Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Lost Light

Go To
Lost Light is a 2003 detective novel by Michael Connelly, featuring Harry Bosch.

Having retired from the LAPD at the end of City of Bones, Harry Bosch is at loose ends. Still feeling the need to catch bad guys rather than pursue any of the more lucrative ways homicide cops might capitalize on their skills, Harry elects to pursue an old case. Four years prior, Harry was called out to investigate the murder of Angella Benton, a PA at a movie production company. At the time it was thought to be a routine sex murder, but Harry thought different. He was apparently proved right four days later when two million dollars in cash, which were being used as a movie prop, were stolen from the set of a film being shot by Angella Benton's production company.

Unfortunately for Harry, the expansion of his case led to it being reassigned to the elite Robbery-Homicide Division. Unfortunately for the case, RHD detectives Jack Dorsey and Lawton Cross got nothing. Unfortunately for both the case and for Dorsey and Cross, investigation came to a halt when an armed robbery at a bar leaves Dorsey dead and Cross a quadriplegic. Now after four years, private investigator Harry Bosch is out to solve the Angella Benton murder once and for all.


This novel contains examples of:

  • Alliterative List: The case Harry Bosch is investigating is said to have "everything RHD likes in a case: movies, money and murder".
  • Alliterative Name: Burnett Biggar, Miles Manley and Bernard Banks.
  • And This Is for...: Villainous example when Simonson has Bosch at gunpoint.
  • Arc Words: This book introduces "relentless" and "high jingo" into the mix, and Harry's "single-bullet theory" is discussed.
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: Bosch and Langwiser speak in code while talking on his home phone, and wind up getting some very good results.
  • The Bus Came Back: This one features the return of Eleanor Wish, Bosch's lover from The Black Echo, whom he later married in Trunk Music only for her to leave him in Angels Flight. She has a secret.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Harry's random observation about how cop cars have oversized gas tanks. This is why Marty Gessler's credit card was charged for 29.1 gallons the night she was murdered.
    • Perfectly played with the water bottle Harry loses over the side of his deck. A completely throw-away minor incident that comes back at the climax to save Harry's life.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The events of Connelly's non-Bosch novel Void Moon were made into a movie—or rather, they would have been made into a movie if a bloody armed robbery hadn't led to production being cancelled.
    • This book has just one of many references to fictional Archway Studios, which first popped up in Connelly novel Trunk Music.
    • Bosch mentions when trying to get Lawton Cross to relax to remember something that it had been "years since he had tried any hypnotic techniques."
    • Bosch recalls the He Who Fights Monsters lecture that Honey Chandler gave him in The Concrete Blonde.
    • Janis Langweiser, the hard-charging prosecutor from Angels Flight, is now a defense attorney. Harry, who needs a lawyer he can trust (and who hasn't made the acquaintance of Mickey Haller yet), goes to Janis to help protect him from the FBI.
  • Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: Bosch, who is the one rubbing his wrists, comments disapprovingly about how he always thought cuffing a suspect too tightly was a cheap tactic.
  • Dirty Cop: The crippled LAPD cop who helps Bosch is actually the murderer.
  • Evil Cripple: It turns out that the murderer is the (now) quadriplegic cop.
  • Exact Words: To avoid telling the bad guys he's working for himself, Harry Bosch says he's "working for somebody who isn't going to stop, who isn't going to let up. Not for a minute. He's going to find out who put Angella Benton down on the tile and he'll go at it until he either dies or he knows."
    • Invoked by Harry when Special Agent Peoples asks for the original surveillance recordings in exchange for the murder files. Bosch replies that he only promised to not release them, he never said that he would give them away.
  • FBI Agent: Harry Bosch has run afoul of the FBI many times, but in this one he's actually arrested by the feds, when his investigation into the Angella Benton murder starts leading into a terrorism angle. He also has to deal with a rogue, thuggish FBI agent named Milton who threatens Bosch and assaults Cross.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Harry notices a safety fence around Eleanor's pool, the kind "people with children put up as a precaution."
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A criminal defense attorney tries to hire the unemployed Harry Bosch as a private investigator and Bosch refuses because he doesn't feel comfortable with the idea. In The Crossing, he'll investigate a murder on behalf of the accused's lawyer.
