Michael Connelly’s name has been around a lot lately, with The Lincoln Lawyer movie in theaters and The Fifth Witness coming out soon. I had never read anything by him though, so when I saw that our library had the audio version of The Black Echo available, I decided it was as good a place to start as any. My audio choices tend to be based on what’s available rather than what’s on my wishlist.
It was a great choice. The mystery is solid. Harry Bosch is a detective who has been more or less demoted to the Hollywood Homicide division. He and his partner are on-call when a dead man is found in a drainpipe. Harry doesn’t dismiss the death as just another junkie overdose. He knows this man, served with him in the tunnels of Vietnam. Bosch is determined to get to the reason behind his death, but the investigation leads to a more elaborate scheme than he could have guessed, a plan involving bank robbery, diamonds, betrayal and vengeance.
Harry Bosch is a well-developed character, but still typical, if that makes sense. He grew up in institutions and served in Vietnam. He’s a loner, driven and intelligent, but an outsider, even in the police force. He’s the tough guy who still cares. His LA is not glittery, it’s gritty and dark.
The plot takes center stage here. There are twists and turns that I couldn’t have seen coming, but Connelly makes it all work. It’s like an iceberg and the murder of the man who was left in the pipe was just the tip. All the clues and possibilities are connected but digging down to the who and why is complicated.
I guess it’s a police procedural, but it was more gripping than that phrase sounds. It had me hooked. I wanted to know where it was going, who was behind the whole thing, how Harry was going to figure it out, who was going to make it out alive.
Edgar Award for Best First Novel (1993)
Harry Bosch #1
13 hours, 17 minutes
Narrated by Dick Hill
First published 1992
4 out of 5 stars
Challenge: Mystery and Suspense
I borrowed my audiobook from the library and the above is my honest opinion.