Book: Angels Flight

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Angels Flight: Detective Harry Bosch Mystery

Author: Michael Connelly
Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T)

The man most hated by the LAPD—a black lawyer who has made his name by bringing lawsuits alleging racism and brutality by police officers—has been found murdered on the eve of a high-profile trial. The list of suspects included half the police force. And Harry Bosch is the detective chosen to head the investigation.

The political dangers of the case are huge. If it’s not investigation fairly, the public outcry could make the Rodney King riots look tame. But a full investigation will take Bosch into the ugliest corners of law enforcement.

To make matters worse, Bosch’s wife, Eleanor, has disappeared. Bosch fears she has left him—or succumbed to her gambling addiction. He’s not sure which would be worse.

Angels Flight reads in a white heat. It continues to up the ante of the series that is “raising the hard-boiled detective novel to a new level…adding substance and depth to modern crime fiction.” (Boston Globe)


Michael Connelly, whose novel The Poet won the 1997 Anthony Award for Best Mystery, is already recognized as one of the smartest and most vivid scribes of the hard-boiled police procedural. Now, with his much-anticipated sixth Harry Bosch novel, Angels Flight, Connelly offers one of the finest pieces of mystery writing to appear in 1998. Bosch is awakened in the middle of the night and, out of rotation, he is assigned to the murder investigation of the high-profile African American attorney Howard Elias. When Bosch arrives at the scene, it seems that almost the entire LAPD is present, including the IAD (the Internal Affairs Division). Elias, who made a career out of suing the police, was sadistically gunned down on the Angels Flight tram just as he was beginning a case that would have struck the core of the department; not surprisingly, L.A.’s men and women in blue become the center of the investigation. Haunted by the ghost of the L.A. riots, plagued by incessant media attention, and facing turmoil at home, Bosch suddenly finds himself questioning friends and associates while working side by side with some longtime enemies.

Angels Flight is a detective’s nightmare scenario and is disturbingly relevant to the racially tense last decade of the 20th century. Amidst the twists and turns of his complex narrative, Connelly affirms his rightful place among the masters of contemporary mystery fiction. —Patrick O’Kelley

Barnes and Noble

With Angels Flight, Michael Connelly, the New York Times bestselling author of Blood Work and The Poet, returns to the bread-and-butter character—the tough, no-holds-barred LAPD detective Harry Bosch—who has virtually catapulted Connelly to the top of the gritty, police-procedural-thriller heap. Loaded with electrifying sequences, intriguing “NYPD Blue”-like big-city politics and procedures, and a killer plot stacked with high-speed twists and turns that’ll keep you guessing until its very end, Angels Flight is an intense and terrific read.

Although Angels Flight was my first Connelly experience, I guarantee that it will not be my last. This novel really impressed me. Set in Los Angeles, the town where high-profile trials such as the O. J. Simpson and Rodney King affairs have captivated and scarred the nation in the ‘90s, Angels Flight serves up a compelling and highly sensitive double-murder investigation that has L.A.’s disgruntled black community setting its sights on the LAPD. When a controversial black lawyer (à la Johnny Cochran), who has made an extremely lucrative career defending the rights of the city’s slugs while prosecuting the beleaguered police force, is found murdered, the media immediately point their fingers at the LAPD, and rioting is once again in the air. Was it actually a cop with a killer vendetta? It’s up to Harry Bosch to uncover the sick and shocking truth.

Howard Elias, a savior in the eyes of Los Angeles’s black community, is a devil to the city’s law-enforcement agencies. Notorious for fanning the fires of high-profile civil-rights cases in which cops are depicted as evil incarnate, out to keep the poor black man down, Elias sets fear and anger coursing through any cop’s veins. Now, on the eve of an extremely volatile trial that has the police once again jammed between a rock and a hard place, Elias is dead, brutally shot on the deserted late-night Angels Flight train.

Nothing sits right for Harry Bosch and his team. First they’re selected out of rotation to head up the Elias murder. Then they’re forced to work with an internal affairs group that’s headed by a “prick” named Chastain; on more than one occasion, Chastain has investigated Bosch for procedural wrongdoing. Then there’s Deputy Chief Irving, who appears to be more interested in damage control than he is in uncovering the truth. Although the acrimony among the investigators is an inch thick at the start, they agree on one issue: A suspect—or a patsy—had better be named soon, or there’s going to be some serious hell to pay.

Thus begins the whirlwind of action, intrigue, and blistering suspense that is forged so masterfully by the talented Connelly. The plot may sound straightforward, even clichéd, but the reader is in for a chilling surprise. Each page reveals another potential suspect, startling discovery, death, or seemingly unmovable obstacle or distraction. During one 30- or 40-page sequence, the reader is bounced around so much that the publisher should include a warning label alerting those prone to motion sickness to keep their Dramamine nearby. Take nothing at face value: Friends may be enemies; enemies may be friends. The plot really keeps you guessing. If you enjoy hard-boiled police procedurals or just expertly written roller-coaster rides of suspense, give Angels Flight a read. You won’t be disappointed. —Andrew LeCount

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