The Black Ice
© 1993 Michael Connelly
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.