The Black Box by Michael Connelly

The Black BoxReviewed by Allen Hott

Detective Harry Bosch of the LAPD is one of Michael Connelly’s favorite characters. It is amazing to me how every time I read a Connelly/Bosch book I picture Fred Dryer as Harry Bosch in my mind. Dryer was a professional football player who went on to become a very well-known and skilled actor. One of his shows in the 80s was “Hunter” in which he played a character similar to Harry Bosch. Thus the association I assume.

In The Black Box Connelly begins with Bosch working the LA riots of 1992. And in so doing Bosch comes across a very pretty blonde girl lying dead in an alley in the heart of the riot area. Somewhat stunned by the appearance of a white girl in this area Bosch checks her body for identification and finds a press pass issued to Anneke Jespersen. Bosch tries to do some investigating but the entire area was quickly cleared by the National Guard as they moved forward trying to stop the rioting. Bosch was able to keep a shell casing that he found along with some pictures that he quickly took.

Twenty years later with the girl’s body still framed in his mind Bosch while working gets assigned to her murder as an Unsolved Case. And this is something he has dreamed about. He felt as if he had not done his job years ago so this will be atonement.

In the interim he has found that Anneke has a brother in Copenhagen who is very interested in finding the killer. This was all the added incentive that Bosch needed to put all of his efforts into finding whomever that happened to be. He does it with some risk to his own career as his supervisor tries everything that he can to make Bosch quit pursuing “an old forgotten crime.” Since Bosch is in a special “retired” mode if anything negative goes against him he will be retired.

As is the norm for Connelly and other mystery writers more and more subplots are added to the mix. A visit by Bosch to prison to get some information on the case builds into a different look at the whole case and at Bosch himself. Bosch then discovers that there are some ties between some of the National Guard that was in force during the riots and his case. This sidetrack becomes extremely important and right when his supervisor has turned Bosch in for possible malfeasance of his position.

The Black Box is worked cleverly into the story several times by Connelly and it is shown that it can have several meanings. Just a great story overall that not only Connelly/Bosch fans will enjoy but so will all other readers of mysteries!

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