Hieronymus Bosch Detective Reviews (mostly the books)

boschPainter 1 out of 5 stars.  1400s Netherlands painter.  The picture to the left is an example.  One messed up person.  The only reason I mention it is that Harry Bosch was named after the painter.  His mother had a rough life.

Harry Bosch detective books, all of them, 5 out of 5 stars.  Great character, great books.

T.V. show based on Books.  Season 1:  3 out of 5 stars.  Bosch in my head from the books carried Season 1.  Season 2, 1st two episodes:  1 star.  Harry is weird in the shows.  By the second season, episode 2, he was a no longer worth watching so that’s as far as I got.

Michael Connelly has written 22 Harry Bosch novels, with another due out in November 2016.  I’ve read them all, and they are all excellent, driven primarily by the character of the protagonist.  He’s dark, he’s good, he’s troubled, he’s effective, he seems complicated but is actually very simple, he loves jazz (from before that was cool, heck, Harry may have made it cool), he loves LA, he’s dangerous.  The one thing the T.V. show got right was that the setting — Los Angeles — is a living, breathing, presence, like an aged and damaged beauty who can still seduce in dark and smokey bars.  Harry can be abrupt, difficult and rude in the books, but since the reader has access to the inside of his head, it usually is justified and always forgivable.

Each book has a murder mystery to solve, and these are well crafted.  The books are often described as being police procedurals, and the authenticity of how police departments function, from the bureaucracy, to methods, to the blue brotherhood, rings true.

This page will show you the order of the books, the first one being written in 1992.

Bosch series order

The only flaw in the series is that Michael Connelly didn’t seem to know how popular Harry would be, and started him too old, so the later books have little bits that lack credibility because by this time Harry is simply too old.  Just let that go.  Every time a Harry Bosch book hits the shelves I buy it, and drop everything else to read it.  I’ll be perfectly happy if Harry is still kicking butt and catching killers when he’s 90.

Below are the covers for the first three books.

bosch-1     bosch-2     bosch-3

If you want to watch the T.V. show, I’m begging you, please read a book or two first so you’re not put off by the show.  Even then, why not just read another book?  But if you must, it’s an Amazon original and free if you have an Amazon Prime membership.  The basic problem is, if there’s a gritty, difficult, very tough character it’s a razor edge to keep the audience on his side.  Succeed, and you’ve hit a home-run.  In the books, being able to see in his head and get context, it works very well.  Video, lacking that, plus some bad writing calls, made Harry increasingly unlikable who degraded over time so by the second episode of Season 2 he was sometimes both mean and ridiculous.  Not a good combination, especially when in competition with great shows (like Ray Donovan).