The Black Echo by Michael Connelly is the first appearance of detective Harry Bosch and the birth of the Harry Bosch Universe. The story for The Black Echo is used for the main story of Bosch Season 3 on Amazon Prime. I recently watched that season and wanted to know the original story. I had read The Black Echo 15 years ago, I still remembered some beats to the story but was still shocked by the twist and turns in the story. The thing I like about this book is we get to detect with Harry Bosch, the reader discovers all the clues with him, the story is very detailed, sometimes too detailed. I liked the twist and thought they fit with the narrative. The Black Echo overall story was good and compelling. This is Connelly’s debut so there is a little issue of pacing. There’s a final twist that I saw coming and I had to wait 50 pages to get it, which was way too long. But for this novel being a debut it is really good the character of Harry Bosch is special, and it is awesome that the character has expanded to 25 novels. We get to learn Bosch’s code and which rules he’s willing to bend and which he’s willing to break, at the end of this novel his morals are put to the test. The Black Echo was published in 1992.
The Plot: Harry Bosch has just came off a suspension for an officer involved shooting. He has just got a call about a body being in a water main pipe. The 9-1-1 call was anonymous. Bosch finds a heroin needle in his arm and a tattoo, that Bosch also has the is military and special for a tunnel division in Vietnam. Bosch I.D.s the body on the spot as Meadows and rushes the corner to determine cause of death since the heroin marks are all old except the one that supposedly killed him. Bosch goes to the bodies home and can tell it was searched over, he finds a hidden pawn ticket, and goes to the pawn shop to find it has been robbed and the item on the pawn ticket was taken. Bosch does some investigating and finds the item was stolen from a bank robbery involving tunnels. Bosch goes to the FBI who are investigating and they reluctantly let him join after he threaten to go to the press. They look for the anonymous 9-1-1 caller to find out if he saw the killers and is not being hunted by the killers. Bosch himself is being hunted my 2 internal affairs officers that are willing to bend the same rules Bosch does to catch him. This starts a wild ride of twist and turns that involve events that took place in Vietnam 20 years ago.
What I Liked: How the reader follows the detective process along with Bosch. I love the character of Bosch who is drawn to detective work because his since of write and wrong, we learn that his mother was a prostitute that was murdered and Bosch went to foster homes. This in stilled him with a code and an empathy for those that have the same fate, he never wants to see someone go through what he went through. I liked the internal affairs investigation angle that was interesting to see especially the way it all played out. I liked the twist and turns and how everything was backed up narrative that explained everything, and the twist make sense once we have the character’s background. I liked the descriptions of Los Angeles cityscape, and the word choice on average descriptors. I liked that the Black Echo referred to the tunnel system, and being so dark all you see is black and your own echo.
What I Disliked: The Pacing wasn’t always the best, the strength of the mystery lets you put up with a lot. I felt the Vietnam angle was a little bit confusing, and it seems like too many people knew what was going on. I still wanted to know more about how everything was set up, the tunnel crew and how they met up could have needed a little more explaining, this is the only part I feel did not get explained enough or over explained.
Recommendations: If you are a fan on the show Bosch and have to read things in order you have to read this one. Having read a couple of Bosch stories I can’t remember the Vietnam coming up again. I think this was a good debut but if you are a casual reader of Connelly this could be one you skip and read another Bosch adventure The Concrete Blonde which is the 3rd Bosch is my favorite and one I intend to reread and review for the blog. I rated The Black Echo 3 out of 5 stars.