Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

THE BLACK BOX by Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly The Black Box

Buy At Amazon The Black Box (Harry Bosch)

With my appetite whetted for Michael Connelly, I picked up the newest Harry Bosch book, The Black Box, and stepped back in time to the LA riots of 1992. Of course, Connelly was playing on the 20 year anniversary of the riots when the book came out, but he does a stellar job of covering the riots and the racial tensions without making them the focus of the book. That would have been easy to do, but Connelly is a better writer than that and works out his own riff on those troubling times.

The opening pages take the reader back to a young Harry Bosch early in his detective career with Jerry Edgars. The danger is real and heavy as Harry closes in on the body of a young woman who was discovered shot to death in an alley. He’s troubled by her there, and by the fact that no one is really going to get to pursue her murderer.

I can remember all the uncertainty of those times, though I was living in Oklahoma and not California. Images that were on the television linger just as much as the recent tornadoes we’ve had in Moore. Some things that are part of your history will always remain so. Harry’s motivation to solve that murder feel very real and true to me.

The book leaps forward twenty years and the open/unsolved case is one of those that Harry is given at a semi-annual review. His emotions about the woman’s murder are just as raw now as they were then, and he’s a much better investigator.

A chance phone call made ten years ago that was never followed up on leads Harry back into the hunt and he starts digging into the case with a fervor. With the broad scope of the novel, Connelly also sets up subplots with Harry’s present lover and his sixteen year old daughter. I’m a sucker for the father/daughter bits, and I truly loved the gun range set up he takes her on. I’ve taken my own kids to the gun range to familiarize them with pistols and rifles – mostly so they know to stay away from other kids who don’t know how to handle them.

The plot is fairly dense but I figured it out early on. All the clues are there and Connelly plays fairly with his readers. Even knowing where we were headed, I enjoyed the ride, enjoyed watching Harry peel back the layers and do everything by the book.

The Black Box is a great read, and I have to wonder where Connelly is going to take Bosch next. There are some loose ends left dangling that I want to see followed through on.


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