Review: The Black Echo, by Michael Connelly


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Orion, reissued 2009. Paperback edition. Fist published in Great Britain in 1992. 456 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4072-3489-2.

LAPD detective Harry Bosch and his partner Jerry Edgar have received an alert on their pager. A body has been found in a pipe on the road to the Mulholland Dam near lake Hollywood. It looks like another straightforward case of overdose. But Bosch is not convinced. Some things do not fit. All the needle marks, but one, were old. And there is something else. Bosch has known this man. He was Bill Meadows. The last time he saw Meadows was about twenty years ago in Saigon. Meadows and Bosch, had served together as ‘tunnel rats’ during the war. In fact the book title refers to the term used by American soldiers to describe the conditions within the Cu Chi tunnels (see Cu Chi tunnels at Wikipedia). As the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that Meadows had been involved in the WestLand National Bank burglary. In an attempt to solve both cases, Bosch will team up with FBI Special Agent Eleanor Wish.

During the story, the reader will know that Bosch, after serving in Vietnam, joined the LAPD and was quickly promoted. In eight years he reached the position of detective in the elite Robbery-Homicide Division. Then came his fall. Following some months of suspension, after killing the main suspect in the ‘Dollmaker’ case, Bosch was transferred to Homicides, in the Hollywood Division.

The Black Echo is Michael Connelly’s debut novel and the first one in his series starring LAPD detective Harry Bosch. The Black Echo won the 1993 Edgar Award for Best First Mystery Novel awarded by the Mystery Writers of America.

Although the plot is rather complex, the book is easy to read and I found it very engaging. It may have too many subplots in my view, and has some flaws which are pretty common in a first novel. But, above all, stands out the character of Harry Bosch himself, even if the rest of the characters seem to me rather clichés. All in all, I very much enjoyed this book. And it serves as an excellent introduction to one of my favourite series.  

My rating: 3/5. 

The Black Echo has been reviewed at Reactions to Reading (Bernadette) and at Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan (Bill).

The Orion Publishing Books

Hachette Book Group

Michael Connelly Official Website 

El Eco Negro de Michael Connelly

El eco negro (ebook)El detective Harry Bosch de la policía de Los Ángeles y su compañero Jerry Edgar reciben una alerta en su busca. Se ha encontrado un cuerpo en una tubería en el camino de la presa de Mulholland cerca del lago Hollywood. Parece un caso sencillo de sobredosis. Pero Bosch no está convencido. Hay cosas que no encajan. Todas las marcas de agujas, excepto una, eran viejas. Además hay algo más. Bosch ha conocido a este hombre. Era Bill Meadows. La última vez que vio a Meadows fue hace aproximadamente veinte años en Saigón. Meadows y Bosch, habían servido juntos como “ratas de túnel” durante la guerra. De hecho, el título del libro se refiere a la expresión utilizada por los soldados estadounidenses para describir las condiciones en los túneles de Cú Chi (ver túneles de Cuchi en Wikipedia). Conforme se va desarrollando la trama, resulta evidente que Meadows había estado involucrado en el robo del Banco Nacional WestLand. En un intento por resolver ambos casos, Bosch formará equipo con la agente especial del FBI Eleanor Wish.

Durante la historia, el lector conocerá que Bosch, después de servir en Vietnam, se incorporó a la policía de Los Ángeles y ascendió rápidamente. En ocho años alcanzó el puesto de detective en la elitista División de Robos y Homicidios. Después llegó su caida. Tras algunos meses de suspensión, acusado de matar al principal sospechoso en el caso del ‘Fabricante de Muñecas’, Bosch fue trasladado a Homicidios, en la División de Hollywood.

El eco negro es la primera novela de Michael Connelly y la primera de su serie protagonizada por el detective Harry Bosch de la policía de Los Ángeles. El eco negro ganó en el 1993 el Premio Edgar a la Mejor Primera Novela de Misterio otorgado por los Escritores de Misterio de los Estados Unidos.

Aunque la trama es bastante compleja, el libro es de fácil lectura y me pareció muy interesante. Puede que tenga demasiadas tramas secundarias en mi opinión, y tiene algunos defectos, que son muy comunes en una primera novela. Pero, sobre todo, destaca el personaje del propio Harry Bosch, aunque el resto de los personajes me parecen bastante tópicos. Con todo me gustó mucho este libro. Y sirve como una excelente introducción a una de mis series favoritas.

Mi calificación: 3/5.

Roca editorial

El rincón de Michael Connelly

Woodrow Wilson Drive

7 thoughts on “Review: The Black Echo, by Michael Connelly

  1. José Ignacio – I am glad you enjoyed The Black Echo, even if it was no at the very top of your list. I am a big fan of Connelly’s work, so of course, I am biased. But I believe it’s the start of one of the very fine series out there. I think though that the series has improved over time.

  2. I read perhaps too much Connelly at one point, making the Bosch books seem a bit too similar (especially what seemed like an inevitable police/political cover-up subplot) – maybe time to try again as it has been a good long while for me – thanks José Ignacio.

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