Article published on December 4, 2017.
In this week’s reading group guide, Paul Burke poses some questions about Two Kinds of Truth, the latest Harry Bosch novel by Michael Connelly.
1. This is the 22nd outing for Detective Harry Bosch. He is now well past retirement age but still working part-time for the San Fernando P.D. What is it that makes Harry Bosch such an enduring character? Why does he have no intension of retiring and should Connelly consider this?
2. In this novel, Bosch is dealing with three cases simultaneously: the cold case he is delving into as the novel opens, the double murder at the shopping mall and the potential release of a killer due to new evidence. Why do you think Connelly has chosen to develop three strands in parallel for this novel? Is it more reflective of how you imagine real police work to be? How well does Connelly make each element of the story combine to produce a cohesive novel? Do the storylines work together or against each other?
3. Harry Bosch is a very experienced detective but undercover work has never been his thing. Now he’s in his late 60s and he is the most suitable candidate for the operation the DEA wants to mount. Do you feel that this was necessary? Should Bosch have considered his family before agreeing to go undercover?
4. Harry realises he needs help on the Borders case so he calls in his ‘brother’, the Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey Haller, and his investigator, Cisco. Does bringing in crossover characters from another series of novels work? What does Haller bring to the story? What do you think of the methods Haller employs to make sure the case is publicised so that Bosch can have his day in court?
5. Connelly arguably writes in an easy, readable style. How does this complement the stories being told?
6. How would you describe Harry Bosch? How do you think his character is reflected in both the way he investigates crimes and how he lives his life?
7. Dealing with the imminent release of the murderer Borders brings a case that is old style crime to the fore. At the same time, the double homicide and the pills story are very modern. What do you think are the differences and similarities between Bosch’s investigations then and now?
8. Bosch finally gets his day in court and the chance to clear his name. This action provides a contrast in plot development; do the two aspects of the story complement each other? Does the change of pace and direction add to the overall feel of the novel? What does Bosch get out of being vindicated?
9. Bosch finds that the people you think you can trust are not always the ones who come through for you in the end. What did Bosch learn along the way?