Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Closers by Michael Connelly

The Closers by Michael Connelly, on 10 cds, performed by Len Cariou

This was my first Harry Bosch book and I like him. In this book, Bosch has been retired from the police force for three years and his old partner, Kiz Rider has gotten the two of them a job working cold cases. They've just gotten information that could help them solve the murder of a 16 year old girl that happened at least that many years ago.

Bosch is an interesting character. He's a good man. He's not a power play cop guy. He's not cynical or bigoted. Connelly avoids the sterotypes and generalizations and gives us a well rounded, interesting and likable character. Harry Bosch takes his job seriously. He treats the people he meets with respect and takes responsibility for his actions. I have no idea how many books are in this series, but I'd like to read more about Bosch. That's one of the problems with audio books. You can't decide you like a book, want to read the rest of the series and peek at the front of the book to see all the other titles. And, there's a good chance I spell most people's names wrong since I'm working them out phonetically. I guess there are just as many cons as there are pros to the whole audio book argument.

In The Closers there are a number of ways the murder investigation can go. There is a race issue and a group of white supremacists who were doing some pretty rotten things at the time of the murder, and a cover up due to the identity of one of the nasty little thugs. There are bad cops and some interdepartmental animosity. There is a mysterious lover and an ex-boyfriend who moved to Hawaii. Combine all those variables with the time since the crime was committed and you've got a mystery that it will take a real pro to solve. Harry Bosch is just such a pro.

I'm not sure how I've managed to miss these books, but I'll definitely be looking into the others in the series. They deserve a little more of my attention. It's nice to find an author whose work I am interested in really looking into further. I've found that my reaction to authors is much like that of real relationships in my life. I find that like with anyone else, I can outgrow, or grow apart from an author. I've put so many of them in my past, and no that there are plenty of others headed that way. When you've read dozens of books by an author and decide that there just isn't anything left to keep you coming back for more, it's almost a little sad. It makes me a little nostalgic for the real people in my life who I drifted away from and wonder what they are up to. I can always find old authors on the shelves at the library or the bookstore, the real people just get lost in the fog of the past.

The karma train was pretty much on track with this book. Bad guys were revealed and the falsely accused were exonerated. The only people in the book who had better things coming to them, but didn't realize them were the girls parents, who were damaged beyond repair. This, sadly, may have been the most realistic part of this book. I can't imagine what it is like to have someone you care about murdered. I wonder if they keep hoping that the next step in the process of solving the crime and bringing the killer to justice will be the one to make them feel better. Only to find that their loved one is still gone, is not coming back and nothing fills that hole in their hearts and lives.

The closest I've come to a situation like this was what I always referred to as "the worst day of my life." Thinking back, it really was the worst day of my life until I lost my dad a year and a half ago. That certainly takes over the top spot. I was, I think, 9 years old and my brother and I came home from school and found the house locked and empty. We never had keys because my mother was always home before we were. We sat on the front porch and waited for someone to come home and let us in. My Uncle Petey came out of the next door neighbor's house, which was very strange and came over to us. He was looking for my mom, who pulled up a little while later, wearing a neck collar.

Mommy and Uncle Petey went inside and Chip and I sat quietly in the living room (which was very formal and filled with my grandmother's fussy things - ornate furniture, marble topped tables,a plaster bust (that I later broke doing gymnastics) on a pedestal, oil imitations of the Gainesborough paintings (Boy Blue and the pink girl), you get the idea) while they talked. I remember sitting there, scared because my mother was obviously hurt and no one was telling us what was going on. We were literally and symbolically in the dark. We just sat there with night overtaking the room and the sound of whispered voices coming from the kitchen. Eventually, we found out that my mother had been in a car accident and got a nasty case of whiplash, but that wasn't the worst of it. My grandmother, who worked in South Philly at the Pantry Pride supermarket had been shot.

Marie, my grandmother, was a tough lady. She worked in the customer service booth at the supermarket. I remember being little and going to see her. It was completely walled in, the door was flush with the wall and really tall and smooth. There was no handle on the outside, just a deadbolt lock, so you couldn't grab onto anything and scale the wall. While my mother was talking to my grandmother behind that safe cocoon, we would be jumping up and sliding down the wall (we were 5 and 6 when we moved out of the city). She was working in her booth and a young man, about 19, scaled the wall and pulled a gun out, pointing it at Grandmom and demanding money. She hit the silent alarm, made an announcement over the loudspeaker that the store was being robbed, then she told the kid, who she called by name, since she knew him and his mother, who had been shopping in the store all of his life, that he didn't want to do this and to leave now before he got himself in trouble. He refused. She continued to hit the alarm, call for security over the loudspeaker, and try to convince him not to make this mistake. She refused to open the safe and he shot her. In that small space and that split second, somehow she was hit in the back, with the bullet coming out her chest. It was determined that the gun went off when she leaned back after hitting the silent alarm again, it hit the safe, ricocheted off as she must have moved into its path.

The doctors couldn't count in millimeters how close the bullet came to her heart, but it somehow missed and other than a bullet hole completely through her body and the emotional scars it took her years to heal from, she was really lucky. He wasn't. The police came and riddled him with bullets. I think they shot him something like 7 times and he still didn't fall. I don't know if it was drugs or adrenaline that kept him up. He was in a wheelchair at the beginning of the legal/court process, but I think he died before it was all over. I have this vague memory of hearing he committed suicide, but I don't know if it can be trusted.

She came home from the hospital a couple of days later and my mom had to clean and redress the wound until it healed. She spent some time being fearful and dealing with what happened to her physically and emotionally. I remember her sitting and twisting napkins and tissues in her hands until they fell apart, but she never crumbled. There were all those doctors and the criminal and workers' compensation hearings (my grandmother, the career gal, never worked after that). I think that she did better when she stopped seeing some of the doctors. It felt like she couldn't move forward until she put them behind her too. I always remember, though, how incredibly angry she was because the article in The Philadelphia Bulletin said that she was two years older than she was. I told you Marie was a tough cookie.

1 comment:

Martian Anthropologist said...

Incredible story about your grandmother.