The story begins with the death of a junkie, that normally would have been written off as an overdose, were it not for the fact that Harry knew the man both in the present and the past They served together as tunnel rats in the Vietnam war Their job was to find the tunnels that the north vietnamese had dug so that they could move through the tunnels instead of above ground Then it was their job to go down into The Black Echo and set fuses to blow them up The dead man, Meadows, had actually come to like going down in those tunnels and even after his tour of duty was over, he stayed on Bosch went home and into the police force.
Harry doesn t think that Meadows overdosed and eventually ties him to a bank robbery in which they had gotten into the vault through a tunnel Information comes out that makes Bosch think that this method is going to be used to break into another vault, but where He teams up with a female FBI agent to solve the puzzle.
Michael Connelly is such an excellent writer that I was definitely was kept guessing No way was I prepared for how this story worked out The details of the plot and the development of the characters is spectacular Connelly deserves every ounce of success.
First impressions can be so deceptive Well, actually, first, second and third impressions, but who s judging Me Totally me Still on the search for a new mystery series, and Michael Connelly s name keeps coming up, mainly because I always misspell John Connolly John s writing is frequently lyrical and equally brutal, so there s only so much I can take Perhaps the American Michael will be less demanding Why, yes, he is How much less demanding Well, take this little sample from early on in Harry Bosch s murder investigation He became restless He looked down into the green glass ashtray and saw that all the butts were unfiltered Camels Was that Meadow s brand or his killer s He got up and walked around the room The faint smell of urine hit him again He walked back into the bedroom He opened the drawers of the bureau and stared at their contents once Nothing turned in his mind He went to the window and looked out at the back end of another apartment building across an alley There was a man with a supermarket cart in the alley He was poking through a Dumpster with a stick The car was half full of aluminum cans Bosch walked away and sat down on the bed and put his head back against the wall where the headboard should have been and the white paint was a dingy gray The wall felt cool against his back Speechless Mrs Meunch, my ninth grade Advanced English teacher, would have emptied her pen of red ink had I turned in that paragraph Dull, repetitive, uninteresting construction and description, as well as virtually meaningless in plot advancement But here s where first impressions mislead given that Connelly worked as a journalist, I didn t think his writing skills were that limited on purpose, and a sample chapter at the end of this book for his series starring a lawyer provided proof of a sophisticated style I suspect he was trying to echo both the staccato noir voice, as well as the neutral, progressive statements one might find in a police or medical report, that are supposed to be how things are instead of with interpretation It probably doesn t hurt that the style might also appeal to the mass market in digestibility.
That said, it ended up being an entertaining read Connelly can t help himself, and as the investigation heats up, the language becomes complex to handle the demands of perception and action It ended up pulling me through the dusty Dr Seuss language into a complex web of conflict between Harry Bosch, his current supervisor, Internal Affairs, the FBI and a hidden killer Although I felt sure some of the situations introduced were red herrings and boy, was Bosch downright stupid a couple of times I wasn t sure of where it would end up I liked that there was some unpredictability, as so few mass market books actually surprise me.
The book shows it s age, particularly the lack of cell phones, with the time period reliance on pagers and pay phones Harry was always trying to get someone to run something on a computer for him and everyone was bitching about typewritten reports, and the proportion of typewriters to detectives However, that may be an appeal for some readers I m thinking it d be worth giving to my dad, former cop and Vietnam vet, who still hasn t used a cell phone and only adopted an answering machine with technological support from friends.
Overall, while Harry Bosch is no Matt Scudder, I d say it s not a bad series to break up my fantasy and sci fi reads We ll see if it follows the Spencer pattern of going downhill once Connelly achieves mass market success This book also meets the Mom Seal of Approval it s hard to put down Three and a half stars.
For Maverick LAPD Homicide Detective Harry Bosch, The Body In The Drainpipe At Mulholland Dam Is Than Another Anonymous Statistic This One Is Personalbecause The Murdered Man Was A Fellow Vietnam Tunnel Rat Who Had Fought Side By Side With Him In A Hellish Underground War Now Bosch Is About To Relive The Horror Of Nam From A Dangerous Maze Of Blind Alleys To A Daring Criminal Heist Beneath The City, His Survival Instincts Will Once Again Be Tested To Their Limit Pitted Against Enemies Inside His Own Department And Forced To Make The Agonizing Choice Between Justice And Vengeance, Bosch Goes On The Hunt For A Killer Whose True Face Will Shock Him Michael Connelly introduced his signature protagonist, Harry Bosch, in the 1992 novel The Black Echo Over twenty Harry Bosch novels have been published in this successful run for Connelly s lone wolf, battle scarred hero detective There is no such thing as a coincidence So states Hieronymus Bosch, named from the fifteenth century Dutch painter of fantastic themes Bosch was a tunnel rat in Vietnam a soldier whose job it was to enter the warrens created and maintained by the enemy and fight underground It would seem to be a wild coincidence that he is on duty when a call comes through for him to investigate the finding of a dead body in a drainage tunnel in LA and it turns out that Harry knew the dead man, a fellow tunnel rat from his time in country.
