A NATURALIST GOES FISHING
By James McClintock. (St. Martin's Press, 268 pages, $26.)
I'm not sure why I picked up this book, knowing little to nothing about fishing. But the subhead intrigued: "Casting in Fragile Waters From the Gulf of Mexico to New Zealand's South Island." And this was by a naturalist, no Babe Winkelman mega-angler. And mostly, the book delivers on that level.
Much as when I learned I could enjoy Patrick O'Brian's sailing series without knowing about main-topmast staysails, I could read past McClintock's references to a "one-sixteenth-ounce black rooster-tail lure with a silver spinner blade" and delve into where he was casting. People who fish will likely relish such detail, but the gist of his writing is about the environments that draw his interest, and the pressures that are putting them in danger. In some cases, this is overfishing, or an oil spill, but climate change is his main concern.
He's a marine biologist and so knows that this isn't the first such climate shift in Earth's history, making this point with a fascinating look at the evolutionary history of Antarctic toothfish, better known on menus as Chilean sea bass. The trouble, he writes, is that "for the first time in our Earth's history, polar environments are warming on a time scale measured in decades rather than millennia." I'm still not interested in fishing, and will continue to enjoy eating fish, but with more context about my choices in the matter.
By Michael Connelly. (Little, Brown, 400 pages, $28.)
In "The Crossing," retired LAPD detective Harry Bosch is asked to join the dark side — helping the defense in a capital murder case — something he vowed he'd never do. But the person doing the asking is his half-brother Mickey Haller, the "Lincoln Lawyer," and the defense research is for a man wrongly accused, or so Haller says.
With many misgivings, Bosch dives in, and he becomes convinced that the police have arrested the wrong guy. While Haller focuses on freeing the man wrongly accused, Bosch has his eyes on only one thing: finding the real killer.
"The Crossing" is another strong offering from perennial bestseller Michael Connelly. In one of the highlights early in the book, readers are given an over-the-shoulder peek at how Bosch deconstructs a "murder book" — the complete investigatory record of the crime. Further along, Bosch's internal monologue about legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully and his phrase, "The deuces are wild," and how it relates to the case are examples of how Connelley elevates the genre. In the closing pages, the author offers a taste of a possible love interest, something that longtime readers can look forward to in the next book.
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