“The Black Echo” by Michael Connelly is where “Bosh” all started in 1992. Many things have changed for Bosh over the years, but much that makes Bosh captivating was right there from the start.
Connelly skillfully develops the sense of place that will continue throughout the next twenty books. He immediately plunges readers into Bosch’s world with the
“sound of traffic filtering up from the Hollywood Freeway. It almost sounded gentle from such a distance.”
He introduces readers to the house that we will come to know well.
“From the back porch Bosch could look northeast across Burbank and Glendale … Looking out on the Valley never failed to give Bosch a sense of power.”
In addition, he outlines the source of the purchase.
“the down payment money had come from a studio that gave it to him for the rights to use his name in a TV mini-series”
Connelly brings Bosch to readers as a well-developed and stable character right at the start. Readers meet him as a forty-year-old with a few gray hairs, a graying mustache, and a complex and colorful past right. Bosch’s experiences in Vietnam are “nearer” in this first book, but they never really leave him. That involvement is the source for the first title, “The Black Echo”
“Out of the blue and into the black is what they called going into a tunnel. Each one was a black echo. Nothing but death in there. But, still, they went.”
He grows over the books, but he never fundamentally changes; he is who he is right from this start. (There is that smoking thing, however.) He is a good cop but one who can bend the rules to pursue justice for the victim, and that gives him problems within LAPD right from the start as well. Most of the familiar players are with Bosch in the beginning, Jerry Edger, Harvey Pounder, Lewis and Clark, Irvin Irving, and there, on page 56 in my book, (I had forgotten that she was there from the start,) is FBI Special Agent E. D. Wish — Eleanor Wish, FBI agent, ex-FBI agent, ex-lover, mother of Maddie, ex gambler, ex-resident of Hong Kong, and later dead, Eleanor Wish.
It is a tribute to Connelly’s writing skill that “The Black Echo” is as compelling today as it was years ago. The storyline is complete, factual, and well developed. There is no need to overlook inconsistencies or undeveloped characters because there are none. I enjoyed reading “The Black Echo” and this look back at Bosch as much now as I did the first time I read it.