Black Ice, The

Document Sample
Black Ice, The Powered By Docstoc
					"The Black Ice," (1993) is the powerful second novel, following on The
Black Echo, in Michael Connelly's best-selling Harry Bosch series of
mystery novels. The series, Los Angeles-set police procedurals, looks at
life on the "noir" side; Connelly is a former journalist, a crime beat
writer for the Los Angeles Times, who certainly earned his spurs in
murder while earning his daily bread. Even his recent standalones, The
Scarecrow, The Brass Verdict, and The Lincoln Lawyer, have all been #1
New York Times Bestsellers; as has Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops
and Killers, a non-fiction collection of his journalism.

Anyone who lives in relatively northern climes knows what "black ice"
means to us: if snow has melted during a sunny day, then refreezes in
the colder night, it will constitute black ice: hard to see, and
dangerous. This meaning of the term certainly informs the book. But
Connelly here gives another meaning to black ice. It is apparently the
street name given by Mexican cartels to a powerful combination of
cocaine, heroin, and PCP dust that was, at one time, supposed to be the
next big thing in the drug world. Whether it ever was or not, I've no
idea. At any rate, Connelly posits a world in which Hawaiian drug
cartels, which invented the product and called it "glass," are fighting
the Mexican cartels for control of the LA market in it. This has
apparently resulted in four murders; one Hawaiian drug mule, one Mexican
laborer, and two LA cops.

The book boasts riveting, tight relatively fresh plots; excellent
narrative and descriptive writing, and snappy dialogue. It is informed
by Connelly's deep, accurate knowledge of police work, after several
years' experience on the cop shop beat. And, it is written with great
knowledge of, and love for, Los Angeles, the author's adopted home town.
It clearly follows in the footsteps of earlier outstanding hardboiled LA
authors Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, but adds the further
ingredients of a police procedural, as it charts the early career of
Connelly's creation, LAPD Detective Bosch, now assigned to Hollywood
Homicide, still fighting the Vietnam War in his nightmares. It also
introduces many characters we will come to know better in later Bosch
novels - Connelly must really be a whiz at pre-planning his work. At any
rate, mention is made of Bosch's partner on the force, Jerry Edgar, and
two of the force's superior officers, Irvin Irving and Harvey Pounds.
Also Bremmer, crime reporter of the LA Times. And Bosch's mother, a
murdered LA prostitute. And the father he never knew, prominent defense
attorney Jerry Haller. And, accordingly, Bosch's half-brother, prominent
defense attorney Mickey Haller. And, perhaps most resonant to me, the
coyote that lives in the gully below Bosch's house, whom he's named

Connelly is a wonderful writer, my favorite among American mystery
authors, and I've read all his books save "Scarecrow." (Like many other
readers, I imagine, I prefer his series works to his standalones: like
many other writers, his mysteries seem more powerful if they are
filtered through the sensibilities of his detective protagonist.) At any
rate, Connelly's plots drive like Mack trucks; furthermore, they are
complex, and resonant. He explicates his love of jazz as he goes. And
his descriptive writing: well, it's heartfelt, written by a man in love
with a city, and it's so precise that a stranger could find his way
around LA with a few of his books as guides. If you've come to Connelly
through his newer books, you really owe yourself the two earliest
novels. They set a benchmark he -- or anyone else-- would have trouble

Shared By: