I sometimes wonder if author Michael Connelly gets tired of consistently turning out not just best-selling fiction, but also high quality novels that stand among the best detective novels ever written. This sounds like hyperbole, but it really isn’t … since “The Black Echo” in 1992, Connelly has turned out at least a novel of year that combine for a fascinating portrait of Los Angeles as seen through the eyes of men and women trying to maintain order and achieve justice.

“Two Kinds of Truth” is no exception. It find Connelly’s main protagonist, Harry Bosch, now retired from the LAPD but consulting with the San Fernando Police Department because it allows him to indulge his passion for justice. In this new novel, there are two concurrent plots involving Bosch - a double murder that takes place in San Fernando that he is uniquely positioned to investigate, and an old case from his LAPD days in which a conviction is challenged by new evidence. If this one case goes south, it will threaten Bosch’s reputation and potentially undermine virtually every other conviction he’s recorded during his long career.

The prose is taut, and plots are intricately laid out, and the characterizations vivid. In short, it is another winner from one of the best novelists working today (and not just in the crime genre).

BTW…the new season of “Bosch,” the excellent Amazon TV series based on the books, starts streaming early next year. Can’t wait.




I think it is fair to say that I was curious about Justice League without actually looking forward to it. I fondly remember the old comics from my youth, in which Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash and other superheroes teamed up to defeat various criminal threats, but for the most part the recent movies about the DC comic book universe have been relentlessly bleak and depressing. (The one exception was Wonder Woman, which brought the series a new and refreshing sensibility.)

I can report that Justice League, just out this weekend, is better than most of the rest … largely, I’m guessing, because of the contributions of Joss Whedon, who co-wrote the script and stepped in to finish the film when director Zack Snyder had to step away to deal with a family tragedy. Whedon brings necessary humor and light to the proceedings, and the film is measurably better because of it.

I do think that one of the things that Justice League makes clear is how much better the actors are than much of the material they’ve been given. (The plot, as often is the case in these films, is silly, largely focused on some CGI-created creature who wants to take over/destroy the world.) Everybody is really good, with Ezra Miller, as Barry Allen/The Flash, running away with almost every scene he’s in. Gal Gadot shines as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, and I really liked the emotional investment that Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Diane Lane as Martha Kent bring to their small roles.

I know I’m in a minority on this one, but I really like Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne whose heart has grown as his body has aged; there’s a touching self-awareness there, especially as he realizes how much he’s missed during his lifelong crusade. “He’s more human than I am,” he says at one point about Superman, who is, we must remember, an alien. As for Superman/Clark Kent - the film starts out with him being dead, but it gives nothing away to say that he doesn’t stay that way. And Henry Cavill, for the first time ironically, comes alive in the role - he’s funny and charming and, well, super.

Justice League isn’t for everyone, but if you like these kinds of movies, it is a step forward for this particular fictional universe.



The other night a bunch of us were casting about for a red wine, and we found in the wine cellar (I call it that, but it actually is just a basement with wine racks) a couple of bottles of the 2012 Carlton Cellars Estate Pinot Noir - which ended up being so smooth and so delicious that we drank all of it and ordered more from the vineyard. I’ve always Carlton Cellars - it is a small, family owned vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, consistently and passionately turning out distinctive wines that can be hard to get outside the area, but totally worth the effort.




That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

Sláinte!