It’s difficult to stay loyal to a particular genre of novels for a long time. Taking a look at mystery and thriller novels would be a good case in point. Most novels follow the same pattern. Someone dies, the detective does the work and long before the novel ends you get a pretty clear picture of who the murderer might be.
The Drop doesn’t stray from the widely-accepted formula of such novels. Harry Bosch is a detective who works in the Open-Unsolved Unit, returning to cold cases that were never figured out. He looks into new evidence with a fresh perspective hoping to avenge the death of victims whose killers were thought to have gone free.
New DNA evidence from a 1989 murder case of a young woman ties Clayton Pell, a modern-day child molester who just got out of jail, to the killing. The only problem is that Pell was only eight at the time of the crime. While Detective Bosch has his hands full trying to track the real murderer, Irvin Irving, a city councilman, asks for Detective Bosch by name. Irving’s son, George, is believed to have jumped off a hotel balcony and Irving refuses to believe his son would commit suicide and wants Bosch to look into the matter.
Here’s the problem with The Drop; it doesn’t offer anything beyond the surface. The identities of the crime perpetrators are revealed early on in the novel and can be easily guessed from the start, while the rest of the novel merely attempts to prove that they were the ones who did it. Lacking the element of surprise, The Drop is a safe read. It’s not a novel you will take to bed every night; the kind of novel that takes two to three days to get through a single chapter. The two murders are completely unrelated and putting them together in the same plot feels forced.
Detective Bosch has a lot going on in his personal front as well; his fifteen-year-old daughter who is way too mature for her age and wants to grow up to be a police officer is his main support system at home, and a budding romance between Bosch and a social worker adds a tinge of romance to Bosch’s life.
And while The Drop lacks any shocking events, Michael Connelly has done a good job describing the gory details of the murders. Connelly successfully manages to provide insightful glimpses into the psyches of the depraved, and while such insights might not gain your sympathy, they help you understand the motives behind the actions.
The novel is left open-ended, in a way that allows the characters to seem more real as if their lives will continue beyond the pages of the novel.
The Drop is not a remarkable novel and is likely to be forgotten once finished, but Harry Bosch’s fans might not want to give it a miss.