January 20, 1992
Connelly, a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times , transcends the standard L.A. police procedural with this original and eminently authentic first novel. Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch--former hero cop bumped from the L.A. homicide desk to the lowly Beverly Hills squad--gets the call on a drug death at Mulholland Dam. Harry recognizes the corpse as that of a fellow soldier in Vietnam; both were ``tunnel rats'' who searched for Viet Cong in the network of burrows beneath Vietnamese villages. Investigation connects his old pal to an unsolved bank job--the vault was tunneled into from the storm drains below--and Harry takes his information to the FBI. The Bureau alerts the LAPD, which reactivates internal affairs surveillance (the previous IAD episode is explained throughout the narrative), only to have the FBI backtrack and request Harry as liaison on the case. Paired with beautiful FBI agent Eleanor Wish, Harry makes sense of the Vietnam connection to the bank job--a discovery that puts them both in danger from deadly ex-Marines and a powerful insider from either the LAPD or the FBI itself. Police higher-ups are somewhat cliched, but Connelly avoids L.A. stereotypes and delivers this front-page story with military precision.