So begins Bosch s investigation into what happened to his old buddy, and Connelly s popular run of mystery novels.
While this was certainly entertaining and fun, and Bosch is a charismatic detective, mixing elements of the hard boiled investigator with a modern day, cagey world weariness, this made me think of watching film of a very young athlete who would one day become a hall of famer Connelly s later work is polished, his structure detailed and his characterizations defined As good as it is, this still reads like a debut novel from a talented but still very new author.
For a spot on description of the numerous clich s, see Kemper s excellent review.
A good start, and it is no coincidence that Bosch has remained a staple for modern day crime thrillers.
In the 80 s it didn t take me long to learn to look dubiously at book recommendations from authors, particularly if the recommender and recommendee lived in the same vicinity I would still note, say, Donald Westlake recommending Lawrence Block recommending Brian Garfield, but I would also wait for outside confirmation With the advent of the internet vicinity was no longer an accurate indicator For example, shortly after the turn of the century the gang from Busted Flush Press lived nowhere near each other and yet unrelentingly sang the praises of their fellows Often that praise, both in the past and recently, was justified Almost as often there was disappointment which of course is inevitable Any art form is subjective But on occasion there was to the disappointment than personal perspective.
So I came to Black Echo and Michael Connelly proceeded by universal acclaim stopping just short of worship How is it possible to live up to that kind of advance billing My standard response, in hopes of giving myself the best chance of enjoying the experience, is to temper expectations, particularly in the case of a first novel What a waste of energy that turned out to be Long before I d finished the book I knew I had joined the chorus.
We first meet Harry Bosch as a detective out of the Hollywood Division of the LAPD, which to an outsider might sound like a premium assignment It s not Bosch had once been a celebrity cop, successful enough in the world of 1992 pre reality TV for a movie and series to be based on his work, but after a skirmish with Internal Affairs, Hollywood was as far down as he could be demoted short of outright termination A grudge is still held by certain members of the department, in part because Bosch is a loner at heart and does not appreciate being a member of a family like the LAPD We learn immediate that most do not like working with him, although he does inspire a few loyalties His current partner, while preferring his other outside interest, will do his job and back Bosch when needed And the coroner goes out of his way to assist him But for the most part there are very few on his side, apparently with reason We often witness Bosch being surly or rude to people who are voluntarily assisting him It begs the question Why should we, the reader, like Bosch Care about him Root for him The answer Because the author has decided that we should.
Michael Connelly displays his considerable skill immediately As the detective on call, Bosch is summoned a reservoir where a junkie has overdosed in a three foot wide pipe Immediately Connelly establishes character, mood, and a sense of scene And he also understands the general rule concerning the use of coincidence once per story and as close to the beginning as possible Connelly breaks the former but the reader doesn t mind The second coincidence is to bypass the boredom inherent in routine investigation The first is to establish a personal connection to the case for Bosch He recognizes the victim as someone with whom he had served in Vietnam Again, Connelly wisely has Bosch discover signs questioning the accidental OD before he discovers the identity of the corpse.
It doesn t take long for the case to open out into something bigger The FBI become involved And Internal Affairs decides to use the opportunity to take another run at dismissing Bosch At first I feared their involvement would serve as a means of propping up the middle part of the book, to provide obstacles for Bosch to circumvent I need not have worried there either they had a legitimate part to play Connelly avoided every pitfall and checked every box.
And I even got a confession Black Echo is procedural at heart so detailed confessions are an unanticipated bonus This, I freely admit, is a personal preference I enjoy the hero tracking down the killer, beating the ticking clock and saving the day And I enjoy the detective expounding on how his deductions explained all the false clues while still leading to the solution But above all I love confessions, preferably with emotion I don t just want to know why, I want to hear why In a reality based story like this I had no right to expect anything of the kind And, truth be told, Black Echo would have been a great read without my unexpected gift With it even if you don t share my love of confessions it remains a great read Again, a testament to the skill of Connelly It doesn t jar The confession flows naturally from everything that preceded it, the next inevitable step as the story winds itself to a close.
