“The Black Box” by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown, $27.99)
In 1992, Michael Connelly hit the ground running with his debut “The Black Echo” that introduced LAPD detective Harry Bosch. That novel won the Edgar Award for best first novel, introduced Connelly as the heir apparent to Raymond Chandler and also helped usher in a new approach to the police procedural.
Now, 20 years later, Connelly is still writing about Harry, continuing to discover new layers to this now iconic character with increasingly complex and believable plots. “The Black Box,” Connelly’s 25th novel and the 19th in the Harry Bosch series, more than proves this. Connelly is one of the best and the most consistent living crime writers.
As he has done in previous novels, Connelly mirrors contemporary issues and Los Angeles’ vagaries in “The Black Box,” which also boasts an edgy, labyrinthine plot and chronicles Harry’s role as a cop and how it has changed through the years. “The Black Box” opens in 1992, when Los Angeles is in chaos as riots pummel the city following the acquittal of the cops who beat Rodney King. (“Flames from a thousand fires reflected like the devil dancing in the dark sky.”)
But “The Black Box” is not a historical novel. Connelly quickly moves the action to 2012 where Harry now is working in the cold case squad.
“The Black Box” succinctly looks at the staggering changes in attitudes, especially toward the military, technology and Los Angeles during the past 20 years.