‘The Black Echo’ is the first Harry Bosch novel written by Michael Connelly. I have read some of the later books in the series and didn’t remember Harry as such a drinking, smoking slob. Never mind, at 40 years old with a crap lifestyle, he can still pull the girls!
This novel gives a lot of Harry’s backstory which will be good to know in later novels. His mother was murdered, so he grew up in institutions. He was a tunnel rat in Vietnam and is still traumatised. Some of his earlier cases became quite famous, movies were made and he was paid as a consultant – this is how he managed to buy his home. He is a loner and has trouble with authority (just like most fictional detectives) and has been moved from another department after an internal affairs investigation.
The story starts when the body of Bill Meadows is found in a drainage tunnel. Meadows looks to have died of a heroin overdose, but Harry finds some inconsistencies at the scene. When he checks Meadows’ home it has been turned over. Harry eventually finds some links between Meadows and a bank robbery that took place and approaches the FBI with this information. Suddenly Harry finds himself the subject of another internal affairs investigation.
But the FBI see the value in using Harry (in more ways than one) and he teams up with the beautiful Eleanor Wish to investigate the connection between Meadows and the robbery. As the clues come together, Harry and Eleanor find their lives threatened, but eventually manage to get onto the trail of the other bank robbers.
From here the story takes a few twists and turns before the mastermind behind the robberies is eventually revealed. And the identity of the mastermind came as a complete surprise to me.
The story was pretty good and the writing was excellent. So, if you can look past some of the clichés and the very dated technology (like pagers, public phones and typewriters) then this was an excellent book. I have read some of the later books in the series and found them brilliant. They would be even more so with the background on Harry Bosch that is given in this book. I’m looking forward to continuing the series with – ‘The Black Ice’.
Book Published 1992