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I do like to read the occasional thriller and Michael Connelly writes some excellent ones and especially those featuring the character Harry Bosch. This is the second book to feature Bosch.
He is a detective in the Los Angeles area covering Hollywood which is not all glamour as it is in fact a rather seedy area of the city. Bosch used to be a high flyer however he came under investigation for the shooting of a killer and was demoted, in this book he once again finds himself under investigation by Internal Affairs. Bosch himself is a bit of a loner after being raised in childrens homes after his mother was deemed unsuitable to raise him as she was a hooker.
In the book Bosch is drawn into the investigation of the apparent suicide of an undercover drugs officer however Bosch believes foul play is to hand and starts his own line of inquiry. At the same time another case he is on in which he starts to have feelings for the widow also seems to be connected to the missing officers death.
This is a very readable novel which has a strong plot and is really well written. I have read a few Harry Bosch novels now and they are always of a high quality, it does help if you have read the early ones first as some of the character development follows on in the later books so this one should be read second.
If you like tense crime thrillers then this is a good book to read.
The Black Ice is the second novel from award winning author Michael Connelly, and the second involving his character Detective Harry Bosch.
Harry Bosch is spending Christmas alone when he hears a call on the dispatch radio regarding an apparent suicide. Confused as a call of such nature should have come through to him first, he assumes it is related to the recent disappearance of Calexico Moore, undercover narcotics detective.
Bosch attends the scene and soon comes to the conclusion that it was no suicide, despite everyone else believing to the contrary, apart from Moore's wife, to whom Bosch feels an attraction. He starts digging away, and finds that Moore is embroiled in something deeper, an underground drug known as Black Ice. Ordered away by his police chief Irvin Irving, Bosch is forced to concentrate on other cases in order to complete a quota, but the cases keep bringing him back to Moore. All the while, Irving has launched another internal investigation into Bosch.
I read Connelly's books in chronological order. As the second book, I was a little disappointed, but not in the style of writing. Connelly's writing is effortless reading, and he really goes to great lengths to describe geographical locations, physical descriptions and characters' moods.
My disappointment comes in the plot. It is very similar to his first book, The Black Echo, in terms of content, with Bosch investigating an apparent suicide whilst under internal investigation himself. The Black Ice is a very good book, and the injection of a drugs related storyline does provide some difference, but I was disappointed especially after my enjoyment of the first book.
However, my overall impression is that this is the second of a long line of good books, and was keen as mustard to pick up the third in the Bosch books by Connelly.
Decent second book, disappointing as plot is similar in many ways to the first book.
I rate this book at 3 stars out of 5.
The book is available from amazon.co.uk, used from 1p.
This review may also be posted on ciao.co.uk.
Thanks for reading.
The Black Ice is the second novel by Michael Connelly to feature the Los Angeles detective Hieronymus (rhymes with anonymous) Bosch. I have long been a fan of Connelly work and have read a number of his novels however in the case of the Bosch series of novels these have not always been in the order that they were produced. This particular copy of The Black Ice was purchased as part of an omnibus edition alongside the first book to feature Bosch entitled The Black Echo.
Harry Bosch is enjoying a lonely Christmas spent on call as a homicide detective based in the Hollywood Division. A former member of the elite Robbery Homicide Division (RHD) Bosch had been demoted following the suspicious shooting of a serial killer, following the investigation which was actively pursued by the head of Internal Investigations, Chief Irving, it was only public opinion that saved Bosch job however he had made many enemies amongst those who considered him a loose cannon.
Whilst eating his solitary meal and reading the three cards he received Bosch hears a call out over his police radio for an apparent suicide at a hotel. Immediately Bosch is suspicious as the call out is given to RHD instead of Bosch, sensing that the body may be that of Calexico Moore a narcotics detective who had been missing for a number of days and who was widely believed to have crossed over to the other side.
Bosch is quick to identify a number of irregularities with the supposed suicide and begins to carry out his own investigation into what was behind Moore actions. Soon he begins to unravel a web of lies and deceit as he discovers a man whose past is as unclear and complicated as Bosch own past life.
Bosch is ordered away from the Moore case after being given the role of informing the former Mrs. Moore a woman he is instantly attracted to. Instead he is ordered by his statistic obsessed boss to solve a case quick before the end of the year, however the two cases he starts to look in to both lead him back to Moore and the drugs trade in a new designer drug called Black Ice. At the same time unknown to him his old nemeses Irving has ordered another investigation into him and internal affairs are fast on his heels.
