How can Michael Connelly get better at his craft of writing! Just when you think he has reached the pinnacle of his career with a certain novel he comes along with a new one that is even better. Such is the case with The Black Box, a crime thriller that is pretty near perfection.
It isn't so much Connelly's skill as a writer of plots. Many writers can come up with a good plot in book after book. It is the intricacies that he inserts that make him the master of the crime thriller. In The Black Box, Connelly's long-suffering police investigator Harry Bosch is focusing on cold cases. He reaches back to 1992 to the death of a Danish photojournalist named Anneke Jespersen who was murdered during the LA riots that occurred after the accused assaulters of Rodney King were found not guilty.
Bosch was on the scene shortly after Jespersen's body was discovered. He got to do a basic investigation of the scene and then had to turn the case over to another crime unit. Jespersen's murder was never solved. Now Harry has reopened the case and is trying to gather together all of the elements necessary to move the case forward. Basically all he has is a bullet found at the scene, but from that Harry begins a slow assembly of clues.
While doing all of this, Harry still has to deal with parenting his sixteen-year-old daughter Maddie. He has made mistakes in the past and is now working hard at being as good a father to her as possible. He also has a new woman in his life. Her name is Helen and she is looking to move their relationship to the next level. Between his own fears and his concerns about Maddie, Harry is happy to keep things as they are.
Then there is the new Commander in Harry's unit. He is more concerned with the political fallout of any action then with whether or not it is the right thing to do. Harry has never been a political animal and does things his own way, regardless of the politics. This brings him into conflict with his upper level bosses.
Connelly spins all this with a masterful touch, giving the readers just the right amount of information to make them thoroughly enjoy the story but never being superfluous in any way. He knows his story perfectly and he knows exactly how to put it on paper. The reader comes away feeling satisfied with all elements of the story, and the information about the characters who are involved.
Michael Connelly just keeps getting it right, and that is what makes him such a popular writer. He is at the top of the mountain and is equaled only by a handful of other truly successful scribes. They may equal his talented style but none exceed his abilities.
The Black Box is published by Little, Brown and Company. It contains 403 pages and sells for $27.99.