The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
The Black Echo by Michael Connelly. This edition Orion, 2012

I picked up a copy of this book for free through a Kindle promotion over the Christmas period, and as I’m a bit of a fan of hardboiled detective stories I finally decided to give it a read. To be honest, I’m having a mixed reaction to this one.

On the one hand it definitely captures the feel of classic hardboiled writers like Chandler, Hammett, et al. The main character, Heironymus ‘Harry’ Bosch, is strongly reminiscent of his forebears from those other writers’ works, and the structure and language of the novel wouldn’t be entirely out of place in a 30’s or 40’s pulp novel. In this respect the book works well, and made it a fun read.

And then there’s the not-so-good. There are a few places within the novel where Connelly repeats himself unnecessarily, re-telling us details about Bosch’s background that have already been provided earlier in the story, or providing yet another description of Bosch’s house on the hill with its wonderful view. This, along with some aspects of the pace of the novel, mark the book clearly as a first novel, though perhaps this is something that should have been addressed up by the publisher’s editors.

All things considered, the negatives I’ve mentioned aren’t bad enough as to make this an unreadable book, and on balance I’d still recommend it to other fans of the hardboiled genre. All in all, a fairly good start to a series.

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