Aug. 18, 2015 by Darius
Looking for some late-summer beach reading? Here are a few recommendations from my recent vacation. All these are the first books in their respective series.
- The Black Echo by Michael Connelly. The body of a overdosed heroin addict does not typically attract attention in Los Angeles, but when Detective Harry Bosch recognizes a man who fought alongside him in Vietnam, he digs deeper, revealing a massive conspiracy. Bosch is a variant on the classic cop who’s rough around the edges and uses unorthodox methods but solves crimes others consider impossible. Connelly is a good writer, and his realistic portrayals of Los Angeles bring the story to life.
- The Lincoln Lawyer also by Michael Connelly. Mick Haller is a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles with two ex-wives and four Lincoln Town Cars. Haller works under the assumption that all of his clients are guilty, plying his trade by confounding evidence, sowing doubt, and destroying witnesses. In The Lincoln Lawyer, though, a routine cash-cow case turns into something that threatens Haller’s life and loved ones—and confronts him with the idea that, sometimes, he defends the truly innocent. Part of Connelly’s mastery in the Lincoln Lawyer books is to convince the reader that, despite Haller’s rather despicable behavior, Haller is the good guy in the story and the one the reader wants to see win. Additionally, Connelly’s courtroom scenes are vivid and well-crafted.
- The Killing Floor by Lee Child. Jack Reacher is a former military policeman who drifts around the country and uses the training he received in the military to generally thwart evildoers and kick ass. Nobody would confuse these books with great literature, but they’re entertaining for long plane trips. Lee Child employs a writing style that may annoy some readers: imagine Hemingway’s sentence structure without Hemingway’s talent, and you’ve got Lee Child. However, Jack Reacher has taught me all kinds of important and useful things like how to get rid of an unwanted car in a way the police won’t trace back to you (park it in long-term parking at an airport; nobody will notice it for months) and what to do when someone is holding a gun to your ear (turn sharply towards the gun: the bullet might take off your ear but probably won’t kill you). Important stuff, right?