Nov 7, 2009

Book Review: 9 Dragons by Michael Connelly

Nine Dragons (Harry Bosch, #14) Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly

This is a good police procedural through the first two-thirds of the book, with detective Harry Bosch
investigating the shooting of a grocery store owner in a run-down part of Los Angeles, suspecting
Asian triad connections, and heading off to Hong Kong where the triads have kidnapped
his daughter while telling Bosch to back off his investigations.

Bosch's ex-wife and his daughter live in Hong Kong, and because of his dangerous occupation, his wife says he may never again be allowed to see his daughter, if she is recovered and rescued. How this family situation is resolved is the part where the plot starts to become unrealistic and improbable.


Bosch's ex-wife is shot and killed in an attempted robbery in Hong Kong, and this dilemma of his continuing to see his daughter is suddenly resolved - he is the only surviving parent. Another  improbable section of the plot -
the mystery surrounding the shooting death of the grocery store owner in LA, where the book began.

What is highly unlikely and unconvincing is that a Chinese American son and daughter  would plot to
kill their father just because the father refused to close an old grocery store in LA so that they could open
 a 3rd one in a more upscale neighborhood. Motive: the son" got tired of the refusal" and so
 had his father shot with three well placed bullets to the chest. In a culture where filial respect has been taught  for centuries, this was a pretty flimsy motive for such a heinous crime. I had to shake my head at this one.

I would have given 9 Dragons a four out of five stars after reading the first 2/3rd of the novel, but the last third of the book pulled it down to a 2, IMO.

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  1. sorry you were disappointed by the last part of this book. i won it several months ago, but it never arrived?

  2. Since I wasn't really planning on reading it, I read your spoiler Harvee. Yes, I agree that the motive sounds very improbable. Even if they weren't of Chinese heritage it'd still sound unlikely. I'm far from being an expert on mystery novels, since I very rarely read the genre, but I think the author might have wanted to add a deeper explanation for the crime (perhaps something psychological in nature or something that delves deeper into some old family history). Anyway, thanks for the honest review Harvee :)

  3. a 2 in the end...that's not very promising and I really wanted to read this one!!!

  4. Spoiler alert in my reply comment:

    I totally agree with your opinion on the motive. A weak motive at best (grocery store) made even weaker by the dismissal of filial respect and family ties as part of the culture.

    I have read a number of Connelly Bosch novels and find I really enjoy them and wolf them down in one fell swoop, or they just don't do it for me.

    Funny how the same author can grab you in one instance and leave you cold in another.

    Cheers, Jill
    "Blood and Groom" will be available in mid-November 2009!

  5. I really need to read these books. I went ahead and read the spoiler, figuring that I'd forget it by the time I actually got around to reading this one ;)


I love getting comments and your thoughts...