“Narcotics office Cal Moore’s orders were to look into the city’s latest drug killing. Instead, he ends up in a motel room with a fatal bullet wound to the head and a suicide note stuffed in his back pocket.
Working the case, LAPD detective Harry Bosch is reminded of the primal police rule he learned long ago: don’t look for the facts, but the glue that holds them together.
Soon Harry’s making some very dangerous connections, starting with a dead cop and leading to a bloody string of murders that wind from Hollywood Boulevard to the back alleys south of the border. Now this battle-scarred veteran will find himself in the centre of a complex and deadly game – one in which he may be the next and likeliest victim.” (Goodreads)
In honor of the fourth season of Bosch starting up in early April, I decided to read the second book in the ongoing saga of Harry Bosch. Now, I liked the first book, The Black Echo, a lot (with caveats, of course). The Black Ice hit the same highs and lows.
Michael Connelly is great at describing the disconcerting and disorienting atmosphere that is Los Angeles. And if you dig details, this is the series for you. Connelly loves breaking down the step-by-step movement between locations (lots of “and Harry turned right on Olive then left on Fifth…”). I lived in the Southland for a bit and recognize all the locations, so I love those moments of inside baseball.
Connelly is less good when it comes to women (and other marginalized groups). There are basically two women in the book with any real screentime, and both are weighed mostly by Harry’s level of sexual attraction to them. He sleeps with both of them, and once he loses sexual interest or access to their bodies, they cease to be useful to the narrative. Fortunately, Connelly offers just enough that they feel like “real” people, but only at the most basic level. They have internal lives, but neither Connelly nor Harry particularly care.
Overall, though, I thoroughly enjoyed The Black Ice. It’s a tight, suspenseful crime thriller. Every time you think you know where the plot is going, Connelly twists the plot and the knife. Nothing and no one is as they seem. It’s the perfect weekend or vacation binge read. And if you haven’t seen Bosch yet, what the hell are you waiting for?
He loved the city most at night. The night hid many of the sorrows. It silenced the city yet brought deep undercurrents to the surface. It was in this dark slipstream that he believed he moved most freely. Behind the cover of shadows. Like a rider in a limousine, he looked out but no one looked in.
There was a random feel to the dark, the quirkiness of chance played out in the blue neon night. So many ways to live. And to die. You could be riding in the back of a studio’s black limo, or just as easily the back of the coroner’s blue van. He sound of applause was the same as the buzz of a bullet spinning past your ear in the dark. That randomness. That was L.A.
Do the world a favor and buy this book from your local indie bookstore or get it from your public library.