Michael Connelly wins the RBA Award for his novel ‘The Black Box’

The American crime fiction writer won the sixth RBA Prize worth €125,000 for his work ‘The Black Box’. The novel, which was the winner out of 217 entries, revolves around an unsolved murder that took place during the Los Angeles Riots 20 years ago. The main character uncovers that the murder was premeditated after finding a bullet linked to the crime and seeks the ‘black box’ needed to solve the case.

CNA / David Tuxworth

September 7, 2012 12:02 AM

Barcelona (ACN). – The Barcelona-based multimedia publishing company RBA has awarded the American author Michael Connelly (Philadelphia, 1956) its prize for his crime novel ‘The Black Box’, which was entered into the competition under the pseudonym Jack Mc Evoy. The novel, which was the winner out of 217 entries, tells the story of Harry Bosch who investigates in 2012 the killing of a young female photographer during the Los Angeles Riots, a murder case that has been unsolved for 20 years. The author will collect the RBA Prize, worth €125,000, this Thursday evening. The writer explained that “although it is not a political analysis, the novel reflects current times” and asks if “this could be repeated today”.

For over twenty years Michael Connelly has brought to life the main character of his last book, Harry Bosch, a Los Angeles police detective. Now with his twenty fifth novel, ‘The Black Box’, the American writer has won the sixth edition of the RBA Prize.

Set in the present, ‘The Black Box’ follows Bosch as he solves a murder from twenty years ago, when a young Danish female photographer was killed during the Los Angeles Riots. Using the latest ballistics technology, the detective links a bullet found in a recent case to the unsolved murder and uncovers that the killing was not a random act of violence but premeditated and something more personal. Bosch therefore tries to find the ‘black box’, a piece of evidence that will be able to decrypt the case.

The author himself worked as a journalist at the time and needed two decades “to filter” what he experienced back then and make it the subject of his novel which he has hinted at four times in his previous books.

Beyond the plot, the author has a more reflective thought on the novel, “What I wonder is that after 20 years have we managed to learn anything or is it going to be repeated?” Without wanting to comment on the US presidential race, Connelly believes that “explosive violence” provoked by the social and economic situation at the time could be repeated “anywhere in the world”.

The author works hard to make sure that Harry “is never the same in any one book”. He announced that in this latest novel the detective tries to pass on what he think is his “mission” to his daughter: to eliminate evil.

An award for a “job well done”

The writer said that it was “an honour” to be awarded the RBA Prize and believes the detective genre is “neither celebrated nor understood” by critics in his country, even if the readers appreciate it. “When I write, I do my best to connect with the readers around me, but connecting with readers from 9,000 kilometres away is a dream” he said.

Although he has won many awards throughout his career, Connelly says that normally he doesn’t enter his novels into contests, and even less in the US. However his publisher suggested that this is the novel to enter into the competition. So he agreed and feels “proud” of the novel, considering it a “job well done”.

Michael Connelly worked as a journalist until his fourth novel when he abandoned the profession to devote his time entirely to writing. He has sold 55 million copies worldwide and his novels have been translated into 39 languages. The writer was awarded the Premi Pepe Carvalho award by the BCNegra in 2009.

The judges, Soledad Puértolas, Lorenzo Silva, Antonio Lozano, Paco Camarasa and Anik Lapointe, unanimously selected ‘The Black box’ as the winner out of 217 entries. In previous editions, Francisco González Ledesma, Andrea Camilleri, Philip Kerr, Harlan Coben and Patricia Cornwell won the award.