The Black Echo

black echoI finished this book in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Michael Connelly’s “The Black Echo.” I have no idea why I picked it, kinda felt like I was in the mood for some crime and detectives and what have you. Stepped away from science fiction for a minute. Anyway, the synopsis is: For LAPD homicide cop Harry Bosch, the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland dam is more than another anonymous statistic. The dead man, Billy Meadows, was a fellow Vietnam “tunnel rat.” Joining with an enigmatic female FBI agent, pitted against enemies within his own department, Bosch must make the agonizing choice between justice and vengeance, as he tracks down a killer whose true face will shock him.

It is the first book in the Harry Bosch series, I am uncertain if it was Michael Connelly’s first. It was published in 1992. I am always quite a bit more lenient with my reviews when I know its the first book in a series or a debut novel. I realize it takes time to develop a character and that the author learns more as he goes. That being said, there were whole sections of the book that weren’t “bad,” but they weren’t all that interesting. And perhaps its the topic. Bosch does have reflections on his time in Vietnam, and while those sections are not tedious or poorly written, they bore me. I am sick of “heroes” from pasts in Nam. The book doesn’t move very quickly and, quite honestly, there is very little suspense. This is not edge-of-your seat riveting.

The ending has a twist. It was not all that surprising. It surprised me a little only because I am always surprised by such things in movies and books. I guess an astute crime-fiction/police procedural reader would have picked it up in the first quarter of the book. I felt that the actual bad-guy’s motives were not really all that strong. Revenge and justice make sense, yes, but not enough for all of this. I don’t know. It was somewhat sloppily tied together – not compelling.

Bosch is a pretty good character, I hope the rest of the time we do not have to dredge up the Vietnam history stuff. He smokes like a damned chimney, though. I almost couldn’t breathe from all the “third-hand” smoke coming through the pages. I did like the little symbolism given to us between Bosch and the painting. That was something I could appreciate.

I do intend to read more of Connelly.

3 stars

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