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Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
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Trunk Music (1997)

by Michael Connelly

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Harry Bosch (5)

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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
This is another great Harry Bosch novel with lots of twists that kept me turning the pages until the end. I liked that his love interest from The Black Echo shows up again. That was a pleasant surprise! I love Harry's lingo and expressions and they keep me chuckling to myself. The end of the book came quickly and what a surprise that was. I'm now looking forward to the next book to see what's in store for Harry. ( )
  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
5 stars. I love the advancement in technology with this book. And, also that there was more science/forensics than in previous books. There were some definite twists and turns and if I can just say that they need to get off & stay off of Harry's case. Leave the man alone and let him do his job. ( )
  CrystalW | Dec 15, 2015 |
5 stars. I love the advancement in technology with this book. And, also that there was more science/forensics than in previous books. There were some definite twists and turns and if I can just say that they need to get off & stay off of Harry's case. Leave the man alone and let him do his job. ( )
  CrystalW | Dec 15, 2015 |

[Cross-posted to Knite Writes]

Plot

Having finally returned to the homicide table after his involuntary stress leave in The Last Coyote, Harry Bosch is ready to tackle his first real case in months. And it comes quickly: a cop named Powers discovers a body in the trunk of a Rolls Royce off Mulholland Driver. A man shot twice in the back of the head and stuffed in a trunk, a mob-type execution style called “trunk music.”

Harry, his partner Edgar, and Kizmin Rider, a young and promising black female detective new to Hollywood Division, head to the crime scene and start putting the pieces together. The victim is one Tony Aliso, a producer of close-to-pornographic trash films, who takes regular trips to Vegas for poker. Aliso’s last trip to Vegas was right before his death, and the trio suspect that someone from the mob in Vegas might have followed the man home and murdered him.

Why would the mob kill him? Well, Rider, using Aliso’s financial records, discovers two things: 1) Aliso was laundering mob money, and most of his “film” profits were actually his cut from that business, and 2) someone recently tipped off the IRS to Aliso’s dealings, and he was due for an Audit. Very soon.

After talking to Aliso’s wife gets them nowhere, Harry decides to check out Vegas to see if he can trace Aliso’s last days alive. He ends up at a strip club where Alio’s stripper lover, Layla, worked, and he has a confrontation with the owner, Luke Goshen, and his bouncer/bodyguard. Goshen is a member of the mob and works for a man dubbed “Joey Marks,” for whom Aliso was laundering money.

While in Vegas, Harry also happens to run into an old flame: Eleanor Wish from The Black Echo, who has since been released from prison. Harry regrets how their relationship ended, but he’s surprised to find she feels the same way, and they begin to rekindle their lost love.

Then Harry gets a break in the case: some fingerprints found on Aliso’s body turn out to be Luke Goshen’s, and with the Vegas police on his side, he raids Goshen’s home. During the raid, he finds a .22 caliber gun, which is the type of weapon used to murder Aliso, but Harry finds it rather odd that Goshen would be stupid enough to leave the weapon in his house. Regardless, the cops bring him in, and Harry leaves for LA to set up the next stage of the investigation.

Once the .22 caliber is confirmed to be the murder weapon, Harry and Edgar head back to Vegas to extradite Aliso to LA. Unfortunately, Harry discovers that Eleanor is missing, and a meeting with Joey Marks confirms his worst fears: she’s been kidnapped as leverage against him. Of course, Harry, being Harry, quickly threatens the location of the safe house out of Goshen, and with Edgar’s help, he rescues Eleanor. He sends her to LA for safety, and Goshen is successfully extradited…

…only for it to quickly come out that Goshen is, in fact, a federal agent who’s been in deep cover for years. The police brass try to pin BS charges on Bosch, claiming he must have planted the gun found at Goshen’s house. They also try to squash the investigation into Aliso’s murder. Harry, furious, continues the investigation off the books, with the support of Rider, Edgar, and, surprisingly, Billets. Who proves that, unlike the late Harvey Pounds, she actually cares about justice.

Harry scraps the entire investigation and starts over from scratch, realizing that the mob trail in Vegas was a clever setup. He rounds back on Aliso’s wife, Veronica, and discovers that she was once a stripper in Vegas and knew Joey Marks. Meaning there was no way on Earth she didn’t know about her husband’s money laundering. The truth comes together: fed up with her husband’s philandering, Veronica decided to off him and pin the blame on the Vegas mob. But, one question remains: who helped her?

Harry, in a stroke of brilliance, sets a trap to find out. After canvassing Mulholland Drive, he finds the place where Aliso was ambushed before he was killed, and he locates some of the items missing from the Rolls: a box of videos and a suit bag tossed into the woods. After this discovery, he casually mentions to Veronica in another “interview” that Aliso was carrying a million dollars on his way back from Vegas, double what was in the briefcase that was stolen from him the night he was murdered, and that much of it was stored in his suit bag.

