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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellant debut of a fascinating character
I've been reading the later Harry Bosch novels, and just ran into this one. It probably would've been much better had it been the first Bosch novel I had read, but it's still darn good.
The plot elements have been used before, but they're given a fresh twist here. Harry in this book as in the later ones has three distinct challenges: The case itself, and this is one...
Published on 23 Dec 2002 by Neal C. Reynolds

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing but long
This is the first Harry Bosh novel and the first one I have read. It's a very clever book tracing an apparent OD case in Hollywood to a group of Viet veterans, bank robberies, illegal diamonds, and the staple of corrupt cops. Bosh indeed is introduced as a complex character with additicion to coffee, nicotine, and justice. We get some history of a prior 'Dollmaker' case...
Published on 8 Mar 2008 by Clive


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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellant debut of a fascinating character, 23 Dec 2002
By 
Neal C. Reynolds (Indianapolis, Indiana) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Black Echo (Paperback)
I've been reading the later Harry Bosch novels, and just ran into this one. It probably would've been much better had it been the first Bosch novel I had read, but it's still darn good.
The plot elements have been used before, but they're given a fresh twist here. Harry in this book as in the later ones has three distinct challenges: The case itself, and this is one in which he's coincidentally deeply involved; the continual conflict with the political agendas of superiors which threatens his ability to properly investigate the case; and the dealing with his own deep feelings and realizations, including his awareness that his decisions affect lives of those not directly involved.
While some may find the beginning slow, I find Connelly highly skilled in bringing out important technical aspects of the investigation while interspersing scenes that involve more action.
If you haven't yet read Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch stories, this is the one to start with. And if you have, be sure not to miss this one.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Echo, 14 July 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Black Echo (Hardcover)
BLack Echo is the first book in a series about Harry Bosch, an LA detective. When a body is found in a drainage tunnel Bosch recognises the dead man as someone he served with in Vietnam. Despite the Department's willingness to write the death off as a drugs overdose, Bosch investigates and discovers that the death is linked to a Bank heist. Working with(?!} the FBI Bosch discovers rather more than he bargained for. An absolutely brilliant read! I would definitely recommend that you read this book.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is where greatness began, 25 Jun 2007
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Black Echo (Paperback)
As of the date of this review, Michael Connelly has written and published eighteen fictional novels of which thirteen feature LAPD Detective Harry Bosch. It all began back in 1992 with The Black Echo but if, like many, you have discovered Connelly by way of his more recent stories, then do not for one minute think that back then he was just a beginner learning his trade and his debut novel should be considered with caution. No, quite simply if you like Connelly today then you will like Connelly `then' just as much.

This is despite the fact that it's a tale of events in the early 1990s with heavy references to events of the early 1970s. More specifically, Bosch is a Los Angeles detective turning 40 with powerful memories of his experiences as a tunnel rat in Vietnam some twenty years earlier and from which the title of this novel draws its name. But the drawing of the characters and their relationships with one another is of high quality, a skill which, in my humble opinion, only a minority of Connelly's peers in the field of crime thrillers pull off as successfully as he does. In any thriller series this is the element that probably defines success or failure more than any other, and since Connelly has been writing tales surrounding Bosch for over fifteen years, it's safe to assume that he's cracked this difficult task and he demonstrates this from the word go in his debut novel.

Having already read the outstanding Concrete Blonde (the third in the Bosch series) it's sometimes amusing to read the occasional mentions of the career-defining experiences of the case built around the pursuit of the Dollmaker; amusing because Connelly decided never to write the story itself, yet the events of that case are cleverly used to help shape our understanding of Bosch's personality in small doses in The Black Echo and I am sure that he always planned to build a story around it for The Concrete Blonde two years later. To me that says much about the forward-thinking, the creativity and the plain confidence of the author.

It's easy to summarise this story's plot - the body of a man is found and Bosch, by chance, is assigned to the case to find the man's killer or killers. It's not long before Bosch brings about an association with the dead man (a Vietnam tunnel rat who worked with Bosch two decades earlier) to an audacious bank robbery the previous summer and a similar heist that is planned for the imminent future. Bosch has it all figured out, and has to solve all this is in the midst of an Internal Affairs investigation coupled with high-level corruption among those who might have a vested interest in the two bank robberies. The story covers about one week, my one criticism being the absence of any chapters and the use, instead, of rather long `parts' which for people like myself who often read books in snatches of thirty minutes at a time, can be slightly irritating. Anyone who invests lengthy periods of time to reading won't mind at all, I'm sure.

