Cover image of "Nine Dragons" by Michael Connelly, a story about human trafficking and murder

Michael Connelly‘s hero-cop, Harry Bosch, wends his way through a deeply personal crisis in this fast-moving story about human trafficking and murder. The tale speeds at a blistering pace from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and back. In pursuing his suspect in the murder of a South Los Angeles liquor store owner, a Chinese immigrant, Harry follows the trail of the suspect’s triad affiliation across the Pacific—only to find that his 13-year-old daughter, Maddie, has been abducted, almost certainly by the triad. And the story grows more complicated from that point on, as Harry flies to Hong Kong to rush through a “39-hour day” searching for his daughter.

A revealing story about human trafficking

Connolly’s Harry Bosch novels stand out from the usual run of hard-boiled detective stories for the depth of his hero’s feelings that come to light in his ongoing inner dialogue. As Connolly writes in a “bonus” commentary on the Kindle Edition, “Nine Dragons is about Harry and his daughter. It’s about his hopes for her, his guilt over his poor performance as a father, and most of all it is about his vulnerability as a father.”

Nine Dragons (Harry Bosch #14) by Michael Connelly (2009) 278 pages ★★★★☆

Photo of a poor neighborhood in Hong Kong, like the setting for this story about human trafficking and murder
Where the other half lives in Hong Kong, like the neighborhood Harry visits in this novel. Image: SDG Knowledge Hub

An unusual and exotic setting for Harry Bosch

Nine Dragons comes to life most vividly during Harry’s weekend stay in Hong Kong, far from his usual haunts not just geographically but also culturally. There, Connolly’s research yields a fascinating look at the city’s poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods, and at the triads that dominate life there. As you may be aware, triads are secret Chinese associations with political roots hundreds of years in China’s past. Today, the triads are criminal organizations often engaged in extortion, smuggling, human trafficking, drugs, and though still based in China, they are active in many countries around the world.

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