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22 November 2012

Michael Connelly: The Black Box

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Bloodhound Bosch is still the best
After so many Harry Bosch stories you would think they should start to run out of steam - IMHO this is not so. Michael Connelly is a consummate author who can keep a great character running and evolving and continue to produce a top-class page-turning police procedural.

In the last book, after a short retirement Harry Bosch returned to the LAPD with  a 5 year contract under the Deferred Retirement Option Plan - "The DROP".  He now works with the Open Unsolved Unit chasing up cold cases. In 1999, at the height of the LA Riots, Bosch briefly gets involved with the discovery of the gunshot death of  a pretty female free-lance Danish press photographer who was apparently killed as part of the riot.  This case had always troubled Bosch and he gladly accepts the challenge although after all that time the trail has gone cold.

Bosch is an impatient detective - to him momentum is everything. Once he is on the trail he is a bloodhound who never lets up until he finds a break. He calls this "The Black Box" because, similar to air crash investigation a single verified clue may open up the whole case. After diligent and clever police work Bosch finds his Black Box and discovers a web of intrigue and violence going back to the first Gulf War.

Working the case in his normal independent manner is not helped by his a strained relationship with and lack of respect for the competence of his superiors at LAPD, especially his current Lieutenant (O'Toole - nickname "O'Fool").  "You are the worst kind of police officer, Bosch. You are arrogant, a bully, and you think the laws and regulations don't apply to you." O'Toole refers Bosch to Internal Affairs on what seems to be a petty matter, but it is important because it affects the way Bosch can run the investigation and if the complaint is upheld he could easily lose his job because he is on a DROP contract.

Connelly keeps up the pressure and spins an exciting tale of skilled police investigation by a dedicated, independent but somewhat personally flawed Harry Bosch. I recommend this book as a great read for lovers of police procedurals.

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