I have never been disappointed by a Michael Connelly novel.

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Connelly is the author of the successful Harry Bosch series,  and is one of the few authors whose secondary characters have been also successfully spun off into their own novels (Clint Eastwood played one in “Blood Simple”).

This time crime reporter Jack McEvoy finds himself number 99 on a list of 100 reporters getting canned in a mass cutback, despite his years and his experience.  Determined to go out with a big bang, Jack wants to write the definitive murder story.  He thinks he’s found his swan song when a 16 yr-old drug dealer is jailed for the brutal murder of a young woman found strangled in the trunk of her own car.

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Jack manages to get hold of the confession and realizes the boy has never confessed to the murder, only to stealing the woman’s car.  Determined to prove the boy innocent, he sets about clearing him with the help of a novice reporter, trying to stay out of the way of the FBI.

When a digital trip wire is hit, all hell breaks loose in a mass of identity theft and murders, and the clearing of the boy becomes almost secondary.  The pacing is swift and urgent, the plotting skillful.

Connelly writes in zips and turns, getting inside Jack’s head and flipping to that of the main antagonist with ease.  The chase runs between LA, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, yet we never lose the trail and are always with Jack as he uncovers the devious mind behind a rash of murders blamed on someone else.

Great suspense and a quick beach read.  You’ll stay up at night to finish this one.

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