Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts: The Top 5 Harry Bosch Novels

By Sean Tuohy

Crime fiction master Michael Connelly brings back hardboiled, jazz-loving detective Harry Bosch in his newest novel The Crossing. This time around we find Bosch is no longer with the LAPD and is now working for defense attorney half-brother Mickey Haller.

With the newest book in the long running detective series published yesterday and the second season of the highly rated Amazon television show in the works, we decided to sit down and comb through the Bosch world and picked the top five Bosch stories. Get ready for some smooth jazz and murder in the City of Angels.

5. The Burning Room (#21)

Sensing his time with the LAPD maybe coming to an end, Harry races against the clock trying to solve two famous cold cases while trying to mentor his young new partner. 

What makes it great?

Harry has mentored younger detectives before but never with the same urgency that is found in this novel. Harry tries to imprint his code on his partner, teaching her that homicide is a mission. We also catch moments of trendiness with Bosch, most dealing with his own daughter. A great moment is when Bosch gets a lump in his throat thinking about his daughter and his own failing as a father. The ending is bittersweet and reminds us that not everything can be tied up neatly at the end.

What to listen to? 

“Black Coffee” by Duke Pearson Trio

4. The Black Ice (#2)

When a cop kills himself on Christmas Eve the department is ready to call it an open and shut case but Harry Bosch sees something else. Quickly, Bosch himself chases down clues through seedy back alleys that lead into Mexico.

What makes it great?

Fast-paced with more action then the first novel, The Black Ice hits the ground running and never lets up. While in Mexico, Bosch takes in bull fighting and along the way falls in love with the widow of the dead police officer. The ending to the novel is a sudden twist that no one saw coming.

What to listen to?

“Mr. Syms” by John Coltrane 

3. The Drop (#17)

Bosch investigates a 20-year-old murder while also trying to determine if his enemy’s son killed himself or was killed.

What makes it great?

Many of Connelly’s best characters are the people who live at the bottom of society, the ones who scrape by and do what they can to live. In The Drop, Connelly presents us with a character completely broken by life. We watch as Bosch goes from hating the man to understanding who he is.

What to listen to?

“Green Haze” by Miles Davis

2. Nine Dragons (#15)

A chance account on the one of the worse nights of his life Bosch meets a shopkeeper who helped him out. Years later, Bosch must solve the man’s murder and also deal with the personal issues of having a daughter who lives in China.

What makes it great?

A bittersweet ending Bosch’s life changes completely. We get to see two sides of Bosch, the cop and the father, intersect.

What to listen to?

“Night Hawk” by Coleman Hawkins

1. The Last Coyote (#4)

Bosch’s life is a mess. He’s suspended from his job, he’s about to lose his house, and he’s lost his girlfriend. During this crisis, Bosch decides to look into the murder of his mother, killed when he was a child. He is determined to solve it.

What makes it great?

Normally in series the hero is always put together and able to handle the task at hand. Connelly stacked everything against Bosch and at one point we see Bosch fall apart. The pressure of everything mixed with opening deep emotion wounds comes pouring out of Bosch.

What to listen to?

“Silk ‘n’ Satin” by Sonny Rollins