Bibliophile | ‘Desert Star’ offers a stark mystery with a relentless lead

Desert Star
by Michael Connelly
Allen & Unwin

Former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connelly has sold more that eighty million copies worldwide of the thirty-seven novels he has written. He has also written and produced several successful television series based on Detective Harry Bosch.

In Desert Star, the now retired LAPD Detective Harry Bosch finds himself in the library of lost souls which is an archive for unsolved cases. The rows of murder books, organised by year and case number, seem to go forever. Six of those books belong to the Gallagher family who were found buried in the desert.

While he acknowledges that detectives never manage to solve all the cases they work on, in his thirty years as a homicide detective, there is only one case that still haunts Harry. This was the slaughter of the family of four by a psychopath who was still walking around free.

LAPD Detective Renée Ballard, who used to work with Harry, has been lured back into the force to rebuild the cold case unit at the Robbery-Homicide Division. She knows that she can entice Harry to be part of a team to help her, even if it is just as a volunteer with no badge and no gun.

Harry was so close to proving who was responsible for the Gallagher murders but lacked the evidence to secure a conviction. The temptation to finally get justice for the Gallagher family has to take a back seat because political pressure means the team have to justify the unit by solving some of the cases that actually have evidence.

This includes the cold case for the councilman responsible for reopening the cold case department, whose sixteen year-old sister was murdered in her bed and whose parents have since died without seeing anyone brought to justice.

Harry is willing to put himself in grave danger to finally find answers for families who have had to carry the pain of unsolved mysteries for decades – and just like the Desert Star plant, he is relentless and resilient against all the odds.

Lezly Herbert

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