Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review: The Black Box by Michael Connelly

I should have posted this review months ago, but I'm still way behind in my review postings.  I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel though - not working has given me a good opportunity to catch up.  

This book is the eighteenth installment of Connelly's Harry Bosch series.  Bosch is a hard-boiled detective in Los Angeles.  In this book, he investigates a cold case that he first encountered during the riots of 1992.  It was passed off to a Riot Crimes Task Force, but Bosch suspects that the journalist's murder wasn't a part of the riots, but has deeper links to the US Military.  

I'm going to be honest here, I wasn't all that impressed.  I just didn't relate to Harry Bosch at all.  He seemed like the typical, stock detective with some unresolved personal problems who doesn't always play by the rules.  If you've seen Law and Order or read any other detective novel, you've read Harry Bosch.  

Entertainment Value
Again, I just wasn't feeling it.  In fairness, this could be the result of jumping into the middle of series.  I just didn't care about the crime, the victim, or even Bosch.  He has an interesting relationship with his daughter, but it wasn't described deeply enough to make me truly care about him.  Again, were I reading this book as the eighteenth in a series, I might feel differently.

I enjoyed the book club discussion with Connelly a lot.  He had a lot of insight as a writer and seemed to genuinely be interested in what his readers want.  I really admired that.  I think my obsession with reading books in order may have caused some of my issues with this book.  I didn't connect with the story or any of the characters, and I strongly felt like I was jumping in the middle of a story I didn't know the beginning to.  

I think, from the little I know of the hard-boiled detective genre, that Connelly is one of the best.  I think if you're a fan of the genre (and I'm not), this is an important series to read and be familiar with. But if you're not already a fan of the genre or of the series, I don't recommend jumping in with this one.

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