Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
The Black Ice: Michael Connelly, August 4—15, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
Harry Bosch is even better in his second outing. The Black Ice refers to a new super drug being manufactured by a Mexican drug lord who is overtaking the creators of its Hawaiian predecessor, plain old ice. The case involves multiple murders and a cop query suicide that Bosch immediately decides are connected, and sets out to prove it.
Quite simply, everything that other writers get stuck on Connelly seems to do effortlessly. The Hollywood Division’s police department is authentic and immersive. There’s no question that Connelly has done his homework, but instead of showing off the details he knows, he uses the intricacies to his advantage, even using them as plot points. All of the characters know the drill and speak in a realistic way, that long-serving employees would about processes and procedures, which Connelly deftly translates through thoughts or narration rather than contrived dialogue. As a result, the reader feels like an active member of this world, instead of an outsider trying to make sense of it on the sidelines.
Bosch is much the same. He’s the ultimate lone wolf maverick and plays up to it brilliantly. He’s a believable, grounded character that’s not perfect but essentially ‘good’. And there’s depth to him; his mother’s absence and demise are fleshed out more, the death of his father, and his conflict about the end justifying the means when it comes to pumping a young delinquent for vital information. And on a related note, it was great to see Mickey Haller in a brief uncredited cameo again.
The case itself was well paced. There was a good mix of action and introspection, and several genuine shocks. Having said that, it felt the main questions were answered too fast and the third-quarter seemed to lack much direction, and I must confess to finding the bullfighting unpleasant without and much benefit to the book, but on the whole it was still very enjoyable. Pounds and Irving were great fun in their sporadic appearances, and Norris from Coronation Street was a brilliant EnviroBreed boss!
Bosch is a different beast to the well-paid clean-nosed attorney Mickey Haller. This is a murkier, grittier series set in the gutters of humanity. Connelly has done a terrific job and I can’t wait to see what happens to Bosch next.