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Book Review

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Book Review:The Closers

by Lang Reid

The Los Angeles Police Department, known throughout the world by its acronym LAPD, is the setting for this new thriller from Michael Connelly (ISBN 0-75286-457-2, Orion Publishing, 2005), one of America’s prolific writers. “The Closers” is his 16th novel, of which “The Narrows” is probably one of his best known works.

The principal character is Harry Bosch, a detective who has returned to the LAPD after having previously taken early retirement. Bosch is apparently one of the ‘old school’ detectives with a nose for clues and a certain doggedness to follow a trail to its logical conclusion. Marry that to the latest technology and it sounds like a ‘super-cop’!

However, even super-cops need partners to bounce ideas, and Bosch gets a female buddy, Kiz Rider, but there is no sexual liaison hinted at, in fact Detective Rider is not attracted to men at all.

The pair is seconded to the Open-Unsolved cases section, where their first unsolved case is a 17 year old murder of a young teenager. The ramifications of this murder go towards making much of the ‘meat’ in this book. The distraught parents separate, the school friends become traumatized, and a white supremacy movement becomes involved in the original investigation as well.

Despite their best efforts, Bosch and Rider seem to produce even more loose ends than they had before. They (and Bosch in particular) also seem to ignite the hatred of some other section heads of the LAPD, and Bosch soon follows the line of reasoning that there has been a cover up all those years ago. In this he is correct, but since the perpetrators have had 17 years of promotions, it will be difficult for Bosch to have his views heard.

Author Connelly takes the reader through the LAPD and introduces new characters every chapter. Some of whom are very central to the denouement and others, the proverbial red herrings, but you are forced to keep reading to find this out.

After the first section of the book, where the background details are spelled out, the plot picks up the pace in the second section and becomes veritably breakneck in the third. This is truly a book you cannot put down, and kept me up for a couple of nights. It will do the same for you!

Author Connelly was previously a police reporter for the Los Angeles Times and in his acknowledgments at the close of the book cites several serving LAPD personnel. That background and his research has produced an immediacy and veracity which heightens the book immeasurably. The descriptive passages make the reader feel as if he or she is actually present.

I took this thriller from the shelves of my local Bookazine, where it has an RRP of B. 395. At just over 400 pages, this is an excellent book, and probably one of the best detective novels of 2005. The action and intrigue will take you right to page 402 before you can exhale, despite your thinking that Bosch has it all wrapped up before then. If you are a fan of detective thrillers, this is for you.

Mott's CD Reviews: Eric Clapton

Back Home

mott the dog

No Cream, No Stars

Eric Clapton is, no doubt about it, one of the finest musicians of his lifetime. After being a founder member of the Yardbirds, then moving onto John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, followed by Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek and the Dominos, Eric Clapton then lived the life of a virtual recluse for the next three years, only being lured out twice to perform at the Concert for Refugee Children from Bangladesh, organized by his friend George Harrison in 1971, and by Peter Townshend of The Who fame who was attempting to get his old friend out of the house. It worked because in 1974 Eric Clapton re-introduced himself to the public with a fine solo album, 461 Ocean Boulevard, and a new band, actually Bob Seger’s old band, plus former sidekick Carl Radle from the Domino days.

Eric Clapton remained a solo artist for the next thirty years. During this time Clapton has remained at the top of the rock ‘n’ roll tree, proving himself to be a fine all round bloke making many charity appearances for the like of Live Aid, The Princes Trust Concerts, etc.

Producing many fine albums with an always changing line up of suitable musicians, along with legendary concert appearances, many of which have been recorded and released, EC Was Here (1975), Just One Night (1980), 24 Nights (1991) and the acoustic smash hit Unplugged (1992).

But his studio work became tamer and tamer as time went by, as Eric Clapton himself began to look more like a bank manager than the bank robber of yore.

Of course Eric Clapton did completely redeem himself in the Nineties and Noughties with some splendid blues studio albums, such as From The Cradle (1994), Riding with the King (2000), a collaboration with B.B. King, and Me and Mr Johnson (2004), an album of covers from the songbook of Robert Johnson. But the studio albums that have appeared in the last decade of Clapton’s own compositions, and selected covers, have been a little weak, Pilgrim (1998) and Reptile (2001) being the culprits.

In 2005 Eric Clapton recreated a lot of interest in rock ‘n’ roll circles by getting Cream back together, and performing some of the best concerts by a power trio in many an age. The CD and DVD releases of these concerts provide the proof of that pudding.

Mott the Dog thought it would be worth seeing what Eric Clapton was up to these days in the studio, as Clapton goes into his seventh decade, on the back of those rockin’ Cream concerts. On first listening to Back Home released at the end of August 2005, I thought I was listening to a very poor Michael Bolton album, except that Michael Bolton has a lot better voice, selects better songs, is better produced, to be honest is far more rock ‘n’ roll, and to my dismay uses the electric guitar a lot more.

I am more than happy for musical artists to diversify, as long as what they do is at least worthwhile. Back Home isn’t. I am sorry Mr. Clapton but what happened to your guitar? Only once or twice in the conclusion to a couple of numbers can a lead guitar be heard and then well down in the mix, usually submerged beneath flimsy backing vocals and sweeping string sections.

The album limps in with the first of songs co-written between Eric Clapton and Simon Climie, aptly titled So Tired, it barely limps out of your speakers. The best thing that can be said about So Tired is that it delays second song Say What You Will from starting for more than four and a half minutes. Stevie Wonder’s I’m Going Left simply just lies down without making the slightest effort.

Unbelievably the next cover version is an old Platter’s song, Love Don’t Love Nobody. This is where the strings and lush backing vocals start in earnest. It is hard to believe that this song was recorded by Eric Clapton - the man who’s guitar powered along songs such as I’m So Glad and Badge.

First single off the album is the Clapton/Climie Revolution, which is a foolish attempt at re-doing the Bob Marley song I Shot The Sheriff, which Eric Clapton had a number one hit with in The United States in 1974. Singing revolution time and time again over a reggae beat does not make a protest song.

The George Harrison song Love Comes To Everybody is so laid back as to be vertical. The only attempt at blues/rock is a song called Lost and Found, which collapses around its own riff, and when it does struggle to get going is abruptly cut off. Unfortunately from here the album goes dramatically downhill, which is quite an achievement in itself.

Reprise / Duck Records should know better than releasing this rubbish, even if it does have a big name to promote it with. This only dupes the unsuspecting paying public. Eric Clapton has also surrounded himself with gifted musicians who also should have known better than lending their names to this. If you want something from Eric Clapton to take back home, stick to the Cream Reunion shows.

Some of the Musicians who did this are:
Eric Clapton: Vocals, and presumably some guitar somewhere
John Mayer: Guitars
Billy Preston: Keyboards
Andy Fairweather Lowe: Guitars, Vocals
Steve Winwood: Synthesizer
Chris Stainton: Fender Rhodes
Pino Paladino: Bass
Abraham Laboriel jnr: Drums
Plus Eric Clapton’s regular backing band whom I am sure would rather not be mentioned

Song Titles
So Tired
Say What You Will
I’m Going Left
Love Don’t Love Nobody
Love Comes To Everyone
Lost And Found
Piece Of My Heart
One Day
One Track Mind
Run Home To Me
Back Home

To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]