31 January 2011

Book Banter -- Echo Park

Title: Echo Park
Author: Michael Connelly
Genre: mystery
Length: 405 pages
Where Bethany's Copy Came From: Indianapolis Marion County Public Library
Plot Basics: Det. Harry Bosch is still working with Open-Unsolved Unit of the LAPD. In his long career, he's had a few unsolved cases that haunt him -- especially the murder of Marie Gesto, a young woman who was brutally murdered and her killer never found. Bosch has continued to work the case over the years, but can never pull enough evidence together to be sure of the guilt of his prime suspect. Now, as part of a deal to avoid the death penalty, a killer claims that he's the one who committed the crime. Bosch and partner Kiz Rider work with the up-and-coming DA and other detectives to let the suspect lead them to the body. But when the trip goes awry, the suspected killer goes missing and now possibly two murderers are at large in LA.

Banter Points: Finishing off the Bosch series backlist is another of my reading goals for this year and so this is one step closer to accomplishing that. Echo Park was definitely one of the really good ones in the series. While all the Bosch books are good, a few have stood one (Angel's Flight comes to mind) as being closer to the exceptional end.

Echo Park stands out because it pits Bosch against a smart killer. A lot of police procedurals seem to just go through the motions of the investigation of an exceptionally violent bad guy. This one was good because the killer had the brains to pit against Bosch in addition to the violence. It's also amazing to see Bosch age through the series. There was a small line about Bosch wearing reading glasses now, and it's just neat to see an author progressing his character in such a way.

Bummer Points: The actual killer wasn't who I expected, but one of his accomplices I had pegged early on. Maybe it's not a bummer, exactly. I like the surprise of a revealed bad guy but was proud of myself that I figured out part of how the scheme worked.

Word Nerd Recommendation: Echo Park would be a good entry place to the series actually. While the story also brings back Rachel Walling and some of her history with Bosch, it's a good read that has a fast moving plot to engage a reader new to the series.

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