Connelly, Michael. The Black Box.

NY: Little, Brown, 2012.

When someone asks Detective Harry Bosch, homicide specialist with the LAPD, how long he’ll stay on the job, he replies, “As long as they’ll let me.” In any event, he’s in his sixties now and took delayed retirement so he could come back on contract and work for the cold-case squad.

And his current case, on the twentieth anniversary of the post-Rodney King riots, is a homicide that took place at that time (one of many that weekend) and on which he had actually been the first, very hurried investigator. The victim was a Danish photojournalist apparently covering the riots and who was shot execution-style in an alley. The case was never solved but Bosch is determined to do it right this time. And so, in his trademark uncompromising way, he begins picking at the thin, dusty reports, re-examining the handful of personal possessions from the property archives, hunting down those who were present twenty years ago and their associates. And as he begins to unravel the story of what happened, it takes him far afield from both L.A. and the riots.

Connelly does first-rate procedural mysteries and this one is no exception, following the cops as they try to think their way through a very cold case and skirt the edge of the law to get things to break their way. And to complicate his life, Harry also has a much younger lieutenant on his back who wants to force him into permanent retirement with an Internal Affairs complaint. Well, he’s survived a lot of those in his career, so he figures he can deal with one, too. Maybe. Also, Harry’s various personal relationships — with his partner, David Chu, with his teenage daughter, Maddie, and with his possibly-serious lady friend — have largely been shifted to the back burner this time in favor of the whodunit plotline. But it works.

Bosch has maybe four years left before he has to pack it in for good. I have a feeling we’re going to see at least a couple more books in the series before that happens. I’ll be waiting, not so patiently.

Published in: on 1 June 2013 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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