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The Black Echo (A Harry Bosch Novel, 1) Paperback – March 9, 2021
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For maverick LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch, the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland Dam is more than another anonymous statistic. This one is personal . . . because 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.
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"It's impossible for Connelly to tell a bad story." - The Arizona Republic
"Michael Connelly writes with a seamless unity of tone and pace that makes reading his crime novels absolutely effortless and totally engaging...his narrative rolls out in a perfect parade of action, memory, emotion, color and tension." - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
About the Author
- Publisher : Grand Central Publishing (March 9, 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1538737949
- ISBN-13 : 978-1538737941
- Item Weight : 12.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.3 x 1.45 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #117,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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Connelly does not resort to pacing, chase scenes, and the like to drive the story. Nor does he leave the reader hanging at the end of a chapter, then change the scene in the next chapter, just to create tension. He just tells a damn good story and lets it play out. I 'm glad there are 20+ books on Harry Bosch, because I'm already addicted.
In The Black Echo, Harry is a twenty-year veteran of the force, "the famous Harry Bosch, detective superstar, a couple books written about his cases. TV movie. A spinoff series." He is "an outsider in an insider's job." Harry has bought a house in the hills with money he received for the film made about his work, and he has already alienated most of the cops who work with him, especially the brass in LAPD headquarters at Parker Center. He is under investigation by Internal Affairs, not for the first time and certainly not for the last.
The Black Echo, the first Harry Bosch novel, tells the tale of a protracted and difficult investigation into a daring year-old bank heist. As the investigation unfolds, complications steadily arise. Harry is doggedly pursued by two thuggish detectives from Internal Affairs. Key characters are murdered. Harry becomes close to Eleanor Wish, the FBI special agent with whom he is paired in the investigation. (In later novels, she will become his wife and mother of his daughter.) And the case takes on implications that go far beyond Los Angeles. It's an engrossing and suspenseful story.
More importantly, however, The Black Echo serves to provide the backstory about Harry's combat experience in Vietnam early in the 1970s. The "black echo" of the title crops up again and again, reflecting Harry's deployment as a "tunnel rat" pursuing Vietcong soldiers through the network of tunnels they have dug throughout much of the country. "Out of the blue and into the black is what they called going into a tunnel," Connelly writes. "Each one was a black echo. Nothing but death in there. But, still, they went."
Harry explains further in a conversation with Eleanor: "It was the darkness, the damp emptiness you'd feel when you were down there alone in those tunnels. It was like you were in a place where you felt dead and buried in the dark. But you were alive. And you were scared. Your own breath kind of echoed in the darkness, loud enough to give you away. Or so you thought. I don't know. It's hard to explain. Just . . . the black echo."
Cop shows are usually full of the usual cliches- good looking cops driving fancy cars for example. And it's often easy to predict the ending. But that's not the case in the Bosch novels/TV show. Here we have a realistic, flawed main character. And the cases he works on are not solved in an hour.
The Black Echo Novel takes the same meticulous approach the tv show does. Connelly puts you on the gritty streets of Los Angeles. You go along with Detective Bosch in his quest to solve a mystery. It starts with a dead body in a drainage pipe and ends with bank robberies and FBI intrigue. And you're along for the ride.
These stories are not for the impatient. Like real life, it takes a lot of work to solve a murder, particularly when it's committed by smart people. And we get all the details. There's Bosch tailing a suspect, getting coffee, and in his spare time having a fling with an FBI Agent. And we get the dirty politics of Los Angeles too. You have ambitious internal affairs officers following Bosch and trying to catch him doing something dirty. Just think of them as 'The Rat Squad.'
In Summary, I think the show and books are a great template that more people should follow. The creator/author of a great series of books was given creative freedom by Amazon to produce a series that is very faithful to the books. Think of it as the opposite of Dune. That was a great epic book which was turned into a horrible movie.
Top reviews from other countries
Harry is best described as "a detective who would do the right thing no matter what the cost. A man with a sharp worn code of conduct. A classic outsider.".... In The Black Echo we learn about Harry's activities as a tunnel rat during the Vietnam war and how the horrors of this underground hell helped shape him as a detective with the will to survive and a loner's code of justice. When the body of a fellow "rat" Billy Meadows is discovered in a drain outlet, Harry is determined to find the perpetrator responsible and bring justice to his onetime comrade in arms. In this endeavour he is joined by FBI agent Eleanor Wish, a relationship develops that becomes personal and leaves Harry wondering if her intentions are honourable or does she harbor an underlying agenda.
The weakness of the story is the plot; dirty money profits from Saigon laundered as diamonds/precious stones and kept secret in a bank vault in downtown LA. The only way to retrieve the hidden stash is to tunnel deep into the innards of the bank. In contrast the strength of the story is the superb charactization of the main players. Bosch, Eleanor Wish and Deputy Chief Irvin Irving who appears to be on a one man crusade against what he views as underhand tactics by a maverick lone detective.
As always Michael Connnelly is razor sharp in his acute observations of the human spirit....."Sunsets did that here. Made you forget it was the smog that made their colors so brilliant, and that behind every pretty picture there could be an ugly story."....."He was a worn-out old man whose eyes had quit caring about anything but the odds on three year olds"..."I believe that shit happens. I believe that the best you can do in this job is come out even".......
The book itself follows the well used loner cop with a few personal problems, but the characters are well drawn and interesting. The story itself is well crafted and interesting, and the city is really nicely described. Given the book is now 25 years old, there are some bits of the that make you smile given todays connected world. Of course any Vietnam vets are now far older than Bosch's character, but that did not bother me in the least, and I am happy to have a new series of books to read.
What starts out as a mundane 'tick the boxes' trip for a suspected OD unfolds into an absorbing, helter-skelter investigation for Harry Bosch.
As each layer of the plot is pared back before us we begin to wonder if, as in real life, nothing is ever as it first appears.
We're on a train journey where we pull slowly out of the station and as the chapters tick by we pick up speed; the final scenes whistle past but you cannot take in the view, you are glued to the page. Those nagging doubts about certain snippets of information you've been fed finally resolve themselves into an answer you were hoping not to be told. A superbly crafted story.
Short version: I totally recommend this - it's utterly riveting. Get it!
Longer version: Not really a TV person but bc of Prime, occasionally watch pilot episodes of anything that looks interesting. With Bosch, I'm now in the middle of season 5. It's a bit grim but also utterly compelling. So figured I'd check out the first book (written in '92, so no cell phones: Maybe fellow Generation Xers who remember life before the cell phone/tech explosion will appreciate this more than millennials?) and even though things are slightly different (he's never married and Maddie doesn't exist yet) and events that happen in season 3 were sourced from this book, it's still so good!
I won't go into details, but the author's skill is phenomenal. I'm so glad to own this and look forward to working my way through the series and maybe even branching out to the author's other characters.
If you bear in mind this novel series was begun shortly after the 80s ended and don't expect things to be just like in the show, you'll probably get along fine with it.