Bosch Episode Three: Blue Religion – Mason Cross on The Story So Far

We continue our dual review of the Bosch series on Amazon TV: for this week’s episode, Orion debut novelist Mason Cross jumps in to give us his thoughts . . .

My esteemed co-blogger Steve Cavanagh rectified a grave omission on my part by drawing attention to the stylish opening credits of Bosch. I’d like to state for the record that I concur. The sequence is a great way to ease into the nocturnal, jazz-infused world of the show, and a nice throwback to more leisurely title sequences of old.

 

 

Following those credits, episode three picks up in the aftermath of the suicide of a suspect – the guy with a historic child sex charge who was a person of interest in the murder of the boy whose bones were found in the hills above his house. Bosch wastes no time putting the blame at the door of the journalist who leaked the story, but Titus Welliver does a nice job of suggesting how much responsibility Bosch puts on himself for this death, too.

For the LAPD bosses, it’s an opportunity to tidy up a difficult case with minimal fuss by putting the blame on a plausible scapegoat. Naturally, Bosch isn’t one to go along with department politics if it will let the real killer go free.

The civil suit is concluded, with the jury finding in the plaintiff’s favour but sending a message by awarding a dollar in damages – as the lawyer puts it, they understand why Harry bent the rules to take a bad guy off the streets. That’s a nice counterpoint to what Bosch is being subtly pressured to do in this episode: bend the rules, with official blessing, to let an innocent dead man take the fall.

On the personal side, there’s trouble in paradise in Bosch and Brasher’s relationship when she resents being told to straighten up and fly right by someone who’s a bit of a rebel himself. In fairness, both she and Bosch kind of have a point in this argument.

Bosch and his partner Jerry Edgar interview the boy’s sister, and while doing so finally manage to identify the bones as belonging to one Arthur Delacroix. There’s an interesting spin on the classic mismatched partners trope with these two: at first glance, Jerry is the sharp-suited straight man to Harry’s slightly dishevelled maverick. But their personalities belie these initial impressions, contrasting Edgar’s detached, hands-off approach with Bosch’s fierce commitment to doing what’s right and chasing up every lead.

The splicing of story strands from three different books is working well so far. As a writer, it’s fun to see how the writers interweave story threads from the different novels. It’s a bit like studying the way Raymond Chandler would cannibalise two or three short stories to build a seamless novel, like he did with The Big Sleep.

There are more political shenanigans later when Deputy Chief Irving puts pressure on Bosch to interview strangely jolly serial killer Raynard Waits about his claim that he’s the killer of the boy in the hills. Bosch’s instinct is that Waits is lying; the timing is too convenient. At the end of the episode, both Bosch and ourselves are taken by surprise when Waits turns out to know a key piece of information about that case.

Bosch still isn’t convinced, but it’s the first piece of hard evidence to link the two main cases, and demonstrates that there may be more to Raynard Waits than meets the eye. I’m just glad we don’t need to wait a week between episodes to find out what happens next.

 

The rule-flouting, loner detective who goes against the grain in order to get justice done is a well-known figure in crime fiction. Which other detectives fit this description? Do you have a favourite police department anti-hero? Let us know in the Comments!

A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connelly is the author of the Harry Bosch detective series, the most recent of which, The Burning Room, is available now. The three novels upon which series one of Bosch are based – The Concrete Blonde, City of Bones and Echo Park are all published by Orion in paperback and ebook. Visit Michael Connelly’s website for more on Harry Bosch.

 

Mason Cross was born in Glasgow in 1979. He studied English at the University of Stirling and currently works in the voluntary sector. His short story, ‘A Living’, was shortlisted for the Quick Reads Get Britain Reading Award. The Killing Season is his first novel. He lives in Glasgow with his wife and three children. To find out more, visit Mason Cross’ website or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.