tinged with law enforcement corruption or with exploring Bosch's demons. Bosch isn't a character I would say I particularly liked, but he is one I increasingly trust and remain fascinated by. I can't wait to see where Connelly takes him nest.

The verdict: Concrete Blonde is another excellent book in a superb series. While I correctly predicted some of its twists and turns, Connelly once again kept me on my toes. The biggest strength of this novel is the combination of beguiling mystery and the continued growth of Bosch as a character. ( )
  nomadreader | Mar 26, 2014 |
This was my first and last Rankin book. And it's a stupid reason for not reading more of them: I hate their dialect! I was unable to understand the side jokes and references which made me disappointed because those are the things I look forward to reading. The plot itself was okay but hardly suspenseful. ( )
  rob80ert | Feb 20, 2014 |
Wow. Just wow.
The story centers around a previous case of Bosch's, the one which got him booted out of the elite homicide squad and into Hollywood. Bosch was on the case of the Dollmaker, a serial killer who hunted, raped, and murdered prostitutes, then dehumanized them by painting their faces with makeup. Bosch shot and killed a man who he thought was resisting arrest and reaching for a gun. Evidence that this man was the serial killer was subsequently discovered--as was the fact that the man's object when disobeying police orders, far from a gun, was his toupee. Years later, the man's widow is now suing Bosch. At the same time, evidence is emerging that either the Dollmaker had a copycat or Bosch killed the wrong man. Alternating between being interrogated in court for his past actions and searching for this new appearance of the killer, Bosch is forced to consider whether his violence is justified or whether hunting the monsters has so warped his viewpoint that all he can see is the monster in those around him. As the prosecutor asks, "If the system turns away from the abuses inflicted on the guilty, then who can be next but the innocents?" During the story, one of the characters quotes Nietzche: “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” All of the stories in the series have explored this theme. What makes the internal investigations officer become an instrument of corruption? How does the drug task force cop become a dealer? Why does the Ad Vice cop become the sexual predator he is supposed to hunt? In this book, Bosch is confronted with how easy it is to fall into darkness--how easy it is for a man who hunts monsters to become one. It is a poignant and powerful story and leaves one with questions far after the last page is reached.

The book also explicitly deals with society's treatment of women. It points out the way the prostitutes are dehumanized, even how names like "the Dollmaker" infantilize and dehumanize the victims. Connelly points out how anger at women in power always seems to fall into sexual insults. They are called bitches and whores, and the men they dominate intellectually tell themselves and others that they gained the power by "f*cking a man in power". The book discusses how rape, how reducing women to sexual objects, is about humiliation and dominance. Yet throughout the series, Bosch and Connelly themselves are complicit in using sexually charged, female-humiliating language. I can't decide if it is intentional or not, but it certainly got me to thinking about how often the language for humiliation is the language of rape. For example, IAD officials who go after a detective have a "hard-on" for him, a phrase I have found repulsive and distasteful in previous books. Bosch declares that (emphasis mine) "we're going to nail this son of a bitch." (Ever hear anyone use the phrase, "son of a womanizer"?) Another conversation: "'You f*ck!...I'm in that courtroom getting f*cked in the ass and I find out you're the guy'...'I'm sorry. She screwed me too. It was like blackmail. I couldn't--I tried to get out of it but she had me by the shorthairs.'" The language of rape here is so explicit, so repetitive, that it made me realize how common this language is in our culture, especially in male-dominated fields. I didn't even realize how often I use them.

The book's focus is on ethics rather than action, but the prose still has the tight journalistic style that makes it a fast and easy read. I like this style, although it leaves some of the characterization very sparse; for example, after three books of the character, I still don't know whether "98" Pound's nickname was given sarcastically. Connelly's dialogue is still a little problematic: although more natural than in the first book, all characters have very similar voices and use similar intonation and expression. Oddly, for a book that so clearly "gets it" in terms of rape and rape language, the book's predominantly male cast is rather disappointing. For a story dealing with the theme of humiliation of women, dominance of women, confinement of women, there are very few women in the story; only two of any significance: the cold, clinical, and extremely successful lawyer, Honey Chandler, and Harry's gentle, damsel-in-distress style girlfriend, Sylvia. But for all these minor defects, the questions asked are troubling and relevant. To hunt the monsters, must one become one? Has Bosch crossed that invisible line that divides the monsters from the heroes? Does the line even exist?

