Angels Flight is an LA landmark, a funicular (new word for me) railway in the Bunker Hill district.  I would call it an incline, since it’s similar to the two in Pittsburgh. There are two cars, Sinai and Olivet, that travel the 298 feet up and down the hill. It’s on one of these cars that the mystery in Angels Flight by Michael Connelly begins.

Photo from

Two people are found dead, shot, in the car at the end of the night. One is a woman who works cleaning people’s apartments. The other, Howard Elias, is the most likely of the two to be the true target. He’s a prominent black civil rights attorney hated by most of the LAPD, because his reputation was built bringing lawsuits alleging racism and brutality by police officers. Enter Harry Bosch, who has never been sued by Elias and also conveniently has two black partners. The political dangers of the case are huge and the potential of a public outcry turning into rioting is at the front of everyone’s mind. Elias’ last case, the one that had been heading toward trial, involved the alleged torture and wrongful arrest of a low-level criminal for the abduction, rape and murder of the young daughter of a wealthy and powerful southern California car dealer. Bosch is convinced the case and the killing are related, and he’s willing to follow the clues wherever they lead, even if it’s straight to the squadroom.

The plot is tight, the action starts quickly and keeps up its pace through the story. There are none of those “really, how did you know that” or ” how could you be so stupid” moments. Bosch is a good detective. He follows the facts but is not afraid to bend the rules a little, not too far, but enough to actually get something done. I like him. He’s tough, but smart, and he’s human; he can make mistakes that have consequences.

Angels Flight is a good mystery, slightly typical – a hard-bitten cop with a failing marriage, a corrupt police department, the murder of a prominent citizen, an old case involving a powerful local family. But let’s face it, those make good components to a story. The LA setting is perfect, the story just wouldn’t have had the same flavor set anywhere else. I’m actually listening to another in this series already. They’re just solid.

Photo from Wikipedia

The original Angels Flight was built in 1901 but closed and dismantled in 1969 when the Bunker Hill area went through a redevelopment, replacing architecturally significant but run-down buildings with a district of high-rise commercial buildings and modern apartment and condominium complexes. The Angels Flight feature in the book is after is was re-assembled and opened just south of the original location in 1996. The commercial buildings and apartments play a small part in the story, explaining why the two passengers were on the railcar. Angels Flight did close and re-open twice after ’96, but is currently in operation as far as I can tell.

4 out of 5 stars

Category: Mystery- Police procedural

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Harry Bosch #6
First published December 1, 1998
10 hours 55 minutes
Narrated by Dick Hill

Book source: Library

Harry Bosch Series

  1. The Black Ice
  2. The Concrete Blond
  3. The Last Coyote
  4. Trunk Music
  5. A Darkness More Than Night
  6. City of Bones
  7. Lost Light
  8. The Narrows
  9. The Closers
  10. Echo Park
  11. The Overlook
  12. The Brass Verdict
  13. Nine Dragons
  14. The Reversal
  15. The Drop
  16. The Black Box (expected November 2012)


I’m slowly catching up this month.


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