on 4 March 2015
Top class. Michael Connelly writes intelligently and paces his stories perfectly with just the right balance of crime and exposition of the personal life of Harry Bosch. I envy anyone who has not yet discovered this great series.
on 23 April 2015
I can't get enough of Harry Bosch. I think Michael Connelly's hero is just great. Like the rest of us he is flawed but I love his integrity. I haven't read any of Michael Connelly's other books yet but I feel like I know everywhere Harry goes, yet I've never been to the US.
LAPD Detective Harry Bosch has been 'back with a badge' and working alongside partner Kiz Rider for a year or two, but not in the elite Robbery Homicide team where he used to be before he retired. Now he's working in the Open-Unsolved unit, in other words the cold cases, and this story begins thirteen years earlier in 1993 with Bosch's original involvement as a Hollywood Homicide detective in the case of a young woman named Marie Gesto who had gone missing and was presumed dead. At the time, Bosch had a strong feeling for the probable killer but he couldn't nail it on him as there was no hard evidence.
Jump forward thirteen years to 2006 and the case of Marie Gesto is blown wide open - but not in the way Bosch expected. A man is in custody, arrested for being found with the dismembered body parts of two women in his van, and soon he confesses not only to these murders and a string of others, but also to the murder of Marie Gesto all those years ago. Not for the first time, Bosch gets this feeling that something isn't right, despite the confession and the fact that the culprit knows where Gesto's body is buried. Bosch can't really argue with the bald facts but still he feels uncomfortable with what's going on, and as has often happened before, he sets out on a one-man mission for justice while he is supposed to be on home leave. Soon, as a result of meticulous detective work, he finds himself getting closer to the truth and the signs of some serious corruption within the LAPD. He is aided by lover and FBI Agent Rachel Waller who we first came across in a non-Bosch novel THE POET and again in its sequel THE NARROWS, when Bosch was working independently as a private investigator. There are numerous other familiar characters in Echo Park from novels past, including Jerry Edgar, Keisha Russell and Irvine Irving but Bosch's ex-wife Eleanor Wish and their daughter Madeleine, while briefly mentioned, don't actually feature in person.
While some have commented on the absence of that 'dark side' to Bosch that made him so appealing in the earliest episodes, personally I felt it right and reasonable that, after voluntarily returning to the force in his mid-fifties, Bosch should be entitled to some sense of balance and fulfilment in his life. I mean, he's actually described as being happy! The simple fact is that he feels born to seek justice for those who have been wronged - usually murdered, actually - and he has also found some comfort in his personal life for once, in the attractive shape of 40-something Rachel Walling. It's probably a good idea to read at least THE NARROWS before this so as to understand why they share the bond that they do, otherwise anyone new to the Bosch tales might find that in this novel the rapid progress of their relationship seems somewhat unlikely. But these two have an important history which isn't explained in these pages. In my case, I bought Echo Park as a hardback when it was first published two years ago, and I've only now gotten round to reading it because I decided to invest in the entire Connelly portfolio and read it in the right order. It's been a fantastic experience working my way through all these (mostly) brilliant stories but a frustrating one too because I knew all along that Echo Park was one of Connelly's best. Now that I have closed the final page, I can confirm that it is indeed one of the best - and it has some tough competition!
It's great because it demonstrates how Bosch has evolved into the man he is today, he still has those unique investigative instincts and he's still hardened by his experiences as a tunnel rat in Vietnam more then thirty years earlier, but there's just a hint of mellowness to him now that is a probable outcome of his retirement and return, and of his recently discovered fatherhood. We all change and mature throughout our lives and Harry Bosch is no different. But he still has that edge, that special something that is such a magnetic draw and continues to keep him right at the very top of crime fiction heroes. I am sure I'm not the only one to feel, at least when I'm buried deep in his latest novel, that he really does exist, that he's out there somewhere, and that I don't want any harm to come to him. That's what makes the difference; when you really care about the central character, then three-quarters of the job has been done. All it then needs is an exciting and well-written story wrapped around him and you end up with an engrossing and thoroughly satisfying read. And that's exactly what this is, even if, at the conclusion, Harry Bosch doesn't exactly end up smelling of roses and he finds that he's still learning some hard lessons from life on the beat as a sometimes maverick L.A. cop.
on 29 November 2014
It's difficult for me to review this as a stand-alone book. It is the 12th in the series so I would not recommend reading this one first. There are references to Harry Bosch's past which will mean the most to those of us who have read the preceding 11 books. If you have read and enjoyed those you will almost certainly enjoy this one. If you haven't enjoyed the others you probably won't bother with this one.
