THE BLACK BOX. By Michael Connelly. Little Brown and Company. 416 pages. $27.99.
“The Black Box” opens in 1992 Los Angeles after a jury trial resulted in the acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers accused in the videotaped beating of Rodney King. There was pandemonium in the streets: rioting, looting and random violence was the order of the day.
Harry Bosch, homicide detective at the Hollywood Division, was called to a crime scene in an alley where a white female body was found. It belonged to a foreign journalist by the name of Anneke Jespersen.
Bosch found a bullet, which he assumed came from the gun that killed her. But it was a city under fire and Bosch was called away to another crime scene. The case was later assigned to the Riot Crimes Task Force, and was never solved.
Fast forward 20 years. It’s the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots and the Open-Unsolved Unit has been asked to clear some old cases. Now part of the unit, Bosch reopened the Anneke case, dubbed Snow White, in the hope of finally getting justice for the young woman and her family.
With new ballistic evidence available to him, it looks like Bosch has a real chance of getting some answers. But as the evidence piles up and Bosch discovers more about the journalist and why she was in L.A., his investigation takes an unexpected and terrifying turn.
This, of course, would not be a Harry Bosch story if he didn’t find himself at odds with the higher-ups. Here we find Bosch at his best, under pressure from his superiors, going solo, making connections others don’t see and pursuing his case with a dogged determination.
The plotting is intricate and fantastic, and one can take great pleasure in trying to figure out “whodunit” with Bosch as he pieces together the convoluted story from leads, intuition and sheer resolve.
“The Black Box” is an engaging novel and a good read for anyone who enjoys this genre.
Reviewer Jacqueline Maduneme is a tax lawyer and author of “Ada’s Daughter.”