In a case that spans 20 years, Harry Bosch links the bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a young female photographer during the L.A. riots. Harry originally investigated the murder, but it was then handed off to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved.
Now Bosch's ballistics match indicates that her death was not random violence, but something more personal, and connected to a deeper intrigue. Like an investigator combing through the wreckage after a plane crash, Bosch searches for the "black box", the one piece of evidence that will pull the case together.
Riveting and relentlessly paced, The Black Box leads Harry Bosch, "one of the greats of crime fiction" (New York Daily News), into one of his most fraught and perilous cases.
©2012 Michael Connelly (P)2012 Hachette Audio
No, I wouldn't listen to The Black Box again as once is enough for me with the chosen narrator.
I love Harry Bosch's persistence in seeking out murderers for the sake of victims and victim's families. His fly-in-the-face of bureaucrats and politics gives him character and depth.
There's nothing new here Bosch-wise: same high-energy, straight ahead Harry we have grown to love. He's still working Open/Unsolved crimes, and picks up one that he began twenty years earlier. He didn't wrap up the earlier one because it occurred in the chaos and confusion of the LA riots that followed the Rodney King verdict in 1992. All he has to go on initially is one shell casing, but trust Harry to apply his instincts and hunches to find the killer.
Along the way he gets caught up in police politics - a white victim in the midst of all the black killings, and solving it and not the others looks bad for the chief. True to the character Connelly has created, Harry bucks the system and presses on anyway. No, not his favorite chief Irvin Irving, he's gone. This fellow's name is O'Toole, nicknamed (of course) the Tool.
The book really gets rolling when Harry strikes out on his own to confront the bad guys in their own town. Some pretty hairy scenes, though Harry doesn't get so badly mistreated as many other modern mystery heroes do. I guess that all started with Mike Hammer, and now it seems mandatory for the hero to get beat up, often pretty severely (though they seem to recover pretty quickly!)
There's a good bit of treatment of Harry's relationship with his daughter, none of which contributes to the plot. Maybe Connelly just wants to show us Harry's human side. There's little to no love interest for Harry this time, although FBI Rachel does make a cameo appearance.
Michael McConnohie does an OK job. No, he's not Len Cariou, but he's better than some of the other Harry Bosch narrators. McConnohie's narration history does include a number of factual nonfiction books, and I think he's probably better off sticking with that. McConnohie doesn't do a very good black ghetto voice. You have to pay close attention to the story to know when one of those bad guys is supposed to be talking, you won't get it from the dialect.
On the whole, though, a credit well spent.
It looks like most of the people who didn't like the audio book complained about Michael McConnohie's performance. At first I didn't like it either. It was just toooooo slow. So I decided to listen at 1.5 speed with my IPhone app and a miracle happened. At 1.5 speed Michael McConnohie sounds exactly like Bob Bailey did on the old Yours Truly Johnnie Dollar radio shows of the late 1950's and early 1960's. If you are an Old Time Radio fan, you will appreciate this.
Bob Bailey was the best radio voice around during the 1950's and 1960's and Michael McConnohie has that same rich nicotine stained baritone voice that Bailey had and most of the same expressions (only in slow motion). If McConnohie would just speed up his delivery, he could be one of the best audio book readers around. Thankfully, due to the miracle of modern computer technology, you can do it for him.
Another advantage of listening at the faster speed is that I got through the book in 2 days of commuting around town.
I gave McConnohie 4 stars because I had to speed up his performance. If he had just sped it up himself I would have given him 5 stars.
The book itself is classic Bosch. Great story. The usual procedural and political stuff mixed with twists and turns and surprises. Overall 5 stars.
three favorite words: "This is Audible."
The narrator ruins this book.
The story line is good, but I'd rather be locked in a room listening to someone scratch a chalkboard than listening to this.
Mr. Connelly, please make the publisher (or whoever?) re-record this book with either Len Cariou, Dick Hill or Peter Giles as narrator. Your writing deserves better than this.
His performance is like a college lecture - monotone in cadence and pitch and tone. No emotion. Characters are not clearly defined.
I have listened to all the Harry Bosch books, and looked forward to the new release, but I truly could barely stand to listen because I found the robotic narration so irritating. I love Dick Hill and Len C is great ... Others have been okay ... But I won't ever get a book by this narrator ever again, regardless of the author or series.
I have read and enjoyed all of Connelly's series and this one sad to say is lazily written and very poorly performed. If you have read Connelly's earlier efforts, you remember Harry (Horonomous) Bosch as a tunnel rat from Viet Nam who searched for deadly killers and had on numerous occasions been forced to use his weapon. Now we have an author who seems maingly interested in explaining how tough it is for his character to raise his daughter. Give me a break. There is not intrigue nor do the actions of the protagonist make any sense. They are explained as a man playing a hunch. HMMM.... if you are writing a story at least make the effort to think up a few clues so as to give the detective a reason to take a course of action.
McConnahie is miscast for this one. His is an announcers style that is more appropriate for narration, The disconnect between Harry's character and his "voice" is distracting. Len Cariou, the old pro is of course a difflicult act to follow but I'm sure Audible can come with someone in that league.
I'm a huge Harry Bosch fan and almost didn't finish this book. The story was average, very slow at times. It's definitely not Mr. Connelly at his best.
Bring back Len!!! McConnohie is far too montone and slow. I'm very thankful for the previous reviewers who recommended listening to the book at a faster speed. Doing that made the montone quite tolerable. I don't know that I would have finished the book without it.
Not really. For anyone thinking of trying a Harry Bosch book, I'd recommend one of the earlier novels. They far better than this one.
No, the narration was so poor it was laughable.
I love Harry, but this was not an edge of your seat book.
The guy had such a dull, flat monotone he could have been reading the yellow pages. His attempts at giving the characters unique voices was a complete failure. At one point Jerry Edgar sounded Latino and in another place as if had a slight speech impediment. Madeline sounded like one of the guys from the office. Really, really poor performance. Who picked this guy?
Yes, the narration was so horrible I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
I am going to buy the book and read it and will never buy another audible book read by this guy.
I am an entertainer...so I spend a lot of time on the road. I take my audio seriously. I appreciate great writing and outstanding narration.
I'm a huge Connelly fan...as in I see a new book and I buy it. I don't read the synopsis or the reviews -- I just get the book and start listening.
And the story has an interesting premise: a murder during the LA riots, dark secrets and a plot that just keeps chugging along.
By detective novel standards, this is outstanding and is completely listenable.
By Connelly standards...well...Harry does some things that will make you go "Huh?"
A solid offering...but I found some areas where the believability was stretched to the breaking point. The villains are one dimensional and this was one of the few times where I'd figured it all out before I was told what happened.
Is it worth a credit? ABSOLUTELY.
Is it a road trip worthy offering? YUP.
Will it keep you sitting in the driveway when you get home? Probably.
It's just not Connelly at his finest...or Harry for that matter.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.