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Saturday, 19 January 2013

‘The Black Box’ by Michael Connelly

Published by Orion,
29 November 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-4091-3431-2

Michael Connelly is well know for his Harry Bosch books, cleverly crafted and always introducing not only contemporary elements of life in Los Angeles, but also bringing in some of its more disreputable past.  This book is no exception.  In The Black Box, Bosch is investigating a 20 year old murder which happened on his watch, as he sees it.  A Dutch reporter was shot during the post Rodney King riots and Bosch wants to clear the case as it has bugged him since dropping it and moving on.

This is a slow burn book and the first few chapters are really set in play to start the story off and also to place Harry in his new department which is the cold case department.  Run by a boss more interested in politics and solve numbers than the humanity of the cases that his department is solving, Harry gets on his bad side and finds himself not only trying to solve a case embedded in historical events, but also trying to work round political routines and an internal investigation.

Whilst the first few chapters were quite slow and evenly paced the book picks up and starts to accelerate towards the end.  This means that you get more and more caught up in the narrative till it is quite hard to put the book down and do real things like work or sleep! 

Definitely a good read and with some thoughtful comments on the situation in Los Angeles in the aftermath of the riots and the political correctness which inevitably followed. Once again another Harry Bosch to keep you entertained through the dark evenings, though as with his other novels, not a comfortable read.  Absorbing and recommended.
Reviewer: Amanda Brown
Michael Connelly decided to become a writer after discovering the books of Raymond Chandler while attending the University of Florida. Once he decided on this direction he chose a major in journalism and a minor in creative writing - a curriculum in which one of his teachers was novelist Harry Crews. 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. In 1986, he and two other reporters spent several months interviewing survivors of a major airline crash. They wrote a magazine story on the crash and the survivors which was later short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. The magazine story also moved Connelly into the upper levels of journalism, landing him a job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, one of the largest papers in the country, and bringing him to the city of which his literary hero, Chandler, had written. 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 in part 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. Connelly's books have been translated in 31 languages and have won the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, Dilys, Nero, Barry, Audie, Ridley, Maltese Falcon (Japan), .38 Caliber (France), Grand Prix (France), and Premio Bancarella (Italy) awards.
Michael lives with his family in Florida.

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