Connelly, Michael: The Concrete Blonde (1994 / Harry Bosch #3)

This post will discuss the third novel in the Harry Bosch series. I reviewed part one and two here and here.

In his third case (well, the third case as documented by Michael Connelly), Harry Bosch has to face his troubled past. He is standing trial for shooting and killing a suspect in the ‘Dollmaker’ case, a case that was already referenced in the two predecessors of The Concrete Blonde. The case revolved around a serial killer, who got the nickname ‘Dollmaker’ from the fact that he liked to apply make-up to his victims after strangling them. After the suspect had been killed, it was generally assumed that he had indeed been the Dollmaker, which lightened Bosch’s guilt in shooting him before he could go to trial somewhat. However, coinciding with the beginning of Bosch’s trial a new victim of the so-called ‘Dollmaker’ turns up, raising doubt concerning the guilt of the man shot by Harry Bosch.

What follows is an intriguing mixture between legal thriller and crime novel, as Harry Bosch tries to investigate his old case to find out the truth about the Dollmaker in-between court appointments. His investigation soon turns into a suspenseful cat-and-mouse game, daring the reader to turn the pages just a little bit faster after every new twist.

As someone who will never say no to a good story about legal proceedings and the prospect of attorneys battling it out in front of a jury, I enjoyed this novel very much.


Another aspect that is a little perplexing and at the same time very fascinating was to see how different these novels are in some respects to crime fiction that was published more recently. All three novels were first published in the early 1990s, meaning they were published while I already existed – although certainly not yet as a reader*. One should think that the world depicted in the early Harry Bosch novels isn’t that different from the world we live in today, but it is. (And now I feel old 😦 )

*Whatever I did before I started reading is completely beyond me. 😯

These novels are set in a world in which it is impossible to call for backup if one didn’t bring a ROVER (Remote Out-of-vehicle Emergency Radio) – and there weren’t enough of them to go around so that every police officer could have one at all times*. Apparently they’re also set in a world in which a police officer wearing a moustache and obscenely patterned ties (really, read the quote below for a description and tell me you’d wear that) wasn’t enough to convict him of a crime against fashion.

*Spoilers: The next novel in the series introduces ‘portables’ I don’d assume they were actually very practical or pocket sized, but it’s definitely a step up. Now I can’t wait to see Bosch graduating to smart phones / watches / glasses / …? – I just hope his new cases won’t be all about people catching Pokemon!

[…] a maroon tie dotted with gold gladiator helmets […]


These little amusing details together with a gripping story made this a very enjoyable read. I did feel like Connelly was spinning the suspect carousel a little too wildly towards the end, but in this novel it didn’t bother me as much as it did in The Girl on the Train – at least I didn’t feel compelled to jump off this time.

Have you ever read something that was published during your childhood and ended up making you feel old? Let me know. 🙂


3 thoughts on “Connelly, Michael: The Concrete Blonde (1994 / Harry Bosch #3)

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