This book also comes at the right time in the series. At this point, after two books seeing him in action, seeing him both cruel and kind, I like Bosch. I empathize with him. But now we see Bosch on the defensive, hammered (see, the language so automatic that I'm doing it) by a defence attorney who links his own troubled past, including the murder of his mother, to his own actions. Like Bosch himself, I began to wonder where the line can be drawn between the monster and the man who hunts them. There's this really powerful, sickening moment where Bosch, confronted with his own actions and his own reactions, is unashamed and says the man got what was coming to him. Like me, the jury is sickened. And Bosch simply doesn't understand why they have this reaction. Bosch's agony is twofold. Even if the man Bosch killed was guilty, he was not given the opportunity to face justice. As the attorney says, "You say he deserved what he got. When were you appointed judge, jury, and executioner?" Bosch believes in justice, but he doesn't even trust the system that he is a pert of. He makes his own deals, hands out his own sentences. It's a troubling moral question. What happens when the system is broken? But how can we have a world when each person executes their own justice? I think I tend to love books which ask who watches the watchers. It's a question we deal with every day as we fight against the traits we fear and hate in ourselves. To echo Nietzche again, “Is it better to out-monster the monster or to be quietly devoured?”

It's a book full of questions with no easy answers. In the end, Bosch discovers that "Nobody in this world is who they say they are, nobody. Not when they're in their own room with the door shut and locked. The best you can hope for is to know yourself. And sometimes, when you see your true self, you have to turn away." Altogether, a powerful, powerful story. ( )
  page.fault | Sep 21, 2013 |
The Dollmaker was the name of the serial killer who had stalked Los Angeles ruthlessly, leaving grisly calling cards on the faces of his female victims. Now with a single faultless shot, Detective Harry Bosch thinks he has ended the city's nightmare.But the dead man's widow is suing Harry and the LAPD for killing the wrong man-- an accusation that rings terrifyingly true when a new victim is discovered with the Dollmaker's macabre signature.So for the second time, Harry must hunt down a death-dealer who is very much alive, before he strikes again. It's a blood-tracked quest that will take Harry from the hard edges of the L.A. night to the last place he ever wanted to go-- the darkness of his own heart.With The Concrete Blonde, Edgar Award-winning author Michael Connelly has hit a whole new level in his career, creating a breathtaking thriller that thrusts you into a blistering courtroom battle-- and a desperate search for a sadistic killer. The Dollmaker was the name of the serial killer who had stalked Los Angeles ruthlessly, leaving grisly calling cards on the faces of his female victims. Now with a single faultless shot, Detective Harry Bosch thinks he has ended the city's nightmare.But the dead man's widow is suing Harry and the LAPD for killing the wrong man-- an accusation that rings terrifyingly true when a new victim is discovered with the Dollmaker's macabre signature.So for the second time, Harry must hunt down a death-dealer who is very much alive, before he strikes again. It's a blood-tracked quest that will take Harry from the hard edges of the L.A. night to the last place he ever wanted to go-- the darkness of his own heart.With The Concrete Blonde, Edgar Award-winning author Michael Connelly has hit a whole new level in his career, creating a breathtaking thriller that thrusts you into a blistering courtroom battle-- and a desperate search for a sadistic killer.
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Connellyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Montanari, GianniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
This is for
Susan, Paul and Jamie
Bob and Marlen, Ellen,
Jane and Damian
First words
The house in Silverlake was dark, its windows as empty as a dead man's eyes.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 044661758X, Mass Market Paperback)

In this classic from a #1 "New York Times" bestselling author, Detective Harry Bosch thought he'd stopped the serial killer known as the Dollmaker. Now the dead man's widow is suing Harry and the LAPD for shooting the wrong man--an accusation that rings true when a new victim is discovered with the Dollmaker's macabre signature.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:03 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

They called him the Dollmaker ... The serial killer who stalked Los Angeles and left a grisly calling card on the faces of his female victims. With a single faultless shot, Detective Harry Bosch thought he had ended the city's nightmare. Now, the dead man's widow is suing Harry and the LAPD for killing the wrong man - an accusation that rings terrifyingly true when a new victim is discovered with the Dollmaker's macabre signature. Now, for the second time, Harry must hunt down a death-dealer who is very much alive, before he strikes again. It's a blood-tracked quest that will take Harry from the hard edges of the L.A. night to the last place he ever wanted to go - the darkness of his own heart. With The Concrete Blonde, Edgar Award-winning author Michael Connelly has hit a whole new level in his career, creating a breathtaking thriller that thrusts you into a blistering courtroom battle - and a desperate search for a sadistic killer.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
364 avail.
33 wanted
7 pay11 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.9)
0.5
1 3
1.5 1
2 18
2.5 5
3 125
3.5 55
4 278
4.5 25
5 132

Audible.com

Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,475,084 books! | Top bar: Always visible