The Black Ice

The Black Ice
© 1993 Michael Connelly
336 pages

A body discovered in a sleazy motel on Christmas Eve connects a handful of otherwise dead cases, and sets Detective Harry Bosch against his own department, culminating in the pursuit of a half-chance to Mexico.  The case was never supposed to be Bosch’s;  when a cop suspected being bent showed up missing his face, all the department wanted to do was sweep the victim quietly under the rug. But Harry Bosch was the detective on duty when the call came in, and damned if he’s going to be kicked to the side.  As is usual, the solitary brooder — Bosch opens this novel like seemingly every other, sitting by himself and listening to jazz —  can’t stop the feeling that there’s more to the story, can’t stop looking even when everyone else is telling him to drop it.  Several unsolved cases, suddenly parts of a puzzle that he can see the outlines of as he digs, point to a drug lord in Mexico who is pushing a new product in Los Angeles. That’s where Bosch ultimately goes, teaming up with a Mexican officer who is an outsider in his own apartment, and their joint investigation leads to fireworks in the Sonoran dark.  While I haven’t read a Bosch novel since 201l,  the character is just as compelling as he first was:  a child of the street turned cop thereof,  forever butting heads with the politicos who run things as he pursues justice on nothing more than his gut instincts, black coffee, and the help of rare friends — usually women.  Characterization is strong here, both as Connelly is developing Bosch (this is the 2nd Bosch novel) further, and giving him interesting enemies, allies, and hybrid creatures to wrangle with.  Interestingly, early on Bosch encounters Mickey Haller — of Lincoln Lawyer fame, but not made a lead character until that novel’s debut in 2005. 

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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5 Responses to The Black Ice

  1. Brian Joseph says:

    This sounds good. For mr, this kind of book works best when the the detective is a well crafted character. A protagonist listening to jazz is a great way to start a book.

  2. Mudpuddle says:

    courageous of you to read modern detective stories; they scare me, so i stick to golden age or slighter later ones… this sounds interesting, tho…

  3. Stephen says:

    @Brian: His name goes a long way…Harry is short for “Hieroynomous”!@Mudpuddle: That's the reason I've had to stop reading Phillip Kerr's WW2 detective novels…as good as his writing is, as funny as they can be, the contents are too dark and gruesome to linger in.

  4. CyberKitten says:

    I have LOTS of detective stories coming up. Most of them are pretty modern. I can feel the darkness looming already!

  5. Stephen says:

    I wonder if the gut-instinct detective will become an obsolete character as law enforcement becomes more a practice of forensic science?

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