It’s a Mystery: The Black Box, by Michael Connelly

The Black Box

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On the cusp of retirement – yet again – Harry Bosch has been assigned to the cold case unit. This time, the team is trying to solve cases that occurred during the bedlam of the LA/Rodney King riots two decades ago. One of the unsolved murders that he’s never forgotten is that of an attractive Danish journalist, Anneke Jesperson, who was shot at point blank range in dark alley. His superiors don’t want him to reopen that one for racial and political reasons – Anneke (dubbed “Snow White” by some of the cops) was the single white death among a sea of African American ones, and they don’t want to create the impression that her case is being given preferential treatment. But, Harry being Harry, he grabs onto it like a German shepherd with a soup bone, starting from square one using techie tools that were never available at the time.

As a police procedural, The Black Box is engrossing. For readers who have followed Harry’s exploits through seventeen previous novels, what is equally interesting is learning where he is personally, through his relationships with his teenaged daughter and the woman in his life, and ethically, now that he’s lived long enough to exert some control over that impulsiveness that always lands him in hot water. He’s a man whose credo is “Everybody counts or nobody counts”, which is what makes him such a good detective. But he’s sick of the injustice that pervades the system, and is mightily tempted to take justice into his own hands. The author is a master at putting us inside Harry’s head, and that’s what makes these books worthwhile.


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