The Black Box

By Michael Connelly

Two crimes — separated by 20 years — collide when Los Angles Police Detective Harry Bosch is able to link a bullet from a recent crime to one on file from the 1992 killing of a Danish photojournalist, Anneke Jesperson.

Bosch was called to a burned out building where the Jesperson was found by a team of National Guardsmen during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. But in the chaos of the riot, he and his partner could do little more than the basic before being called to the next murder in a night of flames.

Blocked by time, departmental politics, scattered witnesses, and a shameful secret Jesperson set out to avenge, Bosch relentlessly sifts the evidence, uncovering a web that stretches from the Gulf War to that fateful night of the riots.

The Black Box refers to the flight recorder boxes that help investigators understand why planes crash. For Bosch, the black box is the clue that cracks a case wide open.

This is vintage Connelly. Bosch is a dependable character who does not disappoint and the plot keeps you guessing until the end of the book.

The Author: Michael Connelly (1956- )

Connelly’s interest in crime and investigation was sparked when at the age of 16, coming home from his job as a hotel dishwasher, he witnessed a man throw something off a bridge.

Curious, he went to see what it was and discovered a gun wrapped in a lumberjack shirt. Leaving the gun there, he followed the man to a bar and later brought police there. The man was never captured, but Connolly’s interest in crime was.

He became a crime beat reporter at the Daytona Beach News Journal after graduating from college. He moved on to the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel and covered crime during the south Florida cocaine wars. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for a story he and two other reporters worked on about the survivors of the 1985 Delta Flight 191 crash.

He was hired by the Los Angeles Times in 1987.

His first published novel, The Black Echo, won the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for best first novel. He wrote three more novels before leaving the Los Angeles Times to write novels full-time. Connolly has written two series — the Harry Bosch  and the Mickey Haller mysteries — and has several characters who reappear or are featured in stand-alone books.

Returning characters are FBI Agent Rachael Walling; crime reporter Jack McEvoy: retired FBI honcho Terry McCaleb: and Cassie Black.

Born Hieronymus Bosch in 1950 in Los Angeles to a mother who was a prostitute, Bosch was left an orphan at the age of 11 when his mother was murdered.  He grew up in a youth hall and various foster homes before joining the Army and doing two tours in Vietnam. He joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1972 and became a detective five years later.

The books in Harry Bosch series (in published order) are:

  • The Black Echo (1992)
  • The Black Ice (1993)
  • The Concrete Blonde (1994)
  • The Last Coyote (1995)
  • Trunk Music (1997)
  • Angels Flight (1999)
  • A Darkness More Than Night (2001). (Terry McCaleb and Jack McEvoy appear in this book.)
  • City of Bones (2002)
  • Lost Light (2003)
  • The Narrows (2004). (Rachel Walling, Terry McCaleb and Cassie Black appear in this book; Cassie has only a small part and uses an alias.)
  • The Closers (2005)
  • Echo Park (2006). (Rachel Walling appears in this book.)
  • The Overlook (2007). (Rachel Walling appears in this book.)
  • The Brass Verdict (2008)
  • Nine Dragons (2009) (Mickey Haller makes a brief appearance as Bosch’s lawyer.)
  • The Reversal (2010). (Rachel Walling appears in this book.)
  • The Drop (2011)
  • The Black Box (2012). (Rachel Walling appears in this book.)
  • The Burning Room (2014). (Rachel Walling appears in this book.)

Connelly’s second series features Bosch’s half brother, criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller. (They share a father.) The son of a Mexican actress and and a famous criminal defense attorney J. Michael Haller, he was born in LA in 1965.  His father died when Mickey was five and his father’s partner, David Siegel helped raise him, got him into law school and serves as a partner in strategizing cases.

Haller spent three years working in the Public Defenders’ Office before opening his own criminal defense law practice. The books in this series in published order are:

  • The Lincoln Lawyer (2005) (This book was turned into a film starring Matthew McConaughey as Haller in 2011.)
  • The Brass Verdict (2008). (Jack McEvoy appears briefly in this book.)
  • The Reversal (2010) (Bosch serves as lead investigator in this book.)
  • The Fifth Witness (2011). (Bosch makes a one-page appearance in this book)
  • The Gods of Guilt (2013). (Bosch makes a one-page appearance in this book)
Void Moon (2000) features Cassie Black who walks away from a life of crime to win success selling Porsches to Hollywood hotshots. But she’s protecting a secret.  When that secret is threatened, she goes back to robbing casino gamblers to make money fast and head off disaster. But luck turns its back on her when she discovers that her mark is JackK arch, the man who destroyed her life six years earlier.
Blood Work (1998) features retired FBI bigwig Terry McCaleb who was forced to retire because of a heart ailment.  After a heart transplant, McCaleb lives a quiet life restoring the boat he lives on — until Graciela Rivers asks him to investigate her sister Gloria’s death. The request is impossible not to honor — Gloria’s heart is keeping McCaleb alive. A movie directed by and starring Clint Eastwood was made from this book.
The Scarecrow (2009) Crime reporter Jack McEvoy is forced to take a buy-out from the Los Angeles Times as the paper struggles with falling revenues.  He plans to go out with a bang — a last story big enough and goo enough to win a Pulitzer Prize. The focus of the story is a 16-year-old drug dealer who has confessed to brutally raping and strangling one of his clients. Jack’s investigations show that Alonzo’s confession was false.  He’s soon off and running on a story far bigger than he’d planned on.  FBI Agent Rachel Walling appears in this book.


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