Book Review: Black Echo – Michael Connelly

Book: Black Echo

Author: Michael Connelly

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Black EchoSome people say, you come into this world alone and you die alone.  Or in this case, once a tunnel rat always a tunnel rat.  In Michael Connelly’s first novel of the Detective Harry Bosch series, The Black Echo, when a dead body turns up Bosche must relive his tunnel rat days of Nam.  Because this one is personal.  Like the tunnels in Vietnam, Bosch must navigate the alleys beneath a city to stop a heist that holds the link to everything.

Where to start?  Well, you know, I wanted to like this book.  I really did.  I read a bunch of books in both Connelly’s Mickey Haller and Jack McEvoy series before reading this one, so I was all excited.  But, I’m not gonna lie, what a freaking let down.

Right off the bat, I didn’t like Connelly’s character, Harry Bosch, who is cold, aloof, and a bit of a curmudgeon.  I tried to connect with him, but I couldn’t.  And I’m not too sure why that is.  The book has great descriptions, there’s a decent amount of action, and it moves along at an okay pace.  Perhaps it’s because I found the story lacking in emotional depth.  I know it’s a thriller novel and they’re more action over emotions, but I want to feel a little something.  I want to connect to the character in some way.  And I didn’t find that here.  Or  maybe I couldn’t connect because he comes off as your stereotypical detective who is like the millions of other ones out there.  A bachelor who smokes and drinks too much, no family (or no family that he acknowledges or does anything with), bit of a loner who likes one-night stands, doesn’t work well with others… you get the picture.  And most of the time I don’t mind the stereotypical detective if the story is good.  But in this case, I didn’t feel the story was good enough to transcend the character faults.

At points I found myself either skimming because I was losing interest or had to force myself to pick up the book and continue on.  The story isn’t bad… it’s just… not terribly exciting.  I’m not sure what would perk it up.  Maybe the whole tunnel rat thing could have been better utilized or a little less of the detectives sitting around chatting or maybe a little bit of the villain’s perspective could have done the trick.  Or maybe it’s just meant for an older generation who remember Vietnam better… like my Dad, who really enjoyed the story.

Oh and the “twist” at the end… I wouldn’t call it much of a twist.  I pretty much had a feeling that was the direction it would go and guess what?  It went there.  My Dad said the same thing, so there’s two votes for no curve in the road.  But I’ll let you decide that.


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