Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch is the titular character of Michael Connelly’s most popular series. Harry Bosch is a war veteran and a hard-nosed LAPD detective (that is, before he retires). He’s had a rough life and a tough career, but he always goes after justice no matter what. With 20 books and counting, it’s a beloved and lengthy series—and if that’s not enough, there are five seasons of the “Bosch” TV show adaptation starring Titus Welliver for your to watch. It sounds like a lot, I know—a lot of awesome. Pick your poison and follow Bosch through the ups and downs of his career and personal life.
Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch Books in Order:
In the first book in the series, we meet LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch. He was previously in the army and served in the Vietnam war. After an honorable discharge, Bosch joins the LAPD. In The Black Echo, a body is found in a drainpipe. But this isn’t just another case for Bosch. He knows the guy. His name is Billy Meadows, and he served with Bosch in Vietnam. Bosch takes the case, and it turns out to be more than it seems. Seeing a possible connection to a bank robbery, Bosch teams up with the FBI. This case will bring Bosch’s mind back to Vietnam and will make him call on all his survival instincts.
A narcotics officer is found dead in a motel room with a suicide note in his pocket. Detective Harry Bosch isn’t so sure that’s the case. The officer was looking into a drug-related killing in the city when he was killed. As Bosch digs in, he starts making connections that put him in danger. As he uncovers more, it becomes clear that this isn’t a lone incident—it might have roots in organized crime that go beyond LA. Now that Bosch is on the trail, is he going to be the next target?
The Dollmaker is the moniker for a serial killer Harry Bosch shot and killed. He was doing his job and protecting the city, finally giving LA room to breathe. Soon, however, the wife of the man Bosch shot and killed fills a lawsuit against the LAPD for wrongful death. Bosch had been so sure he had the right guy… but did he? Another victim is found bearing the marks of The Dollmaker’s signature, and Bosch has to face a horrible reality. Now he’s on the hunt again. Can Bosch stop the killer before it’s too late?
At the beginning of The Last Coyote, things aren’t going so well for Harry Bosch. He’s single, has lost his home, and is drowning in the bottle. To top it off, he has also been suspended from the force indefinitely. He doesn’t want to get the psychiatric evaluation the LAPD requires. But when he gives in, he realizes that it was the right thing to do. There’s something at the heart of his problems that he has to deal with: the murder of his mother. He reopens the cold case from thirty years ago and begins investigating what happened—and how her case was mishandled.
The first case Bosch handles after his suspension appears to be a mafia hit. The victim was a Hollywood producer found in the trunk of a car. As Bosch looks into the case, he finds himself in Las Vegas with the crime looking more and more like it was indeed done by the mafia. The deeper he digs, the more he thinks things aren’t quite what they seem. Just when he thinks he has a handle on the case, something else comes up. Soon, his investigation takes a turn that puts him at odds with his superiors and in danger.
When the body of Howard Elias is found, every police officer hopes they don’t get put on the case. Why? Because Elias was a high-profile black lawyer specializing in cases of racism and police brutality. He was murdered right before he was to go to trial, suing the LAPD on behalf of Michael Harris. Harris was charged and acquitted of crimes against a child, but many in the LAPD think he’s guilty. With these circumstances surrounding Elias’s death, pretty much everyone in the LAPD is a suspect. And, of course, Harry Bosch is given the lead in this minefield of a murder case.
Bosch is the lead detective in the high-profile murder case of a Hollywood actress. She was killed by a film director during an intimate encounter. The director, however, tried to stage it as a suicide. While Bosch is investigating and being a star witness in the trial, former FBI agent Terry McCaleb comes out of retirement to work a second case. Soon, both cases seem to be related and McCaleb and Bosch find themselves at odds.
Bosch gets a call on New Year’s Day that piques his interest. Apparently, a dog has found a bone, and that bone appears to be human. The investigation brings Bosch to a shallow grave that has been there for more than twenty years. Although the case is cold, Bosch is like a dog with a bone (get it?) and keeps digging. His investigation also puts him in the path of Julia Brasher, an intriguing rookie cop.
Harry Bosch is fed up. The LAPD isn’t quite the bastion of justice he thought it was. He retires but doesn’t seem to be able to hack civilian life. When he left the force, he didn’t leave empty-handed—he brought a case file with him. Four years ago, a production assistant was murdered on set during a robbery. After the onset of the war on terror, the LAPD is more concerned with where the money went—was it used to fund terrorist operations? Bosch can’t give it up though. He wants to get justice for the forgotten murder victim whether he’s a detective or not. Bosch’s unofficial investigation puts him at odds with law enforcement, but he’s determined to solve the case.
