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The Black Box: A Harry Bosch Novel    by Michael Connelly Amazon.com order for
Black Box
by Michael Connelly
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Michael Connelly's Harry 'Hieronymous' Bosch has long been one of my favorite lawmen, up there with James Lee Burke's David Robichaux in New Orleans, Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus in Edinburgh, and Jo NesbÝ's Harry Hole in Oslo. They all go their own way, clash with authority, and tend to be their own worst enemies - but they get the job done.

In this eighteenth in the series (following The Drop) Harry is working in the LAPD's Open Unsolved Unit. His teen daughter Maddie lives with him and seems keen on a police career herself (their relationship and banter enrich the series). The story opens with a flashback to the death of Snow White during the 1992 LA riots. At the time, Harry was partnered with Jerry Edgar, and they were assigned to emergency rotations of homicide crime scenes in the South-Central war zone.

Called to an alley where a dead body was found, they discover the corpse of Danish photojournalist Anneke Jesperson. California National Guardsmen are already at the scene. Anneke was shot point blank and her camera taken. But before the detectives can do a proper analysis, they're called to the next murder scene. Fast forward twenty years and Harry resumes working on this now cold case - he had always felt that he had abandoned the victim. Now he's looking for a black box to break the case.

Though a match on the bullet casing that Harry found at the scene leads to the murder weapon, that only tells part of the story. Harry's boss pressures him to drop the case and unleashes the Professional Standards Bureau on him for a minor matter. Harry wonders what story the photojournalist was chasing in the U.S.. Information from Denmark reveals a connection between Anneke and the U.S. military. So Harry heads off the reservation and finally opens his black box, unleashing a storm of violence.

Michael Connelly - and his aging protagonist, Harry Bosch - remain at the top of their game in The Black Box. Highly recommended to all mystery fans, especially those who enjoy a well executed police procedural.

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