Harry, Rider, and Edgar lie in wait near the bag, and lo and behold, who shows up to snag it…but Powers, the cop who “found” Aliso’s body. They arrest him, and the rest of the pieces fall into place: Veronica and Powers were having an affair, and Veronica concocted a scheme to off her husband and make her and Powers both rich. However, Veronica also had a backup plan in case anyone caught onto the plot — she plants the $480,000 from Aliso’s suitcase in Powers’ attic in an attempt to make him look like the mastermind.

When Harry tells Powers that Veronica is setting him up to take the fall, Powers reveals the entire plan was Veronica’s. And then, using a clever ruse, he escapes from lockup and tries to track down Veronica, who has vanished. The ensuing chase brings everyone back to Vegas one last time. Veronica, who knows her husband skimmed about $2 million from Marks, tries to retrieve it and flee. But she’s captured by Marks, who tries to force her to get him the money back. The Vegas and LA police, plus the FBI, show up at the bank where the money should be and stake it out until Marks arrives — but right after he does, Powers reveals himself and shoots everyone he can get his hands on, including Veronica. He’s then summarily shot to death by the police.

In the end, Harry and friends find that the $2 million is gone — and Harry realizes it must be with Layla, who’s been missing since Aliso was killed. He also realizes that Layla is Veronica’s daughter (but not Aliso’s), abandoned in Vegas by an irresponsible mother years ago. The reason Veronica finally snapped and killed Aliso was because she saw her daughter with him in the pictures taken by Powers when she had the cop tail him in Vegas.

In the end, the charges against Harry are dropped, he finally reconciles with Eleanor Wish (and they get married!), and the case is solved.

Oh, and Eleanor and Harry happen to randomly run into Layla in Hawaii — but Harry lets her go.

The End.

Cue sequel.

____


My Take

There’s really not all that much I can say about a Bosch book that I haven’t said before. The plots are always well-crafted and complex, with excellent twists and turns that you never see coming. No threads are left hanging, no plot points unresolved. The world-building is excellent and always reflects the changing social climates, technology, and the like, as the series moves through the 90s toward the new millennium.

All in all, this book was just another great installment of the series. It had a great mystery, some good action scenes, and a fairly satisfying conclusion. I can’t really come up with any complaints.

In fact, I actually like this book a tad bit more than I did some of the other novels, due largely to the inclusion of a new and improved cast. Kizmin Rider and Grace Billets added some good diversity to the mix of characters, which has, due to the (admittedly realistic) social climate of the LA police in the 90s, been a bit too white and a bit too male in the past. It was good to see the books reflect the sorts of social changes that actually occurred during this time period and bring in some fresh faces.

It was also a great relief to see these faces well-characterized and not left flat on the sidelines.

I think my only “issue” with the book was the final chapter, which involved a coincidence so absurd that it made me roll my eyes. Personally, I don’t think it was necessary, and it took away from an otherwise strong ending. It wasn’t a deal breaker or anything, but I did fit it pretty annoying.

Other than that, though, (and it is a pretty minor thing, to be honest), Trunk Music was another fantastic Bosch book, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next few in the series!

_____

Is It Worth Reading?

Sure is! If you’re a Bosch fan, you definitely don’t want to miss this one.

_____

Rating

4/5 ( )
  ClaraCoulson | Nov 16, 2015 |
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly; (4 1/2*)

Another most excellent Bosch detective novel. The author has this character well developed & nailed down. I feel as if I understand a bit of what makes Bosch click by now and he is a well rounded character.
This particular story begins with a murder in one of the canyons off Mulholland Drive in Hollywood. Having the ups & downs, twists & turns, flack within the LAPD, as with Connelly's other novels always makes for a great read! And this one adds a nice twist with switching it up between Vegas & L.A.
Keep them coming Connelly. I am liking them. ( )
  rainpebble | Nov 13, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Connellyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Montanari, GianniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is for my editor, Michael Pietsch
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As he drove along Mulholland Drive toward the Cahuenga Pass, Bosch began to hear the music.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446198196, Mass Market Paperback)

LAPD Homicide detective Bosch is back from an involuntary administrative leave just in time for the bodies to start turning up. When he finds hints of an mob hit but can't interest the organized crime unit in the murder, Bosch has to take the investigation into his own hands in a this hard-boiled tale full of sharp turns. Fans of Michael Connelly's excellent, The Poet, will go wild for this even better addition to the Harry Bosch series.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:15 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A detective investigating a murder is fired for his efforts because his probe disrupted an FBI sting operation. He is Hieronymous Bosch of the Los Angeles police department who was investigating the slaying of a movie producer. A tale of Hollywood films, crooked money and crooked cops.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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