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Literature / Suicide Run 2011

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Suicide Run is a 2011 short story collection written by Michael Connelly. It consists of three previously published short stories, all of which feature Connelly's most frequent protagonist, Harry Bosch. The stories:

  • "Suicide Run" (September 2005): Bosch and partner Jerry Edgar investigate the death of 24-year-old aspiring actress Lizbeth Grayson, found dead in her apartment. Edgar and everyone else believes it's a suicide (there's a note, there's no sign of trauma), but Harry Bosch does not.
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  • "Cielo Azul" (January 2005): Harry investigates the murder of a 15-year-old girl dumped on the hillside below Mulholland Drive. This story also feature Terry McCaleb, protagonist of Connelly novels Blood Work and A Darkness More Than Night.
  • "One Dollar Jackpot" (November 2007): Bosch is called out to investigate the murder of a female professional poker player, shot in the head in her own driveway after winning over $6000 at a casino.


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Tropes:

  • Continuity Nod
    • The entire story "Cielo Azul". In A Darkness More Than Night, written in 2001, McCaleb says he named his daughter "Cielo Azul" after the murder victim in this case. In the story, we hear about the investigation of that case, and how it haunts Bosch years later.
    • When the suspect in "One Dollar Jackpot" asks for a lawyer, Bosch throws out a few names but says that Maury Swann is in jail. Swann is in jail due to the events in novel Echo Park, where Swann is a major character.
  • Contrived Coincidence: There's a suicide note found in Grayson's room, in which certain words are underlined. "There's no use anymore. I give up. I give up. I give up." This is thought to cinch the case for suicide. On the contrary, Harry Bosch discovers that it was dialogue for a role and Grayson was rehearsing the line. It's rather contrived that such a note is found by the bed of a dead woman.
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  • Drop Dead Gorgeous: Lizbeth Grayson is found naked in her bed. Multiple characters comment on how beautiful she was.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: Sort of. "Suicide Run" ends by revealing that Mark Baron, the LAPD crime scene photographer who took photos of the Grayson scene, is the killer.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: In "Cielo Azul" Bosch thinks about how LAPD cops hate the FBI. Bosch does not care, and is perfectly willing to call in an FBI agent, because Bosch cares only about closing the case.
  • The Killer Was Left-Handed: A plot point in "One Dollar Jackpot", which Bosch observes because he is left-handed. He sees that the shell casing from the shooting of Tracy Blitzstein—shot in the head as she was sitting behind the wheel of her car—was found by the front hood. Since guns eject their shells backwards, not forwards, that means the shell must have bounced off something. That leads Bosch to suspect the killer was left-handed, because guns eject shells to the right which means the shells sometimes strike left-handed shooters, something that has happened to Bosch himself.
  • Never Suicide: Harry is the only one to see that the carefully staged murder of Lizbeth Grayson isn't a suicide.
  • Punny Name: In "One Dollar Jackpot" Bosch works with a detective called Kimber Gunn, "Kimber" being a particular brand of gun. When he asks her she laughs and said her father got it worse, because his name was Tommy.
  • Serial Killer: When the cops get to Mark Baron's room they find a series of pictures of starlets in death and life. They also discover that he's been switching jewelry from body to body.
  • Shout-Out: How does McCaleb realize the suspect they're interviewing in "Cielo Azul" is the killer? He sees that the suspect has a copy of The Collector, about a man who kidnaps and imprisons women, on his bookshelf.
  • Title Drop
    • The death of Lizbeth Grayson is called a "suicide run" because everyone there but Harry assumes after one look at the scene that Grayson killed herself.
    • "Cielo Azul", Spanish for "blue sky", is the name that Bosch and McCaleb gave the teenaged Hispanic murder victim, who was never identified.
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