Sometimes the popular opinion is right And I stand with the crowd.
Out of the blue and into the black is what they called going into a tunnel Each one was a black echo Nothing but death in there But, still, they went.
Reading a new detective series right from where it all began is always exciting the Harry Bosch series seems to be the perfect series for it The Black Echo is the debut novel by American crime author Michael Connelly, published back in 1992 This is the first of Connelly s Bosch series with 20 books published 21st to be published soon.
Set in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, Harry Bosch, working with the LAPD, is on the case of a dead man found in a drainage pipe Harry recognizes the corpse as that of a fellow soldier in Vietnam both were tunnel rats who searched for Viet Cong in the network of burrows beneath Vietnamese villages What starts as a routine case of homeless man dying of a drug overdose, takes unimaginable twists turns The further this investigations takes him, the further Harry is driven back to his personal abyss in Vietnam The Black Echo a term used to describe claustrophobic dark silence that tunnel rats experienced when ordered to enter deep tunnels to kill hidden enemies For Harry, the return to the repressed memories of his past is a nightmare While, Harry is investigating probably the biggest career, he is also battling his mental demons The power struggle between LAPD the FBI and two Internal Affairs investigators who have him under surveillance, adds another twist to the storyThe Black Echo was unique exciting, mainly because the plot is much complex and much original that it at first seems and the story keeps on introducing new twists, just when you think you know what s going to come The story is fairly long but you never feel bored at any point of time The whole story is set in the 90s which feels unique in this age, when cops used pagers pay phones to make calls typewriters no DNA evidence, all of which add to the story, instead of making it feel datedEvery detail of Bosch s world, even a minor one, has a role to play Even his flashbacks from Vietnam, advance the story forward in some way The plot was strong with plenty of sub plots to keep things moving forward Harry s backstory was handled craft fully You don t every detail of his past life but are told enough to know him or what is necessary Even Harry s older cases are discussed in enough detail to we know what happened Yet, all those back stories do not distract from the main story It s slipped in at every turn so that it doesn t slow things down It can be tough to really keep the pace of the book going this book and author does well to not let the story get bogged down at any point Connelly shows off his deep knowledge of cop procedure, from the examination of the death scene to the routine questioning of suspects to the characterisations of his fellow cops and superiors Also the internal politics between the LAPD, FBI IA is brilliantly depicted Connelly was crime beat reporter for the LA times and he expertly expertly combines his experience of the federal and local investigative procedures with great accuracyAs a troubled cop, Connelly s characterisation of Harry is brilliant Connelly has made Bosch realistic, giving him faults and flaws but also redeeming factors Harry is methodical but also reckless superstitious He is troubled by his personal life but is ruthless in the job Harry is a flawed hero of the modern times without any attempt made to glorify him or his actions The only thing I was disappointed with was the reveal of the inside man I could ve seen it coming for a long time But maybe I m just used to reading too many detective novels Not a surprise that this book won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992 and i think it was truly well deserved Overall, this book successfully delivers everything that anyone could ask for from a crime thriller and if you enjoy the crime genre, I would definitely recommend it An excellent mystery main character, if a bit dour I really liked the amount of detail logic in this Great twists very realistic Even the bad guys were well done or maybe they were especially well done Not all were as bad as I first thought jerks, but they had reasons Again, very realistic On to the next in the series.
The series, as I ve been able to put it together, is not just one, but is intertwined with Connelly s other series I ve put the books stories in order by combing Connelly s web site some others If you spot an error, I d really appreciate a heads up.
Connelly, Michael Reading Order Updated 25Jun2019 Thanks, John with all novels short stories broken out with links Note that GR has Harry Bosch Universe Harry Bosch World lists Mine varies from both by including ALL Connelly s characters appearing in the chronology correctly, even the minor ones I did that because there are references that would otherwise be missed Thanks to GregT not on GR for his insight into this before I got into the series Here is the Wikipedia Harry Bosch entry which also helps with the order.
org wiki HarryB01 The Black Echo Harry Bosch 1 , 199202 The Black Ice Harry Bosch 2 , 199303 The Concrete Blonde Harry Bosch 3 , 199404 The Last Coyote Harry Bosch 4 , 199505 The Poet Jack McEvoy 1 , 1996 5.