    • The several hints Bosch picks up on that Eleanor Wish is living with someone else are matched up with Eleanor's comment that Vegas is "not a bad place to raise a kid. Supposedly." The novel ends with Eleanor revealing to Harry the existence of his daughter Madeline.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: "Hieronymus Bosch" is called that as a threat.
  • Fun with Acronyms: REACT. The agent who explains it to Bosch has some trouble remembering what it means. "Regional Response... no, it's Rapid Enforcement Against something Terrorism, I forget the whole thing — oh, I got it, Rapid Response Enforcement And Counter-terrorism. That's it." REACT is described as a BAM squad. By Any Means.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Roy Lindell is very much on Harry's side, but damn, he's an ass.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: It starts raining just as Bosch and Roy Lindell discover the three-years-buried body of Martha Gessler.
  • Gun Struggle: Bosch opens his eyes after the Gun Struggle and finds that his opponent doesn't have a face.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Discussed when Bosch is sparring with an FBI agent, after the FBI chucked him into a special detention center.
    • Brought to fruition in Bosch's final meeting with Lawton Cross, when he briefly considers harming him.
  • I Made Copies: Bosch leaves the incriminating video of Milton and Cross with Janis Langweiser, and tells the FBI that to make sure they don't try and chuck him in a cell again.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: Inverted. It's raining when Bosch emerges from the cave after finding and uncovering Gessler's body.
  • It Only Works Once: Early on, Bosch meets with FBI agent Roy Lindell, with whom he actually has a good relationship from prior cases. Lindell wants to help Bosch but is hampered by his position with the Bureau, so he “accidentally” leaves Bosch alone with the FBI case file in an interview room, with the express intent that Bosch not only reads the file but takes it with him when he leaves. Later, he tries to set up the same trick with an insurance investigator, but while the investigator goes to get his coffee, his secretary walks in and finds Bosch reading the file.
    Investigator: Well, I hope you got whatever you needed, because now to make good on the little fit I had out there, I have to throw you out.
  • Manly Tears: At the end, Bosch leaves Lindell quietly crying to himself.
  • Meaningful Name: Burnett Biggar and his son Andre are tall enough to deserve their surname.
  • Mythology Gag: Angella Benton worked for Eidolon Productions, and the name is said to mean "phantom" and refer to an Edgar Allan Poe poem. In The Poet the titular Serial Killer has a thing for Poe and calls himself the Eidolon.
  • Narrator: There are a couple dozen Connelly novels featuring Harry Bosch, but this one and The Narrows are the only ones where Harry narrates the story. All the others are third-person with Harry as a POV character.
  • No Name Given: The chief of police. He's tall and imposing unlike his predecessor who was a fat man, but both chiefs of police go unnamed in the Harry Bosch universe.
  • Pants-Positive Safety
  • Prima Donna Director: The director of the Void Moon movie is a prima donna who insists on having $2 million in real money to use as a prop, despite the fact that most movies don't use real cash and the full $2 million won't ever get in the shot anyway. This insistence on verisimilitude naturally facilitates an armed robbery on the movie set.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lindell calling Bosch out on his Cowboy Cop ways:
    He's always been a private investigator, even when he wore a badge.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Toward the end, Bosch thinks to himself of Gessler's fate, "what a wonderful world." Doubles as an Ironic Echo.
  • Shot in the Ass: In the backstory. One of the bank people at the heist is shot in the butt. Not played for laughs.
  • Shout-Out: When Cross challenges one of the FBI thugs at his house for ID, the FBI thug shoots back with the "We don't need no steenking badges" line from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
    • Harry later meets FBI agent Peoples in the same restaurant where Pacino and De Niro met in Heat, which Harry himself points out.
  • Stepping Out for a Quick Cup of Coffee: Roy Lindell is not allowed to share the Martha Gessler file with Bosch. So Lindell makes a big show out of leaving the file on his desk while going outside to grab a smoke, so Bosch can look at it. The reason Lindell does this is that Marty Gessler was his girlfriend and he wants Harry to solve the case.
  • There Are No Coincidences: Bosch admits that sure, sometimes there are coincidences, but he refuses to believe that Linus Simonson buying the bar that Dorsey and Cross got shot up in is a coincidence.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Implied when Lindell pushes Bosch aside in the cave and finishes uncovering Gessler's body by himself.
  • Title Drop: By Bosch, as he and Lindell explore the cave where Gessler is buried.
  • Wall Slump: One of the bad guys does this after getting shot.