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Literature / The Crossing (2015)

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The Crossing is a 2015 crime novel by Michael Connelly featuring Harry Bosch, Connelly's most frequent protagonist.

Bosch is now a former LAPD detective, having been forced into retirement at the end of The Burning Room. Bosch is at loose ends when his half-brother, defense attorney Mickey Haller, offers Harry some work. Haller has a client named DaQuan Foster who has been arrested for the brutal rape and murder of West Hollywood resident Alexandra Parks. Haller thinks Foster was set up and begs Harry to take the case. Bosch is reluctant, as he spent his whole life putting killers in jail, but after Haller promises he can take the truth wherever it leads, Harry takes the case. He winds up following the evidence to two Hollywood LAPD cops, Ellis and Long, who have been leaving a trail of bodies all over Los Angeles.

Tropes present in this book:

  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: Two vice cops operate a porn-and-blackmail operation, and they also murder people.
  • Blackmail: A plastic surgeon becomes a victim of this after sleeping with a patient.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: As he is fleeing from the plastic surgeon's office, Ellis grabs Long and yanks Long in front of himself to use as a shield. It works, as Long takes a couple of bullets in his bulletproof vest as well as one in the hip.
  • Clear My Name: DaQuan Foster didn't do it.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Mickey Haller wants to hire Harry Bosch as a private investigator and Harry says Mickey is "not the first one to ask". Another criminal defense attorney asked it in Lost Light.
    • Bosch visits the VA Hospital and remembers having once gone there after suffering a gunshot wound. This is a reference to events in the first Bosch novel, The Black Echo.
    • One of the bad guys comments to the other that Bosch's house is nicer than one might expect on a cop's salary. Earlier novels had established that a movie had been made out of one of Bosch's cases, and he got a big check which he used to buy his cantilevered house in the Hollywood Hills.
    • When Bosch meets up with old partner Lucia Soto he remembers her arm with its tattoo: a list of names. That's key to the plot of The Burning Room.
    • Another appearance of Carmen Hinojos, the psychiatrist working with the LAPD who gives Harry Bosch therapy in The Last Coyote and does the same for Harry's daughter Madeline in 9 Dragons.
    • Detective Nancy Mendenhall, the Internal Affairs cop who saved Harry's life in The Black Box, returns, this time investigating Ellis and Long. She winds up saving Harry's life again.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "The crossing" is a cop term for when perp and victim meet. Harry Bosch also is crossing over to the defense side of criminal justice.
  • The Gambling Addict: The surgeon being blackmailed needs to use underhanded means to pay the blackmailers because his gambling addiction prompted his wife to keep a tight hold on his money.
  • Hot Paint Job: Cisco rides a motorcycle with flames painted on the gas tank. In this book, after he's injured in an accident engineered by Ellis and Long, he paints flames on his cane.
  • I Love the Dead: Implied with Ellis, the main villain. In the rape-murder that is the central mystery, the rape was post-mortem. And towards the end when Ellis kills the porn girls, he takes pictures after, and feels disappointed that they don't look all that dead due to their extensive facial plastic surgery.
  • Internal Affairs: Detective Mendenhall from IAD pops up again, this time not investigating Bosch—he isn't a cop anymore—but investigating Ellis and Long.
  • Killer Cop: Ellis and Long, the vice cops. They have a wide range of criminal activities that run the gamut from blackmail to pimping to murder. They killed Alexandra Parks, and they joke about their high body count.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Harry goes to Las Vegas to track down the watch, only to find that Parks had reported it stolen. He is inclined to write off the watch as a dead end, with its absence from the crime scene explained. But then Ellis and Long murder the jewelers who sold the watch, causing Harry to zero in on them and unravel the whole mystery.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Bosch describes "the state's former governor, cigar clenched in his teeth," who "had been a movie star" other words, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bosch doesn't like him.
  • No-Tell Motel: The Haven House is described as a "hot-sheet motel." It is where male prostitute James Allen met DaQuan Foster and where he was later murdered.
  • Pink Mist: "Bosch felt a fine mist of blood hit him full in the face" after Mendenhall puts a round through the skull of the villain, Ellis.
  • The Pardon: Not exactly a pardon, but a former governor used his last days in office to reduce the punishment of a close associate. Bosch is among those who make a point to remember that fact and hold it against him.
  • Real-Person Cameo: One of several Connelly novels to feature Tim Marcia, a Real Life LAPD cop who helps Michael Connelly with research, as a minor character.
  • Reverse Whodunnit: It's pretty much clear from the start that Ellis and Long are the bad guys, especially since the book starts with them deliberately attacking Cisco. The mystery lies in how Harry Bosch tracks them down.
  • Sexiled: The two porn girls that Ellis and Long are running sometimes entertain johns at their apartment. They put a stuffed bear in the window as a signal to not come in. Not played for comedy, as the girls are essentially sex slaves.
  • Shout-Out: Harry goes to the Hollywood Forever cemetery as part of his investigation (they have security cameras). He stops at the grave of Mel Blanc and reads the inscription on Blanc's tombstone: "That's all, folks."
  • South of the Border: At some point, it's believed Ellis plans to flee to Mexico and will probably be there already by the time the police start chasing him. Subverted because he puts revenge against Bosch above escaping and intends to flee to Belize.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Bounces back and forth between Bosch and Ellis.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The first chapter has Ellis and Long arranging a traffic "accident" that puts Cisco, Mickey Haller's investigator, out of commission.