5 Suicide Run 2007 in Suicide Run Three Harry Bosch Stories, 2011 was moved from 17.
5 to 11.
6 then to 5.
5 Harry is working with Edgar out of the Hollywood division Kiz Rider is a lab tech Thanks, John 06 Trunk Music Harry Bosch 5 , 199707 Blood Work Terry McCaleb 1 , 199808 Angels Flight Harry Bosch 6 , 199909 Void Moon Cassie Black 1 2000 9.
5 Cielo Azul 2001 in Suicide Run Three Harry Bosch Stories, 2011 Moved because view spoiler TM names his daughter this she appears in 10 hide spoiler
5 One cop s word against another s was something they wouldn t touch in this department Deep down, they knew a cop s word by itself was worthless That was why Internal Affairs cops always worked in pairs This is my first crack at the extremely popular Bosch series, and it s no surprise that I liked it We re introduced to a middle aged cop who may have executed rather than, as he claimed, defended himself against a particularly evil villain As a consequence, he s been moved on and is now part of the Los Angeles Police Dept The book opens with a young kid tagging a big pipe in the middle of the night when he hears a vehicle and hides in time to see someone drag a body into the pipe He makes an anonymous call to the cops and hightails it out of there Dead body This was written in 1992, so it s a time of pagers and payphones and tape recorders no instant communication here I was surprised all the phones were working, incidentally A bit like some old detective shows where they can pull up and park in front of wherever they re going, but I digress.
Anonymous rhymes with Hieronymus, Bosch tells us Mother liked the old Dutch painter, so why not Bosch, ma am Hieronymus Bosch Doesn t have quite the same ring to it as Bond James Bond, does it Harry s a Vietnam vet, suffers badly, sleeps poorly, enjoys a drink, and lives on coffee and cigarettes So he s ready to go see a body anytime, day or night Is he okay The psych evaluation after his shooting seems to hedge its bets the evaluation report on a psychological given Bosch the year before to determine if he should be allowed to return to duty after killing an unarmed man The department psychologist wrote He speaks in terms of violence or the aspect of violence or the aspect of violence being an accepted part of his day to day life, for all of his life He will be able to pull the trigger In fact, his conversation reveals no ill effects at all from the shooting, unless his sense of satisfaction with the outcome of the incident the suspect s death should be deemed inappropriateThe suspect s death That s the practically public enemy I mentioned earlier, the one Bosch claimed might have been reaching for a gun when Bosch stopped him Or topped him They should have given him a medal for taking the guy off the streets, but the law doesn t work that way Someone later quotes J Edgar Hoover as sayingJustice is incidental to law and orderI ve seen many similar observations, and I m inclined to agree But I also remember a film about a so called Star Chamber where a group of judges used to meet and compare notes on villains who got off, and then they arranged an assassination It was a very satisfying thought, until they targeted the wrong guy, and it all went pear shaped I guess law and order may have to do until we find a better system But I digress again, sorry.
Bosch has to work with the FBI, which gives him no pleasure, and the fact that the victim in the pipe was someone he used to know who worked with him in the miles of tunnels in Vietnam causes flare ups of his war memories There are a couple of inept FBI agents, Lewis and Clarke, who do get referred to disparagingly as the explorers Each man was built wide and low to the ground for better handling Each had a slightly forward tilt to his body, as if he were wading out to sea, crashing through breakers with his face There is also a lovely female FBI agent, which breaks the monotony of the otherwise testosterone filled story It helps us understand Harry to have someone like her asking about his background I can t imagine any of the other characters having that kind of conversation with him They bond over a painting I have always loved, Edward Hopper s Nighthawks I would think a lot of cops and people working at night would identify with this.
Illustration of Edward Hopper s Nighthawks 1942There was a section in the middle where I worried we were going to get bogged down in the logistics of the rather complicated operation of smoking out the bad guys, so to speak, but then the action ramped up, and it soon became clear why things were spelled out.
Suffice to say I learned a lot about tunnels in Vietnam and L.
A No wonder the world is full of sinkholes these days I ve also read about the people who hid in enormous underground cave systems during WWII, so I m wondering how many levels of the planet we could actually be living on I digress yet again.
All in all, a great read, and I m looking forward to the next one now.
Published in 1992, this is the book that introduced L.
D homicide detective, Harry Bosch The series, which runs twenty four books thus far, has remained strong throughout and is, almost certainly, the gold standard of modern police procedurals.
