The Closers by Michael Connelly (Little Brown, 2005)

The Closers by Michael Connelly

If you fly cross-country much and have yet to make the acquaintance of Michael Connelly, well, maybe you’ll thank me later. Sure, I’ve tackled more highbrow material on long flights, but Connelly’s mystery novels are the most compulsively readable things I’ve yet discovered, and they’re readily available in the kind of airport-lounge newsstands where you might find yourself scrounging for something on short notice. Yes, there’s something almost quaintly pretentious about a novelist whose main character is a crusading L.A. cop named Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch. (He has darkness in his soul!) And yes, the stories can feel repetitive and formulaic. But Connelly is a former newspaperman who cranks out relentlessly clean prose and reliably twisty plots that make turning the pages an easy pleasure, and his attention to the ordinary details of good policework is convincing. I’m always happy to know there’s a new Connelly paperback on deck for my next long flight — I just got back from Vegas and can report that The Closers is typically absorbing reading, though it’s not a good place to start. Try to get ahold of 1992’s The Black Echo, which introduces Bosch to the world. (If you’re wondering about movies, Clint Eastwood adapted Blood Work, a non-Bosch novel from 1998.)