Jim's Books

The Black Echo

Michael Connelly

The Black Echo
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Buy book: UK

ISBN: 9781409116851


LAPD detective Harry Bosch is a loner and a nighthawk. One Sunday he gets a call out on his pager. A body has been found in a drainage tunnel off Mulholland Drive, Hollywood. At first sight, it looks like a routine drugs overdose case, but the one new puncture wound amidst the scars of old tracks leaves Bosch unconvinced. To make matters worse, Harry Bosch recognises the victim. Billy Meadows was a fellow 'tunnel rat' in Vietnam, running against the VC and the fear they all used to call the Black Echo. Bosch believes he let down Billy Meadows once before, so now he is determined to bring the killer to justice.

Reviewed on 23rd March 2014

I picked up the first book in the Harry Bosch series following a recommendation that his writing was similar to that of John Grisham. Having finally got around to reading it, I've concluded that this recommendation was nonsense (in fact, having just done some research, I find this recommendation referred to a later spin-off series). Connelly's style is more verbose, the reader's relationship with the character much more personal, and the characters themselves much more varied and multi-layered.

The plot follows a Hollywood detective who's drawn into investigating an ever-more complicated mystery that's a little too personal. Particularly in the first half, it feels like it's plodding along, even though the plot is moving. I really liked the gradual reveal of more and more detail about the main character's background, although as the series has more than 15 books now, I'm not sure if this is a feature that the author will be able to keep up.

The mystery is good and keeps the reader on their toes. There are plenty of twists to keep things interesting and the conclusion is satisfying - another point where it diverges from John Grisham's novels. There are still a few questions remaining, particularly around the motivation of some of the secondary characters, and I'm glad that this leaves some hanging threads to be picked up in the sequels that I plan to read over the next few years.

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