The Black Box by Michael Connelly

The Black Box by Michael Connelly

May 1992, and after four LAPD officers were acquitted after the savage beating of Rodney King, Los Angeles is ablaze. As looting and burning take over the city, law and order are swept away in a tidal wave of violence. But under threat of their lives, homicide detectives like Harry Bosch are still stubbornly trying to do their job. With no effective police presence on the streets, murder just got a whole lot easier – and investigating them got a whole lot harder.

Escorted by national guard soldiers from murder scene to murder scene, Harry and his colleagues are only able to do the bare minimum in terms of collecting evidence. And for Harry that’s not enough.

When he finds the body of a female journalist executed in an alley, he cannot accept that he will never be able to bring her killer to justice, and her tragedy starts to eat into his soul. But then, twenty years later, Harry finds himself working in the Open Unsolved Unit, and suddenly the past comes back to haunt him once again, in a way he could never have imagined.

Michael Connelly is and accomplished craftsman, a genius wordsmith and a spectacular storyteller. The Black Box is a fast flowing thriller with an imaginative storyline that thrills from beginning to end; a veritable page turner there’s no question Connelly knows what and how to deliver.

When we first meet Harry Bosch we are transported back to Los Angeles, smack in the middle of the 1992 riots. What Connelly does here, in the space of a few pages, is allow the reader to truly feel part of the riots, the carnage, the murders and the unrest as the authorities attempt to stem the flow of lootings and crime. Bosch is called in to investigate a murder – that of Danish photojournalist    Anneke Jesperson – but he’s only given a few minutes to secure and investigate the scene before he has to respond to another death. It’s not enough time and he has no option but to move on and put the murder behind him.

It’s in my policy

Move forward to present day, twenty years on, and Bosch is working the cold cases. He takes a second look at the Jesperson murder with the help of his team of detectives, determined this time round to give her family some closure. Things don’t always run smoothly for our intrepid detective and between an officious boss, his girlfriend and a daughter who brings out the best of Bosch there’s never a quiet moment.

I particularly enjoyed how Connelly moved from scene to scene, effortlessly, allowing our protagonist to tell his story and detect. I really felt as if the author really had a handle on the crime and how it would be solved. There appeared to be no guesswork or easy get out in this story, the investigation was exemplary and imaginative and I thoroughly enjoyed how Bosch moved from witness to witness seizing on the smallest of clues to advance his investigation.

My only regret is that The Black Box is only the second Harry Bosch book I’ve read, I will definitely have to make more time to take a look at Connelly’s back catalogue. On the strength of this, his latest thriller, and the last book I read – The Reversal – I’m certainly missing out! Highly recommended for a fast and entertaining thriller.

The Black Box is available from Amazon in Hardback and Kindle Formats.

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (22 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409134318
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409134312
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