Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ray's Reviews: Michael Connelly's The Black Box and Lee Child's Jack Reacher's Rules

If you're trying to escape the holiday rush, here's a quick look at a pair of highly entertaining recent releases.

"The Black Box" by best-selling author Michael Connelly (Little Brown, $27.99) is the 18th in his exceptionally popular series starring Los Angeles Police detective Harry Bosch.

It's been 20 years since Bosch first appeared as a fictional character in the "The Black Echo"; he began in the Homicide Unit. Now he's working in the Open - Unsolved Case Unit.

He gets involved in a case that has special meaning to him: the investigation of the murder of a female photojournalist in 1992, during the height of the L.A. Riots.

Bosch originally handled the case, but it was handed to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved. Step by step, Bosch investigates the case, trying to figure out the woman's real killer.

It's not an easy trail, but Bosch carefully backtracks, gathering information and interviewing related individuals as he tries to discover the truth.

There are many clever, believable plot twists and the exciting, violent, action-packed conclusion makes it all worthwhile.

This is an exceptional police procedural mystery, another compelling page-turner from one of the masters of contemporary crime fiction writing.

"Jack Reacher's Rules" (Delacorte Press, $16) is an unusual book that features a brief introduction by Lee Child, who's written 17 books in the hugely popular series.

This small, 152 page book isn't going to please everyone, as it offers little new material, but it's still great fun for mystery readers who like a change of pace.

It's compiled by Val Hudson, who includes many nifty illustrations and photographs to emphasize points.

If you're familiar with Lee Child's books starring the mysterious loner Jack Reacher, you're in for a real treat. Diehard fans still can't believe that Tom Cruise was selected to portray Reacher in the new upcoming film.

Some of the rules include: "Hope for the best, plan for the worst", "They mess with me, they answer to me" and "Hit them hard, hit them fast and hit them a lot." There's also a scattered selection of items that the anti-hero would not say or do.

This book is not meant to be real serious; it's best to stretch out your enjoyment, perhaps savoring a dozen pages a day.

This review was originally published by the 
Lansing State Journal on Sunday, December 2, 2012.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed crime novels and noir thrillers regularly since 1987.

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