Black Echo / Crime Novels

What genre of books do you typically read? Do you ever stray from that genre and read books that fall within others? I wouldn’t say I have a typical genre that I read but I recently started reading The Black Echo by Michael Connelly. I’m not much of a “police procedural” novel type of guy. I like police movies, shows, and games, but sometimes the books can get a little longwinded. I like the action and the suspense of the genre, not the long intricate details of a case or the little discoveries a detective with a failing marriage makes while he drinks from a bottle of whiskey and looks at the night skyline in self-reflection. I like the action and day to day spontaneity of police work; I haven’t read many police procedural novels that depict that well.

The Black Echo has started pretty well so far. Unlike others I’ve read, this one actually makes the intricacies of a case plausible and rather interesting when they’re uncovered. I like that there aren’t long gaps between good parts where you can tell the author just needed filler until the next big discovery. Connelly keeps things interesting. If Bosch, the main character, isn’t making progress on a case, Connelly displays needed characteristics of Bosch or other characters that are pertinent to the story, not just a bunch of names that take of page space.

Connelly also does a great job of describing the scenes. The detail he provides isn’t overwhelming and drowning, but enough to where you can picture exactly what he’s describing. It takes place in Los Angeles, a city I know very little about in terms of its geography and landmarks, but the detail is there. Referring to an old post of mine, I’d like to see a group of writers do to Chicago what authors like Chandler and Connelly have done to LA: make it the backdrop of their crime novels and create a genre using Chicago. So much history and amazing stories that have taken place in Chicago. It could be a perfect backdrop if its aura can be properly captured in a novel. Maybe I’ll try a few short stories like that and work from there.

So far, The Black Echo has been a good novel. I’m only a quarter of the way in but it’s already set a good tone in my mind. With twenty-something popular novels written after it, Connelly must be doing something right.

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