Jane Stewart's Reviews > The Black Echo

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
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Aug 07, 11

liked it
bookshelves: crime-mystery
Read in August, 2011

Barely ok. It kept my interest but I wasn’t emotionally engaged. Too many unpleasant people.

REVIEWER’S OPINION:
I enjoyed other Connelly books so I thought I’d try the Harry Bosch series. This is the first one in that series. It was not nearly as good. My problems follow.

1. This read too much like a police procedural. One guy raising questions, investigating, and uncovering clues and leads.

2. Too many unpleasant and unlikeable characters: Harry’s bosses, other cops, internal affairs, FBI guys, the State Dept guy, a security guard, and witnesses. I couldn’t enjoy or admire anyone. For example: a car tries to run over Harry. He survives. Instead of being supportive Harry’s boss yells at him because he didn’t get the make and model of the car. He acted like it was Harry’s fault for almost being run over. For most of these characters I was thinking “oh, ick.” And Harry himself wasn’t exciting or interesting. I didn’t feel much about him.

3. Eleanor is the female FBI agent who is partnered with Harry during the investigation. She gives bad advice and appears kind of stupid. She was no fun. It seemed like every time Harry would raise a question, she would assume wrong things and/or make up excuses why that was not applicable or not important. For example, after a burglary Harry asks “why would they take the porn pictures?” Eleanor said “Maybe one of them was a porn pervert.” A witness is murdered. Harry asks Eleanor “who knew about the witness at the FBI?” Eleanor says “Don’t even think about that Harry. It can’t be.” I was tired of hearing her devalue every thought Harry had.

There may have been some good reasons for the unpleasant people mentioned above, but the way it was done wasn’t fun to read. I felt more annoyance through the book than enjoyment.

4. The author used too many abbreviations and slang words without defining them. I didn’t know the following: spike, skag spike, score some horse, bolo sheet, hinky, Meadow was a hike, DWP seal.

5. The narrator was ok for Harry, but I didn’t like his voice for Eleanor. He sounded like an effeminate gay guy. It was unnatural and did not fit for a female FBI agent. I’ve heard many male narrators speak as women without sounding that way.

STORY BRIEF:
LAPD homicide cop Harry Bosch investigates the death of Meadows. During the investigation a link to a previous crime is discovered which the FBI was investigating. So Harry teams with FBI agent Eleanor to investigate both crimes together. Harry knew Meadows years ago when they were fighting in Vietnam together. Harry is a great detective but too much of a maverick for internal affairs, which is causing problems for him.

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
There are at least 17 books in the Harry Bosch series. I wanted to read more than just this one book, so I selected two others to read: books 5 and 8. The reason was because they won awards. I am currently in the middle of book 5 “Trunk Music,” and I was pleasantly surprised to find that a major character in book 1 reappears in Harry’s life in book 5. Harry had not seen this person for five years since book 1. So at this point I’m glad to have read book 1 for background.

DATA:
Unabridged story length: 13 hrs and 17 mins. Narrator: Dick Hill. Swearing language: strong, including religious swear words. Sexual language: none. Number of sex scenes: one, told not shown. Setting: 1990 Los Angeles, California area. Book Copyright: 1992. Genre: crime mystery. Ending: It’s a positive ending, but I didn’t feel anything. The good guys win. Harry doesn’t die – there are many sequels about him.
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