All I can say as a lover of crime fiction and a fan of good series creators such as Val McDermid, John Connolly, Mo Hayder and Mark Billingham (and the owner of pretty much everything written by Deaver, Cornwell, Slaughter, Reichs, Gerritsen, Coben, Rankin and Child), is that Michael Connelly is surely and deservedly right up there with the best of them and this debut novel is a must-read for anyone who has read and enjoyed his more recent work. It's real quality.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Debut for a Great Character, 8 Jan 2004
This review is from: The Black Echo (Paperback)
Michael Connelly's first novel introduces us LAPD Detective Hieronymous "Harry" Bosch. Bosch had formerly been a member of the LAPD's elite RHD (Robbery Homicide Division), but roughly a year before this book begins he killed a suspect in the Dollmaker Case. As a result, Bosch was investigated by IAD (the Internal Affairs Department) and was suspended for a month and demoted to robbery-homicide team of the Hollywood Division. As it happens, IAD weren't entirely happy with this outcome, and are waiting for their chance to get Bosch out of the police force altogether. Malicious ? They make the 'real' villains look good.
Bosch proves to be an interesting character. With a reputation as being something of a loner, he's a jazz fan with a taste for coffee, beer and cigarettes. He then served in Vietnam as a Tunnel Rat, before returning home and joining the Police Force.
It's Harry's time as a Tunnel Rat that comes back to haunt him in The Black Echo. The book begins with Harry being called out to Mulholland Dam, where a body's been found in drainage pipe. Dismissed by other officers at the scene as simply another drug user who'd accidentally overdosed - and therefore, not needing any further investigation - Bosch isn't quite so and decides to run with it. Things take a more personal twist when he recognises the corpse as a fellow Tunnel Rat, Billy Meadows. Things start looking more and more like Meadows was murdered - an autopsy seems to indicate he'd been tortured before he died, while a pawn ticket found in Meadows' apartment links him to a major bank heist carried out the previous year. This bank job is officially being investigated by the FBI and, as Bosch believes the men behind the bank job are also behind Meadows' death, he arranges a meeting with Special Agent Eleanor Wish. Harry's intention was to request a sharing of information but he doesn't exactly get what he wants out of the meeting - and things haven't finished going downhill for him.
Connolly's style of writing is excellent - a former Police Reporter with the LA Times, I would assume there is a great deal of accuracy in his portrayal of a homicide investigation. He has created a very likeable character in Harry Bosch, while his descriptions of the city have left me feeling like I know LA. Definitely worth reading !
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If You've Never Yet Read This Series, May As Well Start at the Beginning Here, 6 Aug 2011
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Black Echo (Paperback)
"The Black Echo," (1992), is first in Michael Connelly's best-selling Harry Bosch series of mystery novels. I have recently been mystified by the abrupt appearance of this nearly twenty year old book on the New York Times Best Seller list, as well as the Kindle and Nook best-seller lists; but have discovered the answer to that riddle. The book has been priced at just .99 in hopes that once readers have discovered the excellent first book in the series that now numbers 16, they will go on to read further in it. Of course Connelly, now a mega-seller in light of the film The Lincoln Lawyer [DVD],based on the author's book of the same name, has had many best sellers, but it's rather unusual for such an old book to find its way to bestsellerdom. The American Connelly is a former journalist, a crime beat writer for the Los Angeles Times, who certainly earned his spurs in murder while earning his daily bread.

The series, Los Angeles-set police procedurals, looks at life on the "noir" side in that city. Homicide cop Harry Bosch, formerly with the Los Angeles Police Department, but now busted to humble Hollywood for his intransigence, somehow catches a case that he should not have. And he can't treat the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland dam as just another anonymous junkie statistic. Because he's recognized the corpse as Billy Meadows, a fellow Vietnam "tunnel rat" who fought side by side with him in the underground war that still gives Bosch nightmares, whether he's awake, or asleep. And now, Bosch will be forced to relive the horrors of Nam even more intensely, as he investigates a dangerous maze of blind alleys under the city of LA. These tunnels have enabled a daring gang of criminals, with the aid of the dead man, to rob a downtown bank over a holiday weekend. Bosch, who was named after the famous 15th century Dutch painter by his mother, finds himself working the case with Eleanor Wish, an enigmatic female FBI agent, pitted against enemies within his own department.