I like the characters involved and the descriptions of Los Angeles - not that I have ever been there. The slight annoyance is the overuse of initials which is a common complaint of mine in this series - we all know what the FBI is, but I struggle with most of the other initials, which are sometimes explained, but not always.
on 8 December 2012
Michael Connelly is a very believeable story teller and I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would strongly recommend it. Harry is a hardened Detective with a great knowledge of criminal minds and how they work.
on 23 August 2007
Another great Harry Bosch story. Michael Connelly is such a superb storyteller that you can read it a as stand alone novel or enjoy it as the next in the series.
Bosch is now in the Open-Unsolved Unit where he still keeps the file on the Marie Gesto case on his desk 13 years after her murder. It was never solved and is the one case Harry wants to crack above all others. Out of the blue he gets a call from the DA; a suspect has agreed to plead to the killing to avoid the death penalty on the new murder charge he now faces.
As he works the case he starts to realise the he and his partner may well have missed vital evidence which would have lead them to the murderer at the time and that the new suspect may in fact be innocent of this crime but guilty of many more he has not admitted to. Bosch starts to doubt the motives of the DA who is running for office and when the suspect escapes leaving two dead cops he is forced to contact an FBI profiler from the FBI to track him down and get to the bottom of what is really going on.
This is superbly crafted thriller; Connelly has woven five different and intriguing strands into this story - old murder, current murder, a serial killer, a dodgy DA, old relationships, new friends and lots of twist and turns along the way.
on 5 June 2007
Thirteen years after the disappearance of Marie Gesto the case is still haunting Harry Bosch. Then one day he gets a call that a serial killer known as The Bag Man wants to confess the murder of Marie. The murderer knows all the right details, can even lead them to the body, but Harry is still not convinced that Raynard Waits is the killer. The complicating factor is the assistant DA in charge: Rick O'Shea is running for DA and can certainly use a lot of positive media attention. Harry suspects that O'Shea has made a deal with Waits' attorney and the matter gets even more complicated when Waits escapes, leaving 2 officers dead and one wounded. Together with an old profiling friend from the FBI, Rachel Walling, Bosch tries to find the true identity of Waits and his whereabouts. Eventually he finds the guy in his foxhole, but the conspiracy is completely different from what Bosch originally envisaged.
A true page turner. I read the nearly 400 pages in less than 24 hours: before getting up, during my lunch break and any other moment I could find. However, the end of the book provides information on Harry Bosch which is not only unexpected but also not what you want to know about the (anti-)hero of the Bosch series. This left a bit of a bitter aftertaste.
After a couple of merely good Bosch novels, Connolly returns to absolutely top form with Echo Park. Bosch has always been a satisfying blend of righteous intent, deep character flaws and a car crash personal life, but still you'll find some development.
The plot starts on familiar ground, (although new readers should ignore that comment as this can and does stand on its own as a novel) with a long ago unsolved case exercising Bosch and his partner Kiz Rider. Things soon escalate, as this case is part of a serial killer investigation, and before long Bosch is knee deep in political waters - never his favourite.
From there, the plot twists and turns, through 5 distinct parts of the story, but the odds are that you won't see them coming - Connolly really is the master of this genre. By the end little is as we first see it, and even Bosch hasn't emerged unscathed. As far as storyline goes this could just be the best of all the Bosch novels.
For new readers of Connolly - what are you waiting for, this is as good as Detective fiction gets - read any of his books and I defy you not to want to read them all. For established fans - you'll love it.
on 12 October 2006
For thirteen years, something's troubled Harry Bosch. Marie Gesto, pretty 22-year-old, was abducted and presumed dead, her body- and her killer- never found. Despite an exhaustive investigation, Harry's intuition tells him there's something about the unsolved murder he's overlooked, a critical piece of the puzzle that's staring him in the face but he just can't see, some telling detail out of hundreds in the case that points to the killer's identity but refuses to come into focus, maybe- just maybe- because of his overbearing ego, or some defect in his detective skills...
