Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Black Box, by Michael Connelly (hardcover, $27.99) (due 11/27/12)

This is the latest episode in the life of Harry "My-Way-or-the-Highway" Bosch, LAPD cold case consultant.

This book is one chapter after another of Harry trying to sabotage his life. Things going too well with his teenage daughter, Maddy? Say something stupid, then run off and leave her with the strange girlfriend. Things going well with the aforementioned strange girlfriend? Visit her incarcerated son and monkeywrench the relationship. Higher-ups ask you to hold off for just a little while on solving a two-decades-old case so there's no repeat of the L.A. riots of 1992? Flare up and declare nothing is more important than solving the cold case right now -- yesterday, even.

Harry, I say this with love, you're a diva.

Danish journalist Anneke Jespersen's body was found in an alleyway in the midst of rubble and chaos during the riots in L.A. Because LAPD was stretched beyond the beyond, the case was not given the time and energy it deserved. Twenty years later, the case lands on Harry's desk. Here is a chance to redeem himself and avenge Anneke, because Harry was the homicide detective who was first on the scene. She was dubbed "Snow White" by Harry's partner. A white woman murdered in the middle of black, riot-torn Watts. Now he romantically (in a platonic way) vows to find her murderer, even though there are scant clues.

What IS admirable about "The Black Box" is what is always admirable about Michael Connelly's books. His mysteries are good, solid stories with clever touches. He is readable even if Bosch is bosh. How does he do that?

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