Home > 1990, 20th Century, American Literature, Connelly Michael, Crime Fiction, Polar > The Black Ice by Michael Connelly – excellent page turner

The Black Ice by Michael Connelly – excellent page turner

November 11, 2021 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Black Ice by Michael Connelly (1993) French title: La glace noire.

The Black Ice is the second volume of Connelly’s Harry Bosch series. I knew about him but had never read him before he came to Lyon at the Quais du Polar festival. I’ve read The Black Echo and like it well-enough to read another one.

When The Black Ice opens, it’s Christmas Day. Bosch is at home and he’s on call when he intercepts a message about a body found in a hotel room near Hollywood. He goes on the scene and discovers that it’s probably the corpse of another cop, Cal Moore. Bosch should be on the case since he was on call but his hierarchy puts him aside. He pushes his way through the doors and sees the room with the body. The death will be ruled as a suicide but details on the scene don’t add up in Bosch’s mind.

Cal Moore was a LAPD narcotics officer and the rumor says that he had crossed over. A couple of weeks before his death, Moore had a meeting with Bosch, inquiring about Internal Affairs ways. His wife has supposedly sent an anonymous letter to denounce him and they had started an investigation.

Bosch’s bosses send him to announce the bad news to Moore’s ex-wife and Bosch finds himself oddly attracted to her.

Then, Pound, the chief of Bosch’s unit, asks him to take on some cases from his colleague Porter. He’s an alcoholic who doesn’t have the best success rate in solving cases and Pound wants to improve the squad’s rate by the end of the year. As it happens, one of those cases is related to Moore.

A couple of days later, Moore’s colleagues of the narcotics squad hand Bosch a file that they found in their patrol car and that Moore wanted Bosch to have if something happened to him.

Between knowing Moore personally, feeling indebted to his ex-wife, getting Moore’s file, knowing that it wasn’t a suicide but a murder and getting a related case, it’s hard for Bosch to do anything else but lead a little maverick investigation on the side, using Porter’s cases as an excuse.

This will lead him to investigate the trafficking of Black Ice, a new drug that is spreading like a bad disease in Los Angeles. He will dig into Moore’s past to figure out whether he was a cross over or not. His investigation will chafe against police protocol, put him at risk and confront him to corruption in LA but in Mexico as well.

Like The Black Echo, The Black Ice is perfectly executed. The reader holds their breath from the beginning until the end, immersed into LA, the cop world and the case. We dive into Bosch’s personal life and his past, just enough to keep us interested in the man and his love for jazz music.

The writing is simple but efficient and the whole book is really atmospheric. We’re in LA with Bosch and we see the neighborhoods, the bars and the alleys. Connelly knows the city by heart and it shows through his writing. The whole book is like a film. Since it was published in 1993, it’s pre-cell phones and it’s a different world for policemen who chase after pay phones, receive messages at their hotels and can be conveniently out of reach when they want to.

Connelly finds the right balance between the case, the city, the business at the LAPD and the case. I maintain what I said about The Black Echo: this series is a great source of reliable entertaining literature, the kind of books you take on a long train journey because you’re sure you won’t get bored and time will fly.

More about Bosch’s world: check out the Bosch playlist on Spotify!

  1. November 11, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    I always give a little sigh of relief when I start a Michael Connelly Bosh book – I know I am in good hands – well written, exciting, with a bit of a social commentary as well.

    Like

    • November 11, 2021 at 8:58 pm

      Exactly. Great after a bad book because you know you’re in for a good read.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. November 12, 2021 at 3:13 am

    And I still haven’t read any of Michael Connelly’s Bosch books in spite of hearing so much praise for them over the years – some day…

    Like

    • November 12, 2021 at 10:24 am

      They’re good books for entertainment and a taste of LA. He has a knack for descriptions of the city.

      Like

  3. November 12, 2021 at 10:20 am

    I’ve read a couple of Harry Bosch’s and enjoyed them, but of that’s the problem – I remember Harry and not the author so I don’t get to read another one until I stumble across it by accident. I’ll repeat to myself Connelly, Connelly, Connelly and perhaps that will get me to the right shelf in the audiobook section of my library.

    Like

    • November 12, 2021 at 10:23 am

      *chuckles* I’m sure that googling Harry Bosch will promptly lead you to Connelly. 🙂

      Like

  4. November 14, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    It was interesting that you said it was like a film because as I was reading your review I was thinking it would make a great adaptation. it sounds very atmospheric without losing sight of the plot.

    Like

    • November 14, 2021 at 9:36 pm

      I think they’ve just made the book series into a TV show but I can’t watch it, I don’t have a subscription to this platform.

      Liked by 1 person

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