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Literature / Angle of Investigation

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Angle of Investigation is a collection of three short stories by mystery fiction writer Michael Connelly, starring his most frequent protagonist, Harry Bosch. The collection was released in 2011. The stories:

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  • "Christmas Even" (originally published in November 2004): On Christmas Eve, Harry and Jerry Edgar are called out to investigate the death of a burglar, found dead from unclear causes at a pawn shop. While following the leads, Harry comes across an old saxophone stolen from the pawn shop, which brings back a memory from his past.
  • "Father's Day" (originally published in April 2008): Bosch and Ignacio Ferras are investigating the death of a 15-month-old child, killed by heat stroke when his father forgot and left him in the back seat of a car. Harry suspects there is more to the story.
  • "Angle of Investigation" (originally published in September 2005): Bosch, working with Kiz Rider in the Open-Unsolved unit looking for cold cases, goes back to a very cold case. He pulls out the file for an unsolved murder from way back in 1972—a case in which beat cop Harry Bosch and his partner found the body, on Bosch's second day on the job.
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Tropes:

  • Always Gets His Man: "Christmas Even" represents a rare aversion for Harry Bosch in which the suspect beats the rap. See Oddball in the Series below.
  • Bleak Abyss Retirement Home: The Splendid Age Retirement Home ("Christmas Even") makes Bosch think that "nothing about it looked particularly splendid." He notes that it is "low-rent" and smells of "urine and decay."
  • Christmas Episode: "Christmas Even". Bosch and Edgar are called out to the scene on Christmas Eve. Edgar tells Bosch that the tech people, who unlike Harry have families, are going to want to go home early. Harry then visits jazz man Quinton McKinzie on Christmas Day and returns Quinton's old saxophone.
  • Continuity Nod: Practically mandatory in the Harry Bosch universe.
    • The Splendid Age Retirment Home "Christmas Even" was the same place where Bosch was called to investigate a suicide in 2002 novel City of Bones. In 2003 novel Lost Light Bosch is taking saxophone lessons from Quinton McKinzie; this story describes how they met.
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    • In "Angle of Investigation" Kiz Rider is typing up reports on the Verloren case, which is novel The Closers.
  • Dirty Cop: The killer in "Angle of Investigation" was Bosch's partner on the beat, Eckersly, who "discovered" the body along with Bosch. He had been having an affair with Wilkins, he was married, and she was threatening to tell his boss if he didn't divorce his wife.
  • Distant Prologue: The first part of "Angle of Investigation", subtitled "Then", tells the story of rookie beat cop Harry Bosch and his partner Eckersley finding the body of June Wilkins, killed and left in her bathtub in 1972. The second part jumps to the present day (subtitled "Now") and finds veteran homicide detective Bosch looking up the Wilkins case again.
  • Driven to Suicide: Bosch's old beat partner Eckersly kills himself at the end of "Angle of Investigation" after Bosch and Rider show up and tell him they've nailed him for the Wilkins murder.
  • Living Lie Detector: Bosch is very good at this. He realizes that the father in "Father's Day" is lying because of various tells. The man averts his eyes when telling the story (innocent people look cops in the eye), he keeps his hands hidden in his lap (innocent people keep their hands out in the open), he hides his eyes, he turns to the side so he can't look Bosch in the eye.
  • Oddball in the Series: Bosch Always Gets His Man, except in "Christmas Even", where he doesn't. He realizes that without proof of how Servan electrified the display case, or proof that electrocution was the cause of death, and without the lock picks that Servan hid somewhere, the cops won't be able to prove that Servan killed the burglar. And even if they do take the case to trial, the jurors probably won't care that Servan killed a burglar who was hitting his pawn shop for the fourth time.
  • Offing the Offspring: Bosch figures out that the father in "Father's Day" deliberately left his 15-month-old baby in the car to die, because the child had a host of mental and physical disabilities, and his career-driven parents found him an inconvenience.
  • Shout-Out: In "Angle of Investigation", Rider suggests that Bosch is too personally involved in the 1972 Wilkins murder, alluding to "the Laura syndrome". She prefers the Burt Reynolds remake, Sharky's Machine.
  • Title Drop
    • The suspect in "Father's Day" sarcastically wishes Bosch a happy Father's Day (because it is) while Bosch is grilling him about the death of his child.
    • In "Angle of Investigation" Bosch ponders the various "angles of investigation" he is pursuing on the Wilkins case.

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