Home > 1990, 20th Century, American Literature, Beach and Public Transports Books, Connelly Michael, Crime Fiction > The Black Echo by Michael Connelly – Perfectly executed

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly – Perfectly executed

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly (1992) French title: Les égoûts de Los Angeles.

Michael Connelly was the star at Quais du Polar this year. I attended two events where he was a guest star, a film about LA and Connelly’s writing and a wonderful jazz & literature session with him and James Sallis. I saw him on the street, simply having a sandwich at the terrace of a bakery. I liked his attitude, he didn’t behave like he was a big deal and yet he is, if you consider the number of books he has sold. It made me want to read one of his books and I picked The Black Echo, the first opus of his famous Harry Bosch series.

Harry Bosch is a detective on the LAPD homicide team and he has just been demoted. The Internal Affairs are after him. When he and his partner are sent on a scene where a dead body was found, he’s the only one not to dismiss this death as an overdose. Something doesn’t sit well with him. And then he realizes that he knew the victim. It’s Billy Meadows, a fellow veteran who fought alongside him in the Vietnam War. There is no way Harry will let this case alone, despite all the roadblocks on the path: he has enemies in the LAPD and he crosses the FBI’s path. It’ll be a dangerous case for Harry’s career and even physical integrity.

I wasn’t sure that I’d like Connelly’s books but I did. Harry Bosch is an attaching character and The Black Echo is polished debut novel. Bosch is fully formed, believable and Connelly’s knowledge of police procedure and LAPD’s ways is precious and accurate. Bosch’s quotidian sounds real, like here:

Two hours of typing and smoking and drinking bad coffee later, a bluish cloud hung near the ceiling lights over the homicide table and Bosch had completed the myriad forms that accompany a homicide investigation. He got up and made copies on the Xerox in the back hall.

The reader believes that Harry is a real detective, a maverick among his peers and that make him interesting. Details about the Vietnam War ring true too, a black echo was a soldier who went into tunnels, in search of Vietcong soldiers. Connelly doesn’t give useless information about the war but only the ones relevant for the plot and the reader’s understanding of Bosch’s past.

Connelly describes himself as a storyteller and that’s an accurate description. His prose is good, efficient. The Black Echo is an excellent page turner, I was eager to continue, to see how it would end. I liked Bosch and was totally engaged at his side during the story. It’s captivating and everything is well done: the LA setting, Bosch himself and his interactions with his colleagues, the atmosphere of the police investigation. It’s efficient, like Stephen King, only in a different genre.

Connelly is a wonderful and engaging writer but not an artist like other literary authors, which is not something he claims to be. From what I see in The Black Echo, the Bosch series is an excellent source of reliable, good and entertaining reads. We do need this kind of books because reading is above all a pleasure. And sometimes, literary books are interesting or challenging but not all that pleasurable.

  1. July 30, 2019 at 3:07 am

    I’ve picked up 2 or 3 Harry Bosch novels/audiobooks from the library for listening while I work, and I agree they are well done. You’ve reminded me I haven’t had one for a while. I swap libraries every couple of years and my current one has more classics and SF. Looking Connelly up on Wikipedia, I think I may have had this one, Trunk Music and City of Bones.

    Like

    • July 30, 2019 at 3:36 pm

      His books must be good to listen while driving like you do. They hold your attention and are great to pass the time.

      Like

  2. July 30, 2019 at 7:22 am

    I’ve not read any Connelly but I know he’s prolific, You’ve encouraged me to pick him up!

    Like

    • July 30, 2019 at 3:35 pm

      He’s good, really. He’s worth all the fuss there is around his books.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. July 30, 2019 at 8:35 am

    I am a huge fan of Connelly’s Bosch series. I would have loved to be there listening to jazz and hearing him speak.

    Like

  4. August 1, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    I love the title: perfectly executed! That is rare. But, I too, enjoy Connelly and Bosch. I’m glad to hear this was so pleasing.

    Like

    • August 3, 2019 at 2:23 pm

      I had a great reading time. I see Bosch really has a lot of fans.

      Like

  1. August 4, 2019 at 3:57 pm
  2. October 9, 2019 at 9:11 pm
  3. November 11, 2021 at 6:58 pm

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