The Black Box
Author: Michael Connelly
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: November 26, 2012
Pages: 316 (Nook Edition)
I need to preface this review with a statement of fact. I am an unabashed Michael Connelly fan. I have read all of the books (many twice) and have enjoyed them all. Connelly has taken the place of the late Ed McBain/Evan Hunter on my reading preference list: each new novel is a must-read.
The Black Box does not disappoint. This is the 18th novel featuring Detective Harry Bosch. Bosch is near retirment and works in the LAPD unsolved crime unit. He is drawn to a twenty year old murder of an investigative photo-journalist, a crime he initially helped investigate. The murder occurred during the Rodney King riots in 1992 and was never solved.
Bosch uses instinct and dogged determinism to scrape together new evidence. He uses a freak coincidence (shell casings from a seemingly unrelated case match those found at the scene of the 1992 murder) and "follows the gun" on a circuitous journey to unmask the unlikely perpetrators. Connelly's novels have many strengths, not the least of which is his knowledge of and masterful depiction of Los Angeles. This novel, though, highlights this writer's ability to craft a plot which is at once complicated, unpredictable and plausible. His character development is also a real asset and in The Black Box he even creates a vivid and likable victim twenty years dead without using corny flashbacks or other jaded literary devices. Bosch's personal life injects itself into the story and long-time readers will enjoy watching Bosch attempt to single parent a teen-aged girl. There's also the usual but amusing clash with authority which seems to always find the independent thinking Harry Bosch.
This is a great book. It is entertaining and challenging from page one and unpredictable until the very end. If you've never read a Harry Bosch novel before, this is as good a place to start as any, but do yourself a favor. Go back and start with The Black Echo (Harry Bosch #1) and read them all!