The Black Box by Michael Connelly
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Cannonball Read V: The Black Box by Michael Connelly

By Lady Cordelia | Book Reviews | February 11, 2013 | Comments ()


The Black Box is the eighteenth novel in Connelly's Harry Bosch series. Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch, a veteran detective with the LAPD's elite Robbery/Homicide division, is a fairly stock standard character. Unusual name aside, he bears the marks of a typical police procedural lead character - broken relationships, problems with authority, a tenuous relationship with his daughter and a strong instinctive ability to make connections in his cases that lesser detectives would not.

This story starts in 1992, during the height of the LA riots. Bosch was part of a roving homicide team, moving from one crime scene to the next under armed protection to perform whatever cursory investigation was possible at the time. Bosch has been particularly haunted by one case ever since; a photojournalist from Denmark, Anneke Jespersen, who was found shot dead in an alley. Now, as part of a twentieth anniversary push to clear unsolved cases from the time, Bosch reopens the investigation. Starting with a handgun that was found at the scene, Bosch attempts to find "the black box", a metaphor for the one piece of information that will bring everything together and make sense of the case.

I really enjoyed the early novels in the Bosch series, and would recommend them to anyone in search of a solid, well-written police procedural. However, this book left me somewhat cold. The deus ex machina presented early on makes me think that the criminals involved must have never seen a police drama in their lives, and this rankled me for the whole story. There was also a rather odd emphasis given to Harry's teenage daughter wanting to follow his footsteps, which rather makes me think Connelly will soon be turning his attention to her progress as a rookie, thus allowing Harry to retire.

The next installment for Harry Bosch will be published later this year, The Gods of Guilt, which will also feature another Connelly character - Mickey Haller from The Lincoln Lawyer.

Yours truly, Lady Cordelia

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read V. Read all about it, and find more of Lady Cordelia's reviews on the group blog.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)

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  • Semilitterate

    I just don't know where to start here. Perhaps it's just the feeling that my own personal ox has been gored here. Mr Connelly & Harry Bosch are the best in the procedural game.Since the demise of R B Parker, Connelly is the cream of the "hard boiled" school of detective tales. Sure, Harry is flawed (it's in the rules). His bosses dislike him and the feeling is mutual (also in the rules) and both sides have valid reasons for their mindset. So his daughter wants to follow in his footsteps, what's wrong with that? He has already retired at least once and been suspended countless times, but he's like a Timex. I agree that the earlier novels in this series are marginally better, but how many others have completely petered out long before they got to the 18nth iteration? Keep them coming Mr Connelly, I for one, remain a staunch fan.

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