And then a break in the case. A killer caught, a confession and a body found. Case closed?
Harry's suspicions still tells him no, but he's not sure why. Maybe he should just let it go, swallow his pride and admit he could have caught the killer years ago. But things just don't add up, the confession too convenient for all those involved, his instincts nagging him that the real killer is still out there and now very, very close...
Welcome to Echo Park, Michael Connelly's latest installment in the trials and tribulations of Detective Harry Bosch. Unlike many one-dimensional fictional detectives, Harry is an expertly drawn character with all the flaws, foibles and contradictions that make humans...well, human. His cunning and street-smarts- along with his near paranoia and self-doubts- place him high up in the pecking order of memorable gumshoes. Better still, all the characters in Echo Park strike a true note, even the disposable ones.
And the plot! It's been said that good plots flow from good characters, and Echo Park proves that rule. The seemingly innocuous details and things said that take on new meaning and significance at the end, the way everything eventually falls in place, the stunning conclusion that's both proper and fitting...it takes a profound familiarity with your characters to put all that together and make it feel natural, and Connelly succeeds at the task most splendidly.
-Mark Wakely, author of An Audience for Einstein
"Echo Park" is Michael Connelly's seventeenth novel, his twelfth to feature Harry Bosch and was first published in 2006. Orphaned at twelve when his mother was murdered, Bosch's teenage years were spent in and out of orphanages. He enlisted in the army and served in Viet-Nam, before returning home and joining the police force. Once a member of the LAPD's elite RHD (Robbery-Homicide Division), he was demoted to the Hollywood Division after an Internal Affairs investigation. After more than ten years in Hollywood, he was notified of a 'promotion' back to RHD - however, he chose to quit the force instead. Bosch had occasionally been seen by some as a maverick, but increasingly by others as a 'man with a mission'. He left the LAPD with an armful of Hollywood's open-unsolved cases, tool out a private investigator's licence and continued to 'speak for the dead'. However, a couple of persuasive phone calls from Kizmin Rider - a former partner from his Hollywood days - have seen his return to the LAPD. Harry and Kiz have teamed up again, though the pair are based at the Open Unsolved Unit, rather than at Hollywood.
One of the files Harry took with him when he quit the force related to the 1993 killing of Marie Gesto. Although her body was never recovered, there was never any real doubt she had been murdered. Bosch had never been able to solve it, though he'd always suspected Anthony Garland - the son of a well-known and very rich oilman. It's this case that starts moving in "Echo Park" - and not in a direction that Harry likes. As the book opens, Harry receives a request for the Gesto casebook from Freddy Olivas, a detective with the LAPD's Northeast Division. Olivas is the lead detective on a very high-profile case : Raynard Waits, the accused, was pulled over in Echo Park with the body parts of two women in garbage bags. In exchange for not seeking the death penalty, Waits has offered to plead guilty to a total of eleven murders - including Marie Gesto's. Bosch is certain that Waits' name never surfaced in the original investigation. Unfortunately, Olivas spots the name 'Robert Saxon' - one of Waits' known aliases - in the case file. This is a mistake that weighs heavily on Bosch's conscience. There is also a political dimension to the case that makes Bosch a little uncomfortable. The lead prosecutor is Rick O'Shea, who is running for the post of District Attorney : in his eyes, the ratings are all-important, more than the correct outcome.
Connelly is getting back to his very best with "Echo Park" - for me, there was a slight dip in form with "Lost Light" and "The Narrows". It would, however, be an advantage to have read some of the previous Bosch books. (Given that Rachel Walling makes a re-appearance, "The Narrows" may, ironically enough, be one of those that may be helpful). Irvin Irving, the LAPD's ex-Deputy Chief and Bosch's one-time arch-nemesis, is now unhappily retired. He is, however, running for City Council and is occasionally mentioned - in fact, he's happy to use Harry's bad luck in this case for his own ends. (In other words, he assures voters that he'll clean up the LAPD if elected - starting with officers like Harry himself). There are also a couple of phone calls between Bosch and another of his former colleagues at Hollywood, Jerry Edgar - I'm hoping he'll maybe get a bigger role in later books. The only thing about "Echo Park" that grated was the use of a name like "Rick O'Shea". I hope this doesn't pave the way for characters like "Dusty Rhodes" and "Sandy Beach" in later books...