Top positive review
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"There were questions to be answered."
on November 24, 2012
In 1992, Detective Harry Bosch and his partner, Jerry Edgar, were on emergency rotation during the infamous Los Angeles riots, and were "dispatched to any place they were needed--wherever a body turned up." Fires, looting, and gang violence transformed L. A. into a war zone, with "all semblance of dignity and moral code gone in the smoke that rose over the city." In order to deal with a tidal wave of looting, revenge killings, and scores of other incidents, the police had to cut corners. "In the chaos of the moment the mission was simple: preserve the evidence, document the scene as best and as fast as possible, and collect the dead."
Bosch and Edgar roll up to an alley near Crenshaw Boulevard, where a thirty-two year old Danish photojournalist had been shot in the head at close range. The deceased is Anneke Jespersen, whom Edgar nicknames "Snow White." Bosch finds a 9mm shell casing at the scene but little else, and for twenty years, Jespersen's murder remains unsolved. In 2012, Harry takes another look, knowing that finding Jespersen's killer after so much time has elapsed is, at best, a long shot.
"The Black Box" is vintage Connelly, and Bosch is as stubborn and relentless as ever. He ignores his superiors when they try to derail him and pursues every lead, no matter how small, with a laser-like focus. Harry visits San Quentin to interview a gangbanger; traces an intriguing phone call that was placed ten years after Anneke's death; and asks for help from anyone who may be able to shed light on his case. With a bit of luck and solid detective work, he manages to narrow down his list of suspects to a few individuals who may have been responsible for a vicious crime and cover-up. Although he is a cop first and foremost, Harry is also a devoted dad (his sixteen-year-old daughter, Maddie, is precocious and a chip off the old block), and he continues his warm but unresolved relationship with Hannah Stone.
The plot is involving and, for the most part, realistic. Connelly's dialogue and prose are, as always, forceful, brisk, and fast-paced. Bosch works tirelessly to move his investigation forward, but when he hits a dead end, he never considers quitting in frustration. He merely looks at things from a fresh angle and relies on his famous gut instinct to steer him in the right direction. Although his job is exasperating, tedious, and frequently nerve-wracking, when Harry nails a villain, he is elated. At an age when most of his peers have "pulled the pin" and retired to a life of ease, Harry refuses to part ways with the LAPD; he has signed a contract under the Deferred Retirement Option Plan. Bosch is still driven to fix what is broken in a criminal justice system that is too often criminally unjust.