The Narrows is the sequel to The Poet, the first book in Connelly’s Jack McEvoy series. Year ago, FBI agent Rachel Walling was part of the investigative team hunting down the serial killer The Poet. She’s recently been given news she hoped to never hear: he’s back. Meanwhile, retired detective Harry Bosch is looking into the death of an old friend (unofficially, of course). At first, everything seems to be on the up and up, but Bosch wants to make sure. The dead man, you see, had ties to The Poet investigation. Bosch and Walling work together to catch a devious serial killer. Even if it puts them in danger and in conflict with the FBI.
Three years after leaving, Harry Bosch returns to the LAPD. Things are not the same as he left them. A new chief has been brought in from New York, and Bosch gets assigned to the cold case unit. They call the detectives in this unit, the Open-Unsolved Unit, the closers. Harry and his old partner Kiz are assigned to a politically fraught case. DNA links a known white supremacist to a murder from 1988—that of Rebecca, a sixteen-year-old biracial girl.
In 1993, Bosch worked the case of Marie Gesto, a woman who went missing. Due to the circumstances, the case was sent to the homicide unit. Marie was never found, and Bosch never solved the case. Now in the cold case unit, Bosch is once again looking for the killer when a man charged with multiple murders confesses to avoid the death penalty. Bosch must take his confession and investigate. Did he and his partner miss something back in the day that could have stopped the murders that followed?
Bosch is back working in homicide as a part of the Special Homicide Squad. His first case is the murder of a doctor with access to cesium, a radioactive substance. And a large amount of cesium went missing around the time of his murder...This leads Bosch to suspect that the perpetrator(s) has a terrorist agenda. With the clock ticking and federal agents on his tail, Bosch has to get to the bottom of the case before it’s too late.
Bosch is assigned to investigate the death of a Chinese businessman in south LA. Soon, Bosch, along with the Asian Crime Unit, finds a compelling suspect. As Bosch gets closer to the suspect, a member of a Hong Kong triad, he gets a call from Hong Kong. Why? Because his daughter and her mother live there—and his daughter is missing. Immediately Bosch is on the way to Hong Kong. Is there a connection between Bosch’s case in LA and the disappearance of his daughter in Hong Kong?
When the lab is testing DNA, they find a match between that of a convicted rapist and evidence from a rape and murder case from 1989. The catch? That rapist was only 8 years old in 1989. Did he commit this heinous crime at such a young age, or did the lab mess up? If they did, that could put every case they’ve handled in jeopardy. Bosch investigates this case while also being assigned to another. The son of his nemesis Irvin Irving has been found dead. Did he jump from a window or was he pushed? As Bosch investigates, he discovers a previously undetected serial killer as well as a conspiracy.
In 1992, Bosch was investigating the murder of a woman—a photojournalist during the LA riots. Soon thereafter, the case was handed over to the Riot Crimes Taskforce but was never solved. Now, ballistics show that the murder wasn’t random.
Ten years after a shooting, a man dies from complications of the bullet still lodged in his spine. These are rather strange circumstances for a cold case. Bosch and a promising rookie are put on the case. As they investigate, they find a connection between the shooting and the deaths of several children in a fire twenty years before.
Bosch has retired from the LAPD, but his half-brother needs his help. There is a lot of evidence against Mickey Haller’s client, but Mickey is convinced he was set up. Bosch is less convinced but takes the case anyway. He secretly enlists the help of friends inside the LAPD and puts himself in danger.
Harry Bosch is now a homicide detective turned private eye. He’s very picky about his clients and doesn’t advertise, but soon, a wealthy recluse requests his help. This man fell in love long ago with a Mexican woman. When she became pregnant, she just… disappeared. All these years later, the man wants to know what happened to the woman and the child. Bosch takes the case.
Bosch may be retired, but he’s volunteering with the San Fernando police and helping them with their cold cases. When a young pharmacist is murdered and there are ties to prescription drug abuse, they call on Bosch. Meanwhile, someone Bosch put is prison is being released. He claims Bosch framed him, and apparently, he has evidence. After the way things ended, the LAPD isn’t too keen on helping Bosch. He has to clear his name and reputation on his own, all the while working this other case.
One night, Bosch is going through LAPD files on a cold case. As he’s retired, he’s not really supposed to be doing this. Detective Renée Ballard catches him and makes him leave. Curious, she checks out the file he was looking at. It is the cold case of a fifteen-year-old girl who was murdered and left in a dumpster. Feeling compelled to find justice for this girl, Ballard reaches out to Bosch and they work the case together.
Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective, he had an inspiring mentor who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case. Now that mentor, John Jack Thompson, is dead, and his widow gives Bosch a murder book, one that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD twenty years before—the unsolved killing of a troubled young man.
Bosch takes the murder book to Detective Renée Ballard and asks her to help him discover what about this crime lit Thompson’s fire all those years ago. As she begins her inquiries—while still working her own cases on the midnight shift—Ballad finds aspects of the initial investigation that just don’t add up. The bond between Bosch and Ballard tightens as they become a formidable investigation team. And they soon arrive at a disturbing question: Did Thompson steal the murder book to work the case in retirement, or to make sure it never got solved?