Book: The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

Good cop novel but a trifle slow

Michael Connelly
The Black Echo
Warner, 2002 (originally published in 1992)
ISBN: 0-446-61273-1
482 pages

The main character in The Black Echo is Harry (Hieronymus) Bosch. He's a Los Angeles police detective and a bit of an outsider in that close-knit department. As the book begins, Harry is woken on Saturday morning from a dream about his days as a soldier in Vietnam. He's sent to investigate a dead body near Mulholland Dam. The body is in an above-ground pipe and it turns out to be Billy Meadows whom Bosch knew when they both fought in the tunnels dug by the Viet Cong. They had also been in touch briefly more recently. The death looks like an ordinary heroin overdose and Billy was a known user. But there are a couple of suspicious aspects to the crime scene that Harry wants to investigate a bit further. Of course, the case doesn't turn out to be routine and pretty soon the FBI and the police department's internal affairs division are making trouble for Harry.

Harry's investigation is interesting, the resolution is satisfying, and most of the characters are interesting as well. I did find the book a trifle slow. Taking John Sandford's somewhat similar cop novels as a benchmark (1, 2, 3), I'd call it 50 or 75 pages longer than it really needs to be. Still, that's a pretty minor complaint about a good novel.

It seems that there are a couple of small editing mistakes in the book. I'm pretty sure that "DR" should be "DB" (p. 5). The painting by the artist of the same name as the detective is actually The Garden of Earthly Delights (p. 208). And I suspect that Mr Connelly meant something like "halogens" rather than "strobes" (p. 254).

Posted: Mon - May 21, 2007 at 06:59 PM   Main   Category: