Skip to main content

Echo Park - Michael Connelly

Let's back track a bit. The first Connelly I read was THE CONCRETE BLOND. In the arc of the Harry Bosch character it ranks pretty high. I went back for THE BLACK ECHO and THE BLACK ICE, and then I read one of the best books of my life.

is the great book of this series. A huge book. I still have distinct memories of reading it. In terms of quality only THE POET achieves the kind of greatness that THE LAST COYOTE does. I can think of few one-two punches in crime fiction like THE CONCRETE BLOND and THE LAST COYOTE. And with the non-series THE POET following COYOTE, these three books make quite the trifecta.

That is not to say that the rest of Connelly's output is mediocre. Far from it. Only that because he has written at such a high level for so long I have occasionally taken him for granted. Tsk, tsk for sure. Let me say that when I recommend authors to friends, family, random stalkers.... Michael's name is the first to come out of my mouth. Ok, sometimes Dennis Lehane sneaks out there, but fully 80% of the time Micheal is at the top.


For comparative purposes this is his best Bosch, his best book since ANGELS FLIGHT. In the last few Bosch books, Connelly has really pushed Harry's struggle with his inner demons to the fore. And while this has made for some really wonderful writing, this is not the Bosch/Connelly I know. I can understand Connelly's interest in exploring this angle as way to keep the character fresh, but I resist change.

The book follows Harry Bosch as he endeavors to close a case that has long haunted him. The crime is seemingly solved in the opening chapters, but this is far from the end. ECHO PARK is to my mind a return to form for Connelly and the Bosch character. Gone, for the most part, are the internal demons that have bedeviled Bosch. Absolutely, he is still conflicted, but these elements are approached much more subtly. At this point we know Harry so well that we don't need to be told that the moral gray areas where he primarily exists wear on him heavily.

Straight forward and damn the consequences is how Harry acts because long experience has taught him that it gets him the best results. Don't we all wish we could act this way? Minus the body count.....

Bosch has never had a partner in the strictest sense. The character's of Kiz Rider and Jerry Edgar have filled this role in several books, but neither is truly his partner. Bosch is too much of a lone wolf..... or coyote. No, his really partner is the guiled and gutted Los Angeles. No one rivals Connelly for his sheer descriptive power, he is the James Lee Burke of L.A. Lovely stuff that draws and repeals the reader to this land of illusions.

Echo Park really took me back to the early years of Connelly's writing. It acts as a wonderful bit of nostalgia and proves that Connelly can write this stuff in his sleep. Tough and haunting stuff.


Popular posts from this blog

The Very Best of Mr. Dennis Lehane

I thought this post would appear in October. Ya, know when SHUTTER ISLAND: THE MOVIE was supposed to be released. And then it wasn't. Something about Leo not being able to do 'press' for the movie. Doesn't really matter the reason, a February release date has one of those fancy Hollywood meanings: Not Good.

Look I'll be honest, I didn't connect with SHUTTER ISLAND. I loved the fifties setting, the haunted house atmosphere, and impending doom of the Hurricane. Even the set-up of the story was intriguing but how it played out just didn't work for me. Some interesting characters, a bunch of great set pieces, but the ending announces itself with an expected, thud that went nowhere.

Am I still going to the movie? Its Lehane, Scorsese, Leo, and Ruffalo of course I am. Anyway the list.

8. Prayers for Rain - 1999
The last Kenzie-Gennaro book follows our heroes as they investigate a guy who is terrorizing women into committing suicide. The book played like an episode o…

The Very Best of Mr. Michael Connelly - Part I

I was about 50 pages into the latest Michael Connelly book, THE SCARECROW, when I flipped to the front. This is the 20th novel. I decided that rather than write a review of the novel, pretty good by the way, I would write a think piece about the relationship between a highly regarded crime novelist and how reader's take for granted the author if the high standard to which they have become accustomed to is not maintained over a lengthy run of books.

This idea was quickly abandoned out of laziness. Instead, I decided to take a cue from my friend, Peter, who recently ranked all of the James Bond films. I didn't feel I could tackle all 20 novels so the list below is just the non-Harry Bosch books. Mr. Connelly's next book 9 DRAGONS releases in October so don't be surprised to see a Bosch only list then.

I wrote this list up a couple weeks ago. I have given it some time to marinate. I did make any changes but I do want to say that there is a definite break between ranking 5…

Live By Night: First Image

First image from Live By Night the latest Dennis Lehane novel to be directed by Ben Affleck has appeared. Here is the accompanying article from Indiewire.
What can you say about one singular image from a film that will include a hundred thousand or so? It looks good. I'm a sucker for big fields of grass, what can I say? I have enjoyed all of Ben Affleck's directing efforts to date, even if I wasn't wowed by any of them. I don't mean to damn him with faint praise. He is a solid, unpretentious director of capital m 'Movies'. And even if he wasn't making the best thing Dennis Lehane has written in the last ten years I would still go see his next effort.
The movie is slated for a 2017 release which I'm not certain should be believed. In spite of the film already vacating a Fall 2016 date, if the movie is even kind of  good, dollars to donuts it sneaks into a late 2016 release for Award show consideration. A 2017 release date seems more accurate, if early t…