The Black Box by Michael Connelly

black boxThe Black Box is the 25th novel by American crime author Michael Connelly, and the sixteenth novel featuring LAPD detective Harry Bosch. Believe it or not, I picked it up in my local library sale for only US$0.20! I have always enjoyed the Michael Connolly novels that I have read. Michael Connelly was born on 21 July, 1956 in Philidelphia, Pennsylvania, USA and is an American author of detective novels and other crime fiction, notably those featuring LAPD Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch. He decided to become a writer after discovering the books of Raymond Chandler while attending the University of Florida. After graduating in 1980, Connelly worked at newspapers in Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, primarily specializing in the crime beat.  In Fort Lauderdale he wrote about police and crime during the height of the murder and violence wave that rolled over South Florida during the so-called cocaine wars. Later, he worked in Los Angeles, California, and after three years on the crime beat in L.A., Connelly began writing his first novel to feature LAPD Detective Hieronymus Bosch. The novel, The Black Echo, based on a true crime that had occurred in Los Angeles, was published in 1992 and won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by the Mystery Writers of America. He has since won numerous other awards for his novels and some reviewed on this site include: The Closers,, and The Narrows,

So on a recent vacation to Colorado, USA, I took The Black Box with me. The idea of the title is that the protagonist, Harry Bosch,  believes that every case has a black box. This is a piece of evidence, a person, a fact that brought understanding and explained what had happened in the case, and why. This novel spans many years and links two cases that Harry worked on.

The first case dated from 1992. Police officers who had savagely beaten Rodney King, were acquitted and rioting broke out in Los Angeles. Looting and random violence where the order of the day. Most of the police officers were busy trying to regain control of the city, Harry Bosch and his partner were being driven from murder victim to murder victim in order to get as much evidence as they could before the bodies were removed because the michael connellyinvestigations had to be postponed to a later date.

One of those bodies belonged to a young, female, Danish journalist nick-named Snow White. She was killed, execution style. Harry retrieved a bullet casing from the scene but the case was never solved.

Twenty years later, Bosch reopened the case in the hope of getting justice for the young woman who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. New ballistic evidence is available to him and it looks as if Bosch has a real chance of getting answers for the journalist’s family. However, the evidence piles up and Bosch discovers the shameful reasons about the journalist and why she was in L.A. at the time, his investigation takes an unexpected and terrifying turn and Bosch finds himself at odds with his superiors too. (No real surprise there!). Although most of this book deals with the old murder and the present day investigations we also get glimpses of Bosch’ private life. This is interesting and makes him more human.

I really enjoyed The Black Box and the twists and turns the story took across the years. If you enjoy crime thrillers, I highly recommend this book.

Valerie Penny


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