Brooke's Reviews > The Black Echo

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
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Jun 09, 08

bookshelves: 2008, mystery
Read in June, 2008

I always enjoy a solid detective caper, and Michael Connelly's first novel delivered, with a few downsides. My complaints mostly revolve around the dialogue - it's painfully unnatural. It's like he listened to his teachers who told him not to use contractions in formal writing and decided to apply that to his fiction. Everyone was also a little melodramatic and over-the-top - over and over again, I kept thinking, "Give me a break, people don't talk like that!"

Editing problems also detracted from the story - iced tea is referred to as "ice tea," Barney's Beanery is spelled "Barnie's" - given that the author seems to know Los Angeles, his misspelling of the popular bar is puzzling and someone should have caught that.

Finally, some of the bad guys seem to be bad for the sake of being bad. The deputy chief character is confusing. I won't go into details to avoid spoilers, but his final scene seems inconsistent with the rest of his story. The two IAD officers gunning for the main character also have murky motives - I don't think it was ever explained why they wanted to take him down so badly.

I always approach debut novels with a little more slack than I do later books, so I appreciate that Connelly spins a good mystery and an delivers an unforeseen twist at the very end. I'll read at least a couple more of his books (I have a 3-in-1 anthology from the library) and hope that his editors polished them up a little more.
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