9 Dragons Review
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Best-selling crime novelist Michael Connelly’s celebrated hero, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, is a hardened detective who will stop at nothing to bring criminals to justice. But in the latest Bosch thriller, 9 Dragons, the stakes are higher than ever before, and Bosch is forced to face his greatest fears.

When the owner of a small liquor store in a rough neighborhood in South L.A. is shot and killed, Bosch and his partner, Ignacio Ferras, see it as a simple gang shooting—an open-and-shut case. Though Ferras seems more interested in filing paperwork than chasing bad guys, Bosch takes to the street, working with Detective David Chu of the LAPD’s Asian Gang Unit to try to hunt down information on John Li’s killer.

After sorting through hours of surveillance footage, Bosch finally uncovers an important clue—one that could point to the triad, the Chinese gang that was extorting weekly payments from Li’s business. But after he and Chu close in on their suspect, Bosch gets a threatening call—followed by another shocking call that suddenly makes the case horrifyingly personal.

Though it starts out feeling like a pretty standard police procedural—and it takes a while to get into the action—a twist in the story soon changes everything. From there on out, 9 Dragons is much more than just another Michael Connelly thriller, with Bosch tracking a killer and going on to save the day. Instead, it’s richer and more complex.

This time around, Connelly’s writing offers deeper, more emotionally-driven character development—showing a very different side to the Detective Bosch that readers have grown to know and even love. He’s no longer just a tough old cop; he’s a man on a mission. And even though the plot has been done time and again, in crime novels and comic books alike, the fact that it’s happening to Harry Bosch somehow makes it different. Little by little, Bosch is changing from a gruff old cop caricature into a real person—and it’s been fascinating transformation to experience.

Connelly pulls out all the stops with 9 Dragons. From location changes to personal issues to partner problems—even a possible leak in the system—Bosch is definitely run through the ringer. And once the action picks up, about a third of the way through, readers will find themselves racing along with Bosch as he dashes from one adventure to the next. Still, while the story is filled with surprises—especially in the end—not all of them feel plausible. And, unfortunately, when all of the loose ends are finally tied up, the results aren’t entirely satisfying.

While it isn’t Connelly’s best, though, this breakneck departure from the expected makes 9 Dragons an intriguing read—an unexpected emotional rollercoaster for long-time Bosch fans.

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