Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Echo Park - Michael Connelly


2006; 427 pages. Genre : Murder-Mystery. Overall Rating : B+.
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In 1993, Marie Gesto disappeared. Her car was found in an abandoned garage, her clothing on the front seat, neatly folded. For thirteen years, it has been Detective Harry Bosch's cold case. Now a psycho killer has come forward and confessed to the abduction and murder, even offering to lead the police to the body, in exchange for escaping the death penalty. So why does Harry feel like someone's blowing smoke across his eyes?
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What's To Like...
In some mysteries, the perp is obvious after 20 pages. In others, it's as if the author just picks the bad guy at random at the end of the book. Echo Park finds the perfect balance. There are plenty of twists to keep you guessing, and Connelly goes easy with the lurid gore.
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Echo Park is set in the greater Los Angeles area, where I lived for three summers, so it was neat to read about familiar environs. Finally, anyone who names his protagonist Hieronymus Bosch is kewl in my book.
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There are some weaknesses. While Harry and the baddies are well-done, most of the rest of the good guys are a bit 2-D. Harry's partner is little more than the token gay girl, whose main role apparently is to take a couple bullets so Harry can stress out over catching her assailant.
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This is my first Harry Bosch book. It started off great and quickly pulled me in. There are those who say it isn't the best in the series. If so, I may have to read a couple more of these.

3 comments:

Amanda said...

I really should read something by Michael Connelly someday.

hamilcar barca said...

i think it must be difficult to write a good Murder/Mystery. the reader wants to solve the case alongside the protagonist, so you need to dole out some clues throughout the story. but there's nothing quite as boring as a mystery that you have solved by Chapter 2. except maybe a story where the case-braking clue appears like manna from Heaven right before the end of the book.

Echo Park just had that right level of "clue-ness" for me.

Amanda said...

I read a lot of (low-grade) mysteries in middle school, and it got to where I could always guess the killer/culprit by the 2nd chapter. It made reading feel a bit pointless at the time. It's always nice to find a book that gets the formula right. Same thing with forensic TV shows, I think, too.