When we first meet Harry, he s already forty two years old and has been the product of one institution after another for virtually his entire life His father left the family when Harry was very young and Harry never really knew him Harry s mother turned to prostitution and was murdered when Harry was eleven After her death, he was assigned to California s version of child protective services He spent the rest of his youth in a series of foster homes, then joined the army and served in Vietnam Upon leaving the service, he joined the L.
, eventually becoming something of a star in the Homicide Division.
The fact that Bosh was a Vietnam vet and already forty two in his initial outing would ultimately put his creator, Michael Connelly, in something of a box By the time the series was to the current halfway point, Harry was already in his middle fifties and staring at retirement, a situation which limited the author s options Still, Connelly has addressed the problem in innovative ways, although one wonders whether, if he had it to do all over again, he might have dealt with the situation in a different fashion.
Given that he s forty two, with a long career already behind him, Bosch appears in these pages as a character that s already almost fully formed He s a rare animal in the L.
D in that he genuinely cares about the job and about achieving justice for the victims of the crimes he investigates Later in the series, he will articulate his motto, which is that Everybody counts or nobody counts But it s clear that he s already driven by this principle when we first meet him.
For Harry, it s often a pretty lonely road in a department that basically seems to be filled with self serving cops and bureaucrats who are much less interested in serving justice than they are in achieving their own ends For example, Harry s partner has a side career in real estate and makes it very clear that the real estate job is much important to him than being a cop All he wants to do is put in his twenty years, collect his pension, and go into real estate full time And if one of his current jobs gets in the way of the other, likely it will be the police work that suffers.
If anything, the people in the chain of command above Harry are even worse They re much interested in advancing their own careers and protecting the image of the department than they are in the department s mission to serve and protect And this means that Bosch is going to be in trouble almost all the time, in this book and throughout his career Everybody admits that Harry is a brilliant detective, but he s not a team player and his actions occasionally embarrass the department Accordingly, the Powers That Be would just as soon force Harry off the job and he s constantly battling against his superiors and against detectives from the Internal Affairs Division who will go to almost any lengths to dig up dirt against him.
Not that Harry is all that congenial himself For whatever reason, perhaps because of his background, he doesn t relate very well to other people and it seems at times as though he goes out of his way to offend people, even when they re trying to get along with him A prime example is his smoking By 1992, the health hazards of smoking and of second hand smoke were pretty well established and already, lots of offices, restaurants and other such places were supposed to be smoke free Harry could care less and assumes that the rules simply don t apply to him He s constantly lighting up in places where smoking is prohibited and in the presence of people who specifically ask him not to smoke Even in the company of a woman he s allegedly trying to impress, Bosch still insists on smoking, even though it clearly annoys her In fact, he becomes something of an asshole on this issue It s hardly the way to win friends and influence people, but Harry clearly doesn t care The Black Echo begins when Harry is called to a death site near a dam It appears that a heroin addict has crawled into a large pipe and overdosed The case should be open and shut, and Harry s partner, the real estate salesman, clearly wants to declare it an OD and get back to the open house that he s hosting But the scene doesn t look right to Harry and he pushes forward with the investigation.
Things really get interesting when the body is finally pulled out of the pipe and Harry vaguely recognizes the victim as William Meadows who served with Bosch in Vietnam The two were tunnel rats who went deep underground to explore and destroy enemy tunnels As Harry presses forward he discovers any number of other incongruities and ties Meadows to a crime that is currently under investigation by the F.
Bosch contacts the F.
, hoping to link their two investigations in an attempt to solve both the murder case that Harry is pursuing and the crime that the Fibbies are investigating But the Bureau is just as hide bound and as self serving as the L.
, and Harry runs into roadblocks there as well.
Any other detective would almost certainly give up and just follow orders to lay off But not Harry Bosch He will pursue this case to the bitter end, no matter who he has to alienate or what he has to sacrifice in the process And in this case it takes him through a brilliantly plotted story that leads to a tremendous climax From the very beginning Harry Bosch has been one of the most compelling figures ever to inhabit the world of crime fiction and he continues to fill that role twenty four years down the road from this book The Black Echo is a great beginning to what has become a fabulous series.
I was not disappointed, but blown away instead This is a perfect detective mystery tale Connelly s storytelling gifts are many and varied He is a master of pacing, has a knack for creating multi dimensional characters, writes realistic dialogue, a creates a robust plot The best part is that even after you think you figured out the caper, you haven t, because there are so many layers to Connelly s writing that you ve only peeled it back to the next.