THE BLACK ECHO, which won the Edgar Award for Best First Mystery Novel, already shows the excellent narrative, descriptive, and dialogue writing that are characteristic of Connelly, and is informed by his deep, accurate knowledge of police work. The fictional case given us here is based on an actual case that occurred in LA during the writer's journalistic career. As his later work, it too is written with great knowledge of, and love for, Los Angeles, the author's adopted home town. (You could pretty much use his works instead of a road map). And it clearly follows in the footsteps of earlier outstanding hardboiled Los Angeles authors Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, but adds the further ingredients of a police procedural. Finally, Connelly explicates his love of jazz as he goes. It introduces several characters we will meet again in significant roles in the author's work: Eleanor Wish at the FBI, his police partner Jerry Edgar, and his supervisors/enemies within the department: Irvin Irving, and Harvey (98) Pounds. And Bremmer, cop shop reporter at the LA Times. There's a supposed Vietnam-era LA congressman called Noone, a name that will sure recur. There's a homage to Chandler's The Big Sleep, and another to that other leading crime writer of the day, James Lee Burke.

What is the black echo? A name the tunnel rats gave the feeling of the tunnels. Bosch says, "There was no name for it, so we made up a name. 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."

What writing!! Connelly is just a wonderful writer, my favorite among American mystery authors, and I've read all his books save The Scarecrow. (Like many other readers, I imagine, I prefer his series works to his standalones: like many other writers, his mysteries seem more powerful if they are filtered through the sensibilities of his detective protagonist.) Many of the Bosch series have been New York Times best sellers, as have some of his recent standalones such as THE SCARECROW. Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers, a non-fiction collection of his journalism, was also a New York Times bestseller. Hey, if you've never yet read the Bosch series, you may as well start at the beginning here.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, typical Connelly, 23 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Black Echo (Paperback)
Micheal Connelly never fails to deliver when writing a crime thriller. Really good plot, if a little predictable at times, and it cracks along at a good pace to ensure boredom doesn't set in. Only complaint is the fairly slow start which may put people off, but perseverence is rewarded when after about 75 pages things really start picking up and don't let up until the end. Very good, very entertaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wish for Harry, 2 Oct 2012
This review is from: The Black Echo (Paperback)
The first Harry Bosch novel from Michael Connelly and the start of a long-running series. The Black Echo establishes a clear style from Connelly; a rich mixture of no-nonsense detective work and careful character development gives us a thoughtful and fast-paced crime thriller, even the spells of Harry kicking his heels keep us on edge.

Set in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, I found myself inexorably drawn to a local map for reference, as Bosch drives us around the city outskirts from Wilshire to Mulholland Drive and over to Sepulveda, I'm learning my way around quite well. Harry Bosch Tours where are you?

The story is tight. A murder that leads Bosch to an unsolved bank robbery and connections with his past as a Vietnam veteran, all whilst Bosch is himself under the scrutiny of an LAPD internal affairs investigation that seeks to bounce him out of the force. Bosch, once the rising star has fallen far and, whilst he has found a new level, there are those that want him out.

Connelly goes for long-ish chapters that closely track the investigation but with frequent sub-chapter pauses. He doesn't have Bosch as narrator so we can skip to other characters and episodes without Bosch in them, but Bosch is never out of the picture for long. Sex and violence are included, but Connelly doesn't dwell on either, he is more likely to spend time on the intricacies and psychology of a suspect's interrogation.

It is a great debut novel and it doesn't matter if it's your first or latest Harry Bosch. Enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of twists and great to be in at the beginning, 14 Aug 2007
By 
Janie U (Kings Cliffe, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Black Echo (Paperback)
So many of this type of book use ongoing characters which gradually develop as the series evolve and it is quite refreshing to read a book containing a character being used for the first time.
Harry has got a fascinating past and it slowly emerges along with the plot of the story - reading further Harry Bosch books will mean so much more now.
I don't like Harry's suspicious nature and find him not to be a particularly likeable guy but in understanding his background then I realise why and throughout the book became to appreciate him more and more.
The plot is full of twists and turns - some more believable than others. Also, the clues are laid out throughout the plot and then many of them referred back to towards the end of the novel. This all leads to a book which has a very well constructed feel to it.
Not a classic novel but it is never pretending to be. To be recommended and enjoyed!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harry Bosch, 19 Oct 2012
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having become a fan of the Harry Bosch series I found this I purchased this as an audio book. I just couldn't stop listening as I just wanted to know what was happening next. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys detective type stories
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 17 Sep 2009
By 
Jonathan Clark "Great Black Hawk" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Black Echo (Paperback)
I've been alternating between Harlan Coben and Michael Connelly and they are both terrific authors in their different ways.
The last MC I read was Trunk Music which I though was superb but The Last Echo is even better.
The way this book starts makes you believe that there was no real crime committed and even if there was it wouldn't burst into such dramatic life and have as many twists and turns as a alpine mountain road.
Couldn't put it down :-)
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