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Dave Green's Read Alerts

My hobbies include just about anything, really...except reading, I hate reading! Kidding of course, reading is my favorite hobby! I love not only reading, but creative writing as well. I'm currently working on a novel about a group of paranormal social workers who try to help creatures like themselves cope with being different while also protecting humanity from the more malevolent beings. Other hobbies include music, yoga, comedy clubs, movies, and video games. I read from just about any genre, but my favorites are fantasy/urban fantasy, mystery, science fiction, and graphic novels (that's what us comic-book geeks call them to try to sound more sophisticated). In my secret identity, I work as an accountant for a nonprofit organization . I know...accounting and creative writing don't exactly go together...what can I say, I'm full of contradictions! My rating system: 5 STARS - I absolutely loved this book! I couldn't wait to finish it, yet I also never wanted it to end! 4 STARS - I liked this book an awful lot! It would have been perfect, except for some minor issue or issues that detracted from my overall enjoyment. 3 STARS - I liked this book, but found it somewhat flawed. Probably would not read again, but might still give the author and/or series a second chance. 2 STARS - Overall, a disappointing read for me. It had its moments, but sadly the bad outweighed the good. 1 STAR - I hate the part of my brain that convinced me to read this book!

Currently reading

Queen and Country: A Gentleman's Game
Greg Rucka
The Black Echo - Michael Connelly One mystery I was unable to solve...exactly why is The Black Echo so darn popular?!?

The Vietnam War never really ended, not for Harry Bosch. A former "tunnel rat" who fought most of the war underground, Harry now finds himself unable to sleep and unable to go into underground areas without suffering panic attacks. But now that he's a detective for the Los Angeles Police Department, Harry's about to learn that sometimes what's on the surface is even dirtier than what's underground. When a former squadmate of Harry's is found dead, his investigation into the murder soon finds him flanked by enemies from all sides, even within his own department. Has Harry survived one war only to be consumed by another one?

Reviews are, of course, always subjective. Even when I don't particularly enjoy a book, I know there's still a good chance someone else might. Such is the case with "The Black Echo". While I was disappointed with this book, I can see why some people enjoy Michael Connelly, as I recognized that he is a talented writer. For one thing, he is an absolute master at setting the mood...

I was truly impressed with Connelly's abilities to describe the settings. All throughout the book, he maintains a dark and dreary atmosphere, and his usage of metaphors are almost poetic (like in one sequence, when he writes how the rumble of traffic above makes a tunnel sound like it's almost breathing). Also, it is admirable how much research he apparently did in order to write this book. His detail in describing every step of police procedures is impressive (although sometimes a bit too plodding), especially when you consider that this book came out before the internet had become ubiquitous, meaning it took a lot more work to do research back then. And finally, the climax is quite thrilling. Unfortunately, when a book is under 500 pages long, and it doesn't really get moving until after page 400, that can come as too little, too late, which brings me to where it all went wrong for me...

Overall, I just found this book to be much too dull. The actual mystery simply doesn't have enough twists and turns to warrant a book of this length. Unfortunately, instead of choosing to write a shorter but tighter caper, Connelly proceeds to fill the book with obscene amounts of padding instead! Harry Bosch has a frustrating habit of narrating entire paragraphs of thoughts, and then later repeating the same information verbatim when talking to someone else. If it only happened once or twice, I could have overlooked it, but this repetition occurs a ridiculous amount of times. And then there were the two bumbling Internal Affairs agents who are trying to bring Bosch down. I suspect they were supposed to be the comic relief, but I'm not really sure, since they never do anything even remotely funny. Their names are Lewis and Clarke, and Bosch announces that they're going on a "Lewis and Clarke expedition" (and since it's Bosch, he says it at least three times). If Bosch's quip didn't leave you laughing uproariously, then I have some bad news for you...that's about the wittiest thing that's ever said in this book! Lewis and Clarke are far too incompetent to add any sense of danger for Bosch, and they aren't nearly amusing enough to work on any comedic level, so their sequences just feel like a complete waste of time. If Connelly had cut out all the needless repetition and the Lewis and Clarke moments, this book could have easily been less than half its length, and much more satisfying to read!

Another problem for me was that I wasn't invested in any of the characters. Harry Bosch is a rogue cop who plays by his own rules, and he does things his way whether his superiors like it or not...if I missed any 80s-movies cliches in there, I can assure you Connelly didn't! Bosch has almost no charisma, and since he comes off as something Connelly came up with after watching a Sylvester Stallone marathon, there's just nothing about him original enough or interesting enough to make the reader care about him. The other players in this drama fare even worse. I found all the other characters to be either too bland or too cartoonish (like the aforementioned Lewis and Clarke) to take seriously. Add to that a mystery that is not nearly as hard to solve as it should be, and you have all the ingredients that make for one tepid story!

I didn't really enjoy "The Black Echo"...wait, I already said that. didn't I?!? Great, now Bosch has ME doing it! Still, I can see people who are hardcore fans of hard-boiled detective novels getting some satisfaction from this one. If you're looking for a book with a lot of atmosphere and even more grit, then this one may have something to offer you. It wasn't my cup of tea, but it may still please someone looking for...