Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Echo Park - Michael Connelly

Echo Park
Michael Connelly
Little, Brown and Company


Harry Bosch is back. For fans, that sentence is enough to send you to the nearest bookshop. At 60, he’s returned to active duty in the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit, looking into cold cases. Every cop has one unsolved case that haunts him/her. For Bosch, it’s the 1993 disappearance of 22-year-old Marie Gesto. He repeatedly reads over the case file, looking for something he might have missed; something to give the young woman’s family some kind of, if not closure, then at least an answer. Over the years, he’s developed a likely suspect in his mind, but there’s no evidence strong enough