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Echo Park: A Harry Bosch Novelby Michael Connelly
"There is no finer writer of crime fiction working than Connelly. The proof is in the pages — or, more precisely, how quickly they swim past. Echo Park is the sort of book you wait to read on a Friday, lest you wind up calling in sick to work to finish it." Chris Bolton, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
Detective Harry Bosch reopens one of his own unsolved cases and comes face to face with a psychotic killer he has been seeking for 11 years. When Bosch realizes he and his partner missed a clue that could have prevented nine additional murders, his whole being as a cop begins to crack.
"Bestseller Connelly's compelling 12th Harry Bosch novel (after 2005's The Closers) offers some new wrinkles on a familiar theme — the aging detective haunted by the one who got away. In Bosch's case, the elusive quarry is the man who abducted a 22-year-old equestrian, Marie Gesto, in 1993. Having returned to active duty as a member of the LAPD Open-Unsolved Unit, Bosch repeatedly pulls the file to see if he can discover something new and give some small solace to the victim's parents. When a chance police stop of a suspicious vehicle nets serial killer Raynard Waits, who's carrying body parts in his van, Bosch assesses the murderer's claim that he was responsible for killing Gesto, too. The weary and cynical detective soon suspects that Waits is trying to barter information for a reduced sentence of life imprisonment. Political motivations connected with the upcoming DA election also cloud the investigation. Smooth prose and plausible characters — even the secondary figures — elevate this several notches above the standard cop vs. serial-killer thriller. Author tour. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"In his 11 Harry Bosch novels, Michael Connelly has bucked two pervasive trends in modern crime fiction. Too many writers have fallen into the trap of writing quirky detectives who detour into cutesy or hard-boiled stories that devolve into violent, ironic self-parody. But Detective Hieronymus 'Harry' Bosch of the Los Angeles Police Department is serious and straightforward, and Connelly's latest,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) the knowing, taut and suspenseful 'Echo Park,' proves that Harry's creator is as well. Since making his first appearance in 1992"s 'The Black Echo' as a 42-year-old, Bosch has aged in real time. Now, nearing 60, Bosch is back with the LAPD, working in the Open-Unsolved Unit, going over cold cases with his most recent partner, Kiz Rider. Most of the cops on the unit, including Rider, are from a different generation. Harry may have backup, but emotionally and mentally he's alone. A serendipitous traffic stop in L.A."s Echo Park neighborhood nabs Reynard Waits, a man with body parts in his front seat. Soon Waits has confessed to a string of slayings involving prostitutes and runaways, as well as to two earlier murders: one of a pawnshop owner during the 1992 riots, the other of a young equestrian named Marie Gesto, whose car and clothing turned up in a garage but whose body was never found. Bosch had worked the Gesto case and had in years since reopened the files on occasion, but had come up empty. He had even pegged a likely culprit — the son of a wealthy and powerful industrialist — so Waits' confession and knowledge of the body's location throw him for a loop. But Bosch is shaken more deeply when the case files are reexamined and it seems that Waits had called the police shortly after the murder, pretending to be a tipster; he could have been implicated within a week of Gesto's disappearance. 'Bosch considered himself a true detective, one who took it all inside and cared,' writes Connelly. 'Everybody counts or nobody counts. ... It made him good at the job but it also made him vulnerable. The mistakes could get to him and this one was the worst of all mistakes.' He could have prevented nine murders, and that knowledge leaves Bosch ready to crack. Connelly, a former crime reporter, knows both the squad-room and the newsroom, and once again he assembles a formidable group of adversaries for Bosch: the LAPD brass, the L.A. Times city desk and a powerful, well-connected lawyer who sees the Gesto case as the key to the district attorney's office. Connelly is still a master of the economical scene. His action never devolves into cheap suspense or sentimentality but moves along at an unforced clip. Several people from Bosch's past — most notably his friend and former lover, FBI profiler Rachel Walling — also make appearances in 'Echo Park,' and their relationships with the aging detective are well sketched. What puts Connelly in the top rank of modern procedural writers — and, perhaps, into the ranks of the better modern L.A. writers of any genre — is his willingness to accept that there aren't always easy answers in Bosch's life, or sometimes any answers at all. (Indeed, the future of more than one major character in the series is left in question at 'Echo Park's' end.) That sense of uncertainty and dread, combined with Bosch's going from middle age to the precipice of old age, informs every page of this novel. Connelly is one of the few crime writers who could conceivably kill off his hero and make it an organic, even inevitable, literary development. And like his namesake, the original Hieronymus Bosch, Det. Harry Bosch is groping his way through a violent and often surreal netherworld, with no guarantee that he'll be coming out the other side. 'Echo Park' is simple, straightforward writing that plumbs beneath the deceptive surface of a deceptively surfacey city, and Connelly's chronicles of Bosch — like the detective himself — are aging like a fine Scotch. Kevin Allman is a writer living in Portland, Ore." Reviewed by Kevin Allman, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"Connelly offers a stellar demonstration of why, as Harry says, 'taking it straight to the heart is the way of the true detective,' whatever the costs to himself and others." Kirkus Reviews
"Connelly forc[es] Harry's many fans to accept the harsh truth that the genre's most compelling hero may also be one of its most flawed. Superior crime fiction, as suspenseful as it is psychologically acute." Booklist
"Echo Park is another prime demonstration of Mr. Connelly's handiwork: he has woven entirely unsurprising elements into a surprisingly suspense-filled story. Just read his rivals in the crime genre to realize how difficult this is and how easy he makes it look." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"[T]he plot is exquisitely drawn, a finely wrought and intricate story of detection and police procedure that is so good it would almost make you think that the author was right there in the car with the detectives." Philadelphia Inquirer
"The language is spare and brutal. The story, simple and propulsive. The results, wildly entertaining and swiftly disposable. (Grade: B)" Entertainment Weekly
"There are a number of elements that make these novels such a pleasure to read. Clean prose, a smart blend of character and story, clever twists, bright flashes of suspense and surprising extras..." Los Angeles Times
"Echo Park is Michael Connelly writing pretty much at the top of his craft, which is to say at the top of mystery writing today....
"Echo Park is a richly imagined and finely crafted piece that grabs the reader on Page One and locks him but a half-step behind Bosch on every page that follows." Denver Post
In 1993 Marie Gesto disappeared after walking out of a supermarket. Harry Bosch worked the case but couldn't crack it, and the twenty-two-year-old was never found. Now, more than a decade later, with the Gesto file still on his desk, Bosch gets a call from the District Attorney.A man accused of two heinous murders is willing to come clean about several others, including the killing of Marie Gesto. Taking the confession of the man he has sought-and hated-for thirteen years is bad enough. Discovering that he missed a clue back in 1993 that could have stopped nine other murders may just be the straw that breaks Harry Bosch.
About the Author
Michael Connelly is a former journalist and author of the bestselling series of Harry Bosch novels and the bestselling novels Chasing the Dime, The Poet, Blood Work, and Void Moon. Connelly has won numerous awards for his journalism and novels, including an Edgar Award. He lives in Florida.
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