If you grade a novel by how fast you read it, then Michael Connelly’s “The Black Box” gets a double A+ from me. I finished it less than 24 hours after page one, in just two sessions. It is a spectacular read in all aspects.
No writer is better at propelling a story than Connelly, and “The Black Box” is no exception. Once there is take off, the velocity
commences at a steady pace…it neither falters, nor careens out-of-control on its journey.
Just when think there is going to be a pause in the action, Connelly drops another nugget of info, evidence, action or theory---and you are reading in a higher gear.
I think Connelly is the best at hiding the most meaningful clues in plain sight. The answers are always there, if you are clever or lucky enough to spot them prior to the dénouement.
There is never a deus ex machina employed. When the puzzle is solved, all the pieces fit neatly together.
In “The Black Box,” Harry Bosch is working on a 20 year old cold case in the Open Unsolved squad.
Danish photojournalist, Anneke Jespersen was murdered execution style during the 1992 LA riots. Harry and his partner Jerry Edgar were the detectives called to the scene.
With all the homicides committed during the riots, Harry and Jerry were dispatched to another killing after a too short time on the Jespersen murder scene…leaving lots of business unfinished.
Fast-forward 20 years to 2012. The LAPD brass bring out the cold cases from the riots, hoping to gain some positive PR on their 20th anniversary. Harry volunteers to take on the Jespersen case.
With little physical evidence in the 1992 murder book, Harry uses hunches, Internet searches and old-fashioned police work to form a base.
Once the foundation is established, additional piece are uncovered and the dominos begin to fall.
“The Black Box” moves at an incredible pace. After reading a couple of new books, I will reread “The Black Box” at a slower pace in order to savor the work of a master and enjoy all the subtleness and nuances of the finest crime novelist extant.