The Main Character
Bosch is a loner having spent all of his life in institutions. Fostered as a child from his prostitute mother he spent much of his youth in a childrens home before serving in Vietnam and then moving into another institution the LAPD. Bosch problem is that while he is a brilliant detective with a great success rate his lack or respect for authority and the fact that he is not a team player in what his bosses view as the LAPD Family results in him spending as much time avoiding the attentions of the internal investigations department as he does solving crimes. However the fact that he is a brilliant investigator with a strong moral belief that everyone counts means that his success rate at solving crimes makes him invaluable to his bosses whose primary concerns are the all important crime statistics and clearance rates of their detectives.
Connelly has a smooth style of writing and is skilled at weaving a complex storyline around the characters in his books. In Bosch he has a rather stereotypical American cop, tough and uncompromising but one that the reader can identify with, think Dirty Harry without the big gun.
Written in the third person Connelly keeps the storyline moving at a fast pace however wit some of his novels I sometimes feel that they are almost 50 pages too long. One slightly annoying trait is that he always describes in great detail any journey that is undertaken so that at times it feels like a travel guide to LA.
What Connelly is skilled at is getting the reader inside the head of Bosch as he begins to solve the case, sometimes you can see the outcome coming in advance but often this is not the case as Connelly keeps the suspense levels high and the plot twists coming at a regular rate.
Connelly inspiration for Bosch came from spending three years on the LA Times crime desk and before that he was a crime reporter in Miami where he came into contact with the drug trade.
This is a solid piece of work which kept my attention throughout. The character development from the first novel is solid and the storyline is an intelligent one.
Having already read some of his later novels did not really impact upon my enjoyment of this book, obviously the main character does not die but other than that it was only possible to guess the eventual outcome from the facts and clues in the book.
In fact having read later pieces of work helped in a perverse way because over time you get to appreciate the basis for some of Bosch friendships and rivalries that exist in the later pieces of work.
If I have one criticism it is that the opening premise of an apparent suicide from which Bosch is the only one to see through it is the same as Connelly first book The Black Echo. This is a small irritation as the storylines diverge from then on but it shows a lack of imagination and a sense of deja-vu for the reader.
If you are a reader of detective thrillers then this is certainly one worth reading. I borrowed this book from a friend and it is published by Orion as part of an omnibus edition featuring his first two Harry Bosch novels. The rrp is £7.99 however the book was purchased from Tesco for £2.99 which is an excellent bargain.
Ah, back into the comfort of a well-known and loved character. After the shock that was “Void Moon”, although a reasonably pleasant one at that, it is always good to settle down with a book featuring a character you really know. “The Black Ice” if taken in strict order is Michael Connelly’s second Harry Bosch novel (after The Black Echo). I guess I’m quite typical in that I never seem to read these things in order, so I can tell you from personal experience that this will have no bearing on your enjoyment of the book or hinder the characterisations in any way. In fact, I seem to be reading his novels backwards! I’m in the strange situation now of having only two of Connelly’s books left to read. His very first one and his latest offering, “A Darkness More Than Night”. I’m not sure which one I should read next! Anyway, that’s enough babbling about me …. Let’s get onto “The Black Ice” • The Author Woah … not so fast …. You mean you’ve never heard of Michael Connelly??? Well, for those of you who've been living in a cave for the last few years, I'll give a quick background on Michael Connelly. Before turning his pen to crime novels he was a police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, which goes some way to explaining his obsession with basing all of his crime novels in and around LA. He has to date won the Edgar award, the Nero Wolfe prize and the Anthony award for his published work in the USA, along with international awards the Maltese Falcon (Japan), .38 Caliber (France) and Grand Prix (France). Although a recognised author in the US, he is only just starting to break through into the UK market. In most good bookstores you should now find his name displayed prominently amongst those of Ian Rankin, John Grisham and Patricia Cornwell. If they haven’t got a good selection of
his novels then it’s either a poor bookshop or they’ve sold out! The majority of his novels have previously centred on Hieronymous ‘Harry’ Bosch (as this one does), a maverick LAPD detective, with the odd novel such as "The Poet" and "Blood Work" featuring other sleuths, but they are really of a fairly similar vein and revolve around a different (always male) detective chasing serial killers. The one exception to this rule to fate is “Void Moon”, which focuses on a female thief. • Plot (Briefly - No major spoilers I promise!) It’s Christmas time in LA, and Bosch is spending it alone again, with only the occasional howling of a coyote to keep him company. But he likes it that way. People only complicate things. He can never hold down a relationship anyway, not with his commitment to his work. So there he is sitting at home eating Christmas dinner alone, going through the motions when the police scanner he always leaves on as background noise cracks into life. Bosch knows instinctively what has happened, and after a few phone calls he finds himself in a hotel room staring at the corpse of a fellow colleague, Calexico Moore. It wasn’t a great shock to Bosch. Rumours had been circulating around the LAPD since Calexico’s disappearance that he had crossed over and was involved with narcotics. In fact, they had been waiting for something like this to happen to him. Harry starts to untangle some odd facts surrounding Calexico soon after the discovery of his body, and begins to doubt everything he has seen. It just doesn’t fit right. Why has Calexico left a file for Bosch in his car? Who is the Juan Doe dumped behind the diner? It all has something to do with a new high-tech drug labelled “Black Ice” being imported from Mexico, and Bosch is in determined mood to get to the bottom of it, even if it means disobe
ying his superiors. • Verdict Initially, “The Black Ice” was a little difficult to get into. It starts at a slow pace and reveals little of the twists, turns and deceptions to come. But stick with it, as once a few layers are uncovered it becomes a really engrossing read, and it one of his best I’ve read to date overall. The more I read his books the more I grow to like the character of Harry Bosch. He maverick LAPD detective so probably not that original in itself, but the depth and believability in his character is wonderfully laid out. On reading this novel alone you will get a good feel for the character, but he certainly comes to life more over the span of the novels. The plot is good and will keep you guessing on a number of counts until the last 20 or so pages. One major fact you will guess early on, which I thought at the time would spoil the story, but there is an extra twist, which makes the knowledge of this acceptable. Part of me believes that Connelly made it easy to guess this fact so that he could grab you with the twist in it towards the end. A masterstroke if it was intentional, as it’s one of those moments where you’re sitting there all smug in the knowledge of the plotline, thinking you’ve worked it all out only to have it slapped back in your face. With Connelly you never really guess the entire story until the very end. He has a knack of keeping a few major twists under wraps until the dying moments. The main LAPD characters are here, with Harry’s boss Harvey “98” Pounds in his usual spineless yet amusing mode. The other characters Harry interacts with are fairly throw away ones, particularly the Mexican ones. Saying that they are fleshed out just enough for the time and importance they have in the novel so no complaints there. Overall, “The Black Ice” is one of my favourite Harry Bosch novels so far, and it bu
ilds further on the strength of his character. A neat, well thought out and twisting plot that will keep you interested until the final few chapters, it comes with a high personal recommendation from me! Publisher: Orion Paperbacks ISBN: 0-75281-541-5 RRP: £5.99 (Available at amazon.co.uk for around £4.79) • If you liked “The Black Ice” then If you do enjoy this book, then I strongly recommend that you try some of these others novels by the same author. Hey, just go read them all okay: - The Poet - Blood Work (featuring Terry McCaleb instead of Harry Bosch) - The Concrete Blonde - Angels Flight (leave until last as it gives away a lot of character backgrounds) I would particularly recommend his previous novels "The Poet" and "Blood Work" if you enjoy the Thomas Harris novels featuring Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter. They are quite similar in the type of subject and the sense of the chase you experience. Where I think they beat Harris hands down is in the style and strength of the characterisations. Very believable and you WILL find yourself getting engrossed in these books believe me! Michael Connelly is not as widely known as Thomas Harris (due mostly to the Silence of the Lambs film) but from his work to date he stands out as a far more consistent writer. It can only be a matter of time before someone snaps up one of his works for film adaptation. Here are a few quotes from the press on his work: “Impressive …. Convincing ambience, a mass of procedural detail, authentic dialogue, a speeding plot and a flawed hero” - The Times “Most impressive …. Rich in detail, strong on character, with a fascinating plot that functions on several emotional levels … Connelly has, with great skill, given us a detective who inhabits a world filled only with torment, fear and d
anger” – People Magazine • Author’s Website Also worth checking out is his website at www.MichaelConnelly.com, which will give you further background into this excellent author and his published work to date. Definately one worth checking out, and try your hand at the competitions too, they’re pretty hard but the prizes on offer are worth a stab at it (signed first editions normally). Other features of the site include a small biography of the author, press information, news on the latest or forthcomings novels, information on book signings via email (when is he coming to the UK?!?!) and a messageboard (which strangely seems to be quite civilised). All in all it’s a cracking little site for fans of his work.
This is the second novel written by Connelly to feature the LAPD detective Harry 'Hieronymous' Bosch, this time attempting to untangle a complex web surrounding the manufacture and distribution of a new designer drug Black Ice.