Nine Dragons (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Much of the power and richness of Nine Dragons comes from the various ways that Michael Connelly not only tells an exciting tale set in a recognizable contemporary world but also taps into larger-than-life mythologies of character and setting, including several associated specifically with detective fiction. Harry Bosch, the protagonist of Connelly’s long-running detective series, has been established in earlier works as a quirky but archetypal detective. Without being reduced to caricature, he in many ways is a direct descendant of Dirty Harry, himself a descendant of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. All three have become cultural icons of the legitimacy and necessity of combating violent crime with sometimes even more violent justice.
Harry’s full name, Hieronymus Bosch, identifies him with the Dutch painter of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries who is famous for his depictions of the corruption and cruelty of the world. One of the painter’s most well known works, The Garden of Earthly Delights (c. 1503), is an ironically named piece that includes a nightmarish rendering of the torments of hell on earth. A similar irony is employed by Connelly when he sets some of the most horrifying incidents in his story in a place called the Happy Valley. The detective’s name also invokes the apocalypse that seemed imminent in the earlier Bosch’s paintings. If the world has not yet ended four hundred years later, Connelly’s...
(The entire section is 1833 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Booklist 106, no. 2 (September 15, 2009): 6.
The Guardian (London), October 31, 2009, p. 10.
Kirkus Reviews 77, no. 20 (October 15, 2009): 12.
Los Angeles Times, October 12, 2009, p. D1.
The New York Times Book Review, November 1, 2009, p. 22.
Publishers Weekly 256, no. 38 (September 21, 2009): 38.
(The entire section is 30 words.)