Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: The Black Box

Summary: In a case that spans 20 years, Harry Bosch links the bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a young female photographer during the L.A. riots. Harry originally investigated the murder, but it was then handed off to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved.

Now Bosch's ballistics match indicates that her death was not random violence, but something more personal, and connected to a deeper intrigue. Like an investigator combing through the wreckage after a plane crash, Bosch searches for the "black box," the one piece of evidence that will pull the case together.

Riveting and relentlessly paced, THE BLACK BOX leads Harry Bosch, "one of the greats of crime fiction" (New York Daily News), into one of his most fraught and perilous cases. -- Little, Brown

If you are a frequent visitor to my blog, then you already know that I'm a huge fan of Michael Connelly. In fact, I pretty much adore all his novels, especially his Harry Bosch ones; and I couldn't wait to read his latest 
THE BLACK BOX. This novel is the eighteenth book in this series (and his 25th book overall), and I can say that he just keeps getting better and better.

I thought THE BLACK BOX was superb and it very well might go down as one of my favorite Harry Bosch books yet. (While I always enjoy Mr. Connelly's books, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that some are definitely better than others.) For fear that you might think I'm biased because I do have a major author crush on Mr. Connelly, I want to share with you some of the other praise that this book is generating. It's already received a Starred Review from Publishers' Weekly and Booklist; and it's been named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2012.

THE BLACK BOX is about Harry Bosch's persistent attempts to solve a twenty year old murder case. During the riots that followed the Rodney King verdict back in 1992, a young female photojournalist was murdered. Bosch was originally assigned to the case; however, it fell under the jurisdiction of the overwhelmed Riot Crimes Task Force and was never solved.

Bosch is now working on solving cold cases for the L.A. Police Department, and he once again begins to investigate this murder. He suspects that the journalist's death wasn't random, and the ballistics report indicates that he might be onto something. He digs deeper, searching for something that will give him some answers -- i.e. the "black box;" and he eventually discovers a web of lies and deceit that have been kept secret for over two decades.

THE BLACK BOX epitomized everything I've come to love about the Harry Bosch books. It goes without saying that Mr. Connelly can weave a fantastic police procedural, and THE BLACK BOX did have a wonderful murder mystery. However, this novel also did a great job in continuing to show Harry's personal story, namely his growth as a police officer and a father.

I'm pretty sure that I've read every Harry Bosch book, and Bosch is definitely one of my favorite characters in any crime series. I've loved the complexity of his character, especially the trials and tribulations that he's faced through the years, but this novel really demonstrated just how much Harry has changed since discovering his daughter. I thought the character development in both Bosch and his sixteen year old daughter Madeline was outstanding, and I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions with each other. I have a feeling that Madeline is a chip off the old block in both her stubbornness as well as her perceptiveness.

While I do love Bosch's character, I mainly read these novels because I love how well Mr. Connelly constructs a mystery. And I can say that THE BLACK BOX didn't disappoint. I appreciate that Bosch is currently working to solve cold cases, and my interest was definitely piqued with the twenty year old murder mystery of a female photojournalist. I liked how the murder was seemingly tied to the L.A. riots because I found the author's descriptions of the mayhem to be fascinating. But at the same time, I appreciated how Bosch persistently tracked down the culprit(s), step-by-step, with only a small clue here and there.

I also found THE BLACK BOX to be fairly suspenseful. I thought the side story of the investigation into Bosch's questionable behavior was a interesting, and I admit that I was worried that Bosch might once again find himself in trouble with the brass. (At this point, I'm just not quite sure what more Mr. Connelly will do with this character.) However, Bosch's personal investigation into the twenty year old murder also proved to be pretty darn suspenseful in a more traditional way. Bosch found himself seriously at risk, and while I didn't think the author would kill him off, I was a little nervous!

Overall, I think THE BLACK BOX is one of Mr. Connelly's best Harry Bosch books; and obviously, I think everyone should read not only this book, but all of the books in this series.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

I love Connelly too - Bosch is a fantastic character. This book sounds outstanding!

Serena said...

I guess I am reading the wrong Connelly books...I should be reading Bosch

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Great to hear it's one of the best - that means I will definitely look for it!

Beth Hoffman said...

This is going on my list immediately. Terrific review, Julie!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I've read quite a few Harry books and lately they have fallen flat for me. I realize that sometimes these series get in slumps and I am forgiving usually. I'm thrilled to hear this one is back up to speed. I also am drawn to the installments where there is some sort of backstory. Love the backstories.