What distinguishes the recent work of Michael Connelly from other current mysteries is his emphasis on the psychological terrain of his central character, Detective Harry Bosch. A man ravaged by inner demons, Bosch struggles to control them without losing grasp of his latest case. In Angels Flight, Bosch is confronted with his most difficult challenge to date: a prominent African-American attorney's murder.
Set in a racially polarized Los Angeles, Howard Elias's shooting threatens to trigger a series of bloody race riots unless Bosch can find the murderer. Elias, a civil rights attorney, has a reputation as an enemy of the LAPD, arguing countless lawsuits against the embattled police force. When Elias and a woman are found dead on a train car, Bosch is recruited by police brass to solve the case as quickly as possible.
Matters are complicated by the fact that Elias was killed just two days before arguing his biggest case against the department. Although the murder resembles a robbery-homicide, certain circumstances point to a possible inside job by rogue cops seeking to silence the black lawyer.
In typical Connelly fashion, there are clever turns and twists in the plot as the city simmers toward a massive racial meltdown. Bosch races against time to find the killers, before everything erupts. His superiors do not want him to turn up any evidence that would implicate the department, but everything suggests that the people involved could be members of the LAPD.
Fans of classic police procedurals will enjoy the well-researched investigation, with its numerous clues, lab findings, legwork, suspects, and astonishing dead-ends. Bosch, walking a tightrope between protesting blacks and fearful whites, seeks the truth despite stonewalling tactics by his department and threats from the black community. With a whiz-bang ending, Bosch uncovers the bitter truth that defies all he has ever believed about his profession or his community. This is sleuthing with smarts and suspense. Connelly's eighth detective thriller, Angels Flight sets the bar for the standard of this type of fiction even higher and clears it with room to spare.