(This post is for TheFlyingRat and Nixtress)
Is there a better writer than Michael Connelly alive today? Maybe one or two, but not many, thatâ€™s for sure.
I just finished Echo Park and once again I'm blown away by Connelly ability not only to tell a story but to add depth and to his characters that make them not only believable put people that you care about.
In Echo Park we find homicide detective Harry Bosch haunted by the murder of Marie Gesto -- a case he was unable to solve for the last 13 years ago. Out of the blue Bosch learns a serial killer is willing to confess to her murder and many others in order to avoid the death penalty.
For Bosch, now part of the Open-Unsolved Unit, his job is his life. He has a passion for it that others he works with simply don't have. Bringing killers to justice and giving family members some sense of closure is what he lives for. He's revisited this case many times over the and still stays in contact with Marie's parents to give them occasional updates.
Because Connelly does a marvelous job with his characters, we understand why Bosch acts the way he does in pursuit of the truth even if we don't agree with them or they comes across as reckless and dangerous. We also feel Bosch's agony when he learns he may have missed a clue many years ago that could have solved the crime and prevented other deaths and how that spurs him to do everything in his power to bring the murderer to justice -- even if it means losing a woman he loves.
Connelly does an excellent job with the serial killer character and showing us the man's distain for others. I'm also glad Connelly doesn't follow the Hannibal Lecter route when it comes to his serial killers. He doesn't have to stoop to the level of showing gross acts of torture or sadism. We see his callus regard for life through the serial killer's interaction with Bosch and others and through police reports. The few moments where we see the true dark side of the killer are done perfectly to horrify and illustrate just how far to the dark side he's gone, not simply to gross out the readers. But, like most of Connelly's villains, we're also able to sympathize with him just a little when we learn what may have led him down his dark path of destruction.
The plot is full of twists and turns that are real and don't feel contrived. The writing, like most of Connelly's work, is clear and crisp perfectly detailed so you feel like you're right behind Bosch as he pursues the truth.
A final good think about Connelly's books is that you don't have to read previous Bosch novels to understand his character or the story. If you haven't read any Connelly before, this book is a good one to introduce yourself to a wonderful writer and a thrilling story.
Four stars (out of four) for the thrilling and page-turning Echo Park.