On Monday 9th May, the Books and Bakes Book Club met at Grays Road Institute to chat about the April book – The Burning Room by Michael Connelly. 

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly | Waterstones
Book Cover: The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

The Burning Room is part of the Detective Bosch series. Bosch, edging closer to retirement, is partnered with a younger Detective for training and together they work on solving cold cases. As the story progresses, you learn that the cold case they are investigating might be linked to a childhood experience of Bosch’s new partner, Detective Soto. The remainder of the books explores and investigates how the cold case and childhood experiences are intertwined and linked to some of LA’s big names!

We discussed the similarities and differences between the English and American Criminal Justice Systems and the private funding of politicians and ‘big wigs’ who have been known to benefit from preferential treatment. We discussed the differences in quality of life of the diverse cultures discussed within the story.

There were differing opinions on the significance of the title, as the phrase of the burning room came up a few times in the book and a few different pivotal scenes and unexpected plot twists were noted. However, the group felt that the ended was a bit flat overall, although, perhaps if you read the next book in the series it will provide a more satisfactory conclusion?

The members commented that they had enjoyed the book, even those who don’t read crime fiction as part of their general reading repertoire. Members were impressed with the author’s skill to weave all of the different threads of the story together in order to reach the conclusion.

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4 Comments

Lynne Amos · May 10, 2022 at 4:38 pm

The Burning Room was definitely my type of book. I do like a good detective novel. Although set in the USA I felt the author explained the meaning of the many acronyms used in the police force a lot better than some American authors.
I thought the two main characters, Harry Bosch and Lucia ( Lucy) Soto were totally believable and liked the way they worked together. We were shown that politics seems to be a large factor in the police budgets and that some politicians think they are above the law. Although in this instance not all of the bad guys got their comeuppance! I think the group were left without a satisfactory conclusion but I felt that there might be more answers in the following book. I am going to look out for more of the Harry Bosch novels.

Joyce Beadnall · May 10, 2022 at 8:50 pm

I enjoyed the book, particularly gaining insight into the developing work relationship between the experienced and novice detective. Bosch took his responsibilities seriously- but didn’t always make the right choices and decisions ! They both recognised and respected each others’ strengths and qualities.
Several times , I thought that Lucy might have had a hidden agenda – and I was very relieved to be proved wrong!

Sharon Mitchinson · May 11, 2022 at 8:42 am

I was very happy to read this book again having read it a few years ago. The author has a way of telling a story explaining the main characters & dropping other info on them into the tale as it weaves its way. The many threads of the crimes investigated were cleverly done with new evidence being threaded in to encourage Bosch & Soto ever onwards, cutting a few corners in the process which I could forgive. The ending was I think laying the foundation for further books with a different take for Bosch & a bright future for sidekick Soto. I have watched the many series of Bosch on TV & thoroughly enjoyed them. I hope to read more of the books.

Kathryn Hoey · May 12, 2022 at 2:30 pm

Harry Bosch works for the LAPD’s open- unsolved unit dealing with cold cases – unsolved murders. The case is ten years old and the victim has only just died. Orlando Merced was a Mariachi player, who became the unintended target of a shooting. He survived, but the bullet lodged in his spine and took both his legs, his arm and finally his life. His death means the bullet can be extracted and examined, giving Harry Bosch and his new partner Lucia Soto, new leads for the first time in a decade, in what has now become a murder case. The pair work well together, turning up evidence linking the shooting to a decade old fire in an apartment, which killed a group of children. More evidence found by the pair linked the fire to a bank robbery. Politics raised it’s ugly head which added intrigue to the story.
This was the first time I had read a book of this genre and which was set in America. It took me a long while to actually start to enjoy it. The acronyms really annoyed me! I liked the way the investigation developed and how the two detectives were able to link other crimes to the shooting of Merced. I liked the two main characters, the way Harry, the very experienced detective , helped and supported Lucy, the novice detective. It was obvious they trusted and respected each other. In turn, Lucy had her own ideas and felt able to share them with Harry. Her ideas helped them as the investigation went on.
Reading this book gave me an insight into the American Criminal Justice System and the story showed how some politicians think they are above the law. I was disappointed with the ending of The Burning Room. It wasn’t what I expected nor what I wanted. I felt Harry was very unfairly treated and the reason for him being suspended pending further investigation, was quite pathetic. Was the author
already thinking about his next Harry Bosch novel?!!

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