Friday Book Whimsy: Dark Sacred Night

I got a feeling that I can’t let go.

Those are the words in the haunting theme song for the very popular television series featured on Amazon Prime called simply Bosch. The shows are based on a few of the earlier novels written by one of my favorite mystery writers Michael Connelly that feature Los Angeles police detective Harry Bosch.

I have been a fan of this particular detective series since The Black Echo, published in 1992. The words in the television theme song describe Detective Bosch’s approach to every murder he covers — he can’t let go until it’s solved. He runs into problems, he breaks rules, he angers both friends and foes, but he gets his job done. He can’t let go.

Over the years, Connelly has been wise enough to make Bosch change with the times. He has grown older; he has been kicked out of police departments; he has faced legal obstacles; he has lost loved ones; he has developed a relationship with his daughter; he’s even forged a relationship with his half-brother, the star of another of Connelly’s writing, Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer). But his approach to solving the crime, and his tenacity, has never changed.

That’s the reason why despite the fact that Bosch has been featured in 21+ novels, I’m not sick of him. Nevertheless, Connelly’s latest novel featuring Detective Bosch takes a different turn. This time, he meets Detective Renee Ballard, and together, they solve a cold case.

Ballard isn’t some beautiful police detective who runs in high heels. She works for the Los Angeles Police, and has a mysterious past. She sleeps on the beach. She is tough as can be. And when she gets to work one morning and finds a stranger going through files to which he has no access, she is taken aback. It’s Bosch, (now working for the San Fernando Police Department) who has once again gotten a cold case under his skin.

It doesn’t take long before the case gets under her skin as well, and together, Bosch and Ballard are a formidable team. They not only solve the mystery of who killed 15-year-old runaway Daisy Clayton, but in Connelly’s inimitable style, face and handle other issues along the way.

It is this reviewer’s sincere hope that the Ballard Bosch duo is going to stick around, because the two are tough and realistic. The ending hints on further books. Yay!

Here is a link to the book.

If My Name Was Whiskey

When you got off work at five
I’d be the first thing on your mind every time.
And if I wasn’t where you thought I’d be
You’d drive around ’til you found me
If it took all night.
You’d press me to your lips
Say you never felt like this
And I’d be all you’d need
And you’d get drunk on me.
If my name was Whiskey
Maybe right now you’d miss me. – a recent country song by Michael James Ryan Busbee,Carly Pearce, Shane McAnally, sung by Carly Pearce

My whiskey drinking education program is continuing on track, perhaps even ahead of schedule. I must confess that I may never work my way up to Scotch, because I’m sort of stuck on Crown Royal. It just tastes good to me. Even better – at least so far – than Bourbon. Bourbon drinkers, don’t hate.

But speaking of Bourbon, I have a bit of a story to tell. I’m reading the newest book in one of my favorite mystery series – the Harry Bosch mysteries by Michael Donnelly. Donnelly has two regular series – one features former L.A. police detective Harry Bosch, who is now retired and volunteers on cold cases, and the other is Mickey Haller, who is a defense attorney. Somewhere along the line of these two books, the two aforementioned gentlemen find out they are half-brothers. As such, Donnelly often has an interaction between the two in one or another of his books.

In this particular book, called Two Kinds of Truth, Harry’s former partner stops to visit him in Harry’s home high above the city on Mulholland Drive in L.A.. Harry invites him in but tells him he has no beer; in fact, the only thing he has is an unopened bottle of Bourbon. Jerry is astounded when Harry brings out a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon. The bottle was a gift from an appreciative client, and Harry knows nothing about Bourbon, so he is unaware of its value.

Jerry proceeds to explain that the Bourbon Harry is pouring is extremely valuable. In fact, at one point, Harry has the bottle sitting on the railing of his balcony where a strong breeze could send it to its death. Jerry grabs the bottle and places it on the table.

Fast forward to the next chapter when Harry once again meets up with his half-brother Mickey. After conducting their business, Harry tells Mickey that he recalls when the two of them were each given the bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, and Mickey offered Harry $100 for his bottle, an offer Harry refused on principle. I know now that you were screwing me, Harry tells his brother.

Because I’m now experimenting with whiskey, I paid more attention to that whole passage. How could any whiskey be that valuable, I wondered. I also wondered if Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon was a real thing. It is…..

Fast forward again to this past Sunday. Following Mass and a subsequent breakfast, Bill and I went to our favorite liquor store to pick up a few things – some wine, some beer, etc. Much to our surprise, though it was only a little after 10 in the morning, there was literally a crowd of people milling around the front section of the store. Something was happening…..

We picked up our few things, and as I paid for them, I asked our cashier what the heck was going on. A whiskey lottery, he told us. He went on to say that there were a few brands of whiskey – very valuable brands – that would be sold by lottery to a lucky buyer or two or three.

There are a few brands of Bourbon that are made in very small batches, and they are worth several thousand dollars, he told us. Like PAPPY VAN WINKLE BOURBON.

Whaaaaat? Just think, only a mere month ago, I wouldn’t even have known what he was talking about. Now, here was I, a whiskey connoisseur, ready to step up to the lottery drawing.

Naw, that’s not true. I am totally and entirely unwilling to pay thousands of dollars for a bottle of swill, no matter how good it is. Do you realize how many bottles of Tanqueray gin I could buy for that price?

Still, I’m finding this whiskey culture to be interesting, that’s for sure.