About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Black Echo (1992) by Michael Connelly

(15. – 647.) Black Echo (1992) by Michael Connelly – I had not realized I had not read the first Harry Bosch mystery until, after reading The Drop, I started thinking about how the series has evolved and noted I had not read the first book. Bosch is already 40 years old when the series starts.

I have always thought of Bosch as a big guy. Instead, he is “a few inches short of six feet and was built lean”. His size is consistent with him being a member of the American Army tunnel rats in Vietnam.

Connelly provides a powerful description of Bosch’s war:

“Out of the blue and into the black is what they called going into a tunnel. Each one was a black echo. Nothing but death in there. But, still, they went.”

It is little wonder that Bosch is still affected by his service in Vietnam.

His bleak life as a child in foster homes is touched upon in the book.

As the book begins Bosch is called out to investigate a body found in a tunnel on the Mulholland Dam in Los Angeles. He is startled when he recognizes the deceased as Billy Meadows, a fellow tunnel rat, who has struggled with heroin addiction since coming home.

All present at the scene are content to conclude Meadows died of a self-injected heroin overdose. The meticulous Bosch refuses to accept the easy solution. By carefully examining the body, the tunnel and the apartment of Meadows he determines it was murder.

When Bosch makes a connection with an unsolved bank heist he contacts the FBI and meets agent Eleanor Wish. It is a frosty first contact in her office.

Bosch riles fellow officers and other government agencies with his investigation. We meet Deputy Commissioner, Irvin Irving, who wants Bosch, clearly not a team player, out of the police force.

Bosch had nearly been fired for his actions during the Dollmaker serial killer investigation. IAD, frustrated he was merely demoted from the elite Robbery Homicide Unit, is pursuing Bosch hard for evidence that would get him off the force.

Bosch has a partner in Jerry Edgar but is barely concerned whether Edgar even keeps up with him in the investigation.

In Bosch’s world there are no coincidences. He looks for information linking the bank job with Meadows death. Bosch and Wish become an unlikely team working the cases. Connelly creates an inventive and credible method of attacking the bank.

As they gradually close in on the killers Connelly displays his ability to build tension. As with most Connelly books I found myself racing to the end.

I thought the solution was alright but it was not as good as the balance of the book.

On Saturday I will be posting thoughts on how Harry Bosch has evolved as a character between Black Echo and The Drop. (Mar. 30/12)


  1. I have read this book (and all of Michael Connelly's), but have often considered going back to the start - I have even kept all my copies. I recall enjoying this one very much, and I think in retrospect it (and the next few Bosch novels) were much more detailed than the later ones. I dimly recollect that I thought the ending was not as good as the rest of The Black Echo, like you.
    I look forward to reading your further thoughts on this excellent series.

  2. Bill - Thanks for reminding me of how it all began. The ending of The Black Echo may not match up to the rest of story, but one thing I truly like about this novel is what we learn about Harry Bosch. I also like the way Connelly later returns to The Dollmaker case in The Concrete Blonde. I'll be really interested to see what you have to say about the Bosch character, and now you've got me thinking about how the style of the novels has evolved. Thanks :-)

  3. It´s funny the way we think we know what ´our´ characters look like.

    Some time ago my daughters discussed if one of my protagonists had blonde or dark hair. I had to think about that one for some time because it wasn´t an aspect that meant much to me, but I did recall her chestnut curls.

  4. Maxine: Thanks for the comment. If you have the time I think you would gain a new appreciation of the series by going back to the start.

  5. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I agree Connelly did a superb job of developing the character of Harry Bosch in Black Echo.

  6. Dorte: Thanks for the commment. I think it would be an interesting exercise to have a group of readers describe a well known character from memory and then go to check the book to see how close memory accords with the actual description.

  7. I am the odd one out here having never read Michael Connelly before, an imbalance I hope to set right by reading his ANGLE OF INVESTIGATION currently in my possession. It has three Harry Bosch stories.

  8. Big Harry Bosch fan. Everyone counts or no one counts. I'm behind in the series. I latched onto Connelly with Bloodwork and went from there. I'm very interested in your thoughts about the evolution of the character. Looking forward to that! Keishon

  9. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. If you can get access to the series I do recommend starting with Black Echo.

  10. Keishon: Thanks for commenting. Bloodwork remains my favourite all time mystery! It was a great book to start reading Connelly.

  11. I must read Bloodwork! I just found the movie made of the book in the library catalogue, but somehow it doesn't seem like it does justice to the book.

    Now, trying to read a lot of global crime fiction, including Nordics, and books from Oz and Canada, and then trying to catch up with Harry Bosch is a tall order.

    Then there's the wish to read all day and forget the bills, chores, errands, phone calls, emails, etc.

    That may be the only way I catch up with Bosch's history.

  12. kathy d.: Thanks for the comment. I shudder when I think of the Bloodwork movie. It should go at the bottom of Clint Eastwood's work. I have not been able to watch the whole movie. When you do pick up the book make sure they are no bills to be paid, chores to be done, errands to be run, phone calls to make or receive, shut down the email, etc. You will want to just keep reading.