Friday, June 22, 2012

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

Okay, after a couple days putting off my review, it's time. Michael Connelly's The Black Echo is the first in his bestselling series about Detective Harry Bosch. I've heard mixed reviews about the series, and I think I can see why. This book was so-so. Not particularly good, but not the worst book and still mostly enjoyable. This is probably the most neutral I've felt about a book in a while, so it gets an average 3 out of 5 stars in my book.

From the publisher:
For LAPD homicide cop harry Bosch -- hero, maverick, nighthawk -- the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland Dam is more than another anonymous statistic. This one is personal.
The dead man, Billy Meadows, was a fellow Vietnam "tunnel rat" who fought side by side with him in a nightmare underground war that brought them to the depths of hell. 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 to the tortuous link that must be uncovered, his survival instincts will once again be tested to their limit. Joining with an enigmatic and seductive female FBI agent, pitted against enemies inside his own department, Bosch must make the agonizing choice between justice and vengeance, as he tracks down a killer whose true face will shock him.

My thoughts:
There are a lot of big fun-sounding words in that description, and I think it oversells The Black Echo a little bit too much (granted, that's what publishers want to do in the first place). Bosch is an immensely likable character, mostly because he embodies what many US police officers do not- a strong moral fiber with a lack of regard for what anyone, even his superiors, have to say about his methods of succeeding in his cases. He is fun to read about, and I almost wish this story was told from his perspective rather than from a third person perspective. Or, maybe I'm just biased because of the narrative used in Patterson's Alex Cross and Michael Bennett stories.

The plot itself was alright, nothing fancy or special. The beginning seemed to drag on, the middle got interesting, and the end was somehow both more abrupt and more slow-paced than it needed to be. And I have no idea how I managed to feel it was both of those two contradicting points. The story's loose ends were tied up almost carelessly in my opinion, but it was done well enough that it worked anyway.

I think one big issue I had didn't even have to do with the book at all. I've heard such rave reviews for The Lincoln Lawyer, and while I had only received mixed reviews for this book, I somehow was still under the impression that this book was going to be much more... 'oomph'y. I got my hopes up, obviously. This was fun, and interesting, and I think I was just jaded by my preconceptions that I would be more blown away by this book. On the bright side, the next Connelly book I read will be my recently purchased copy of The Lincoln Lawyer, which I've been assured will not disappoint me (by several people, so we'll see if they're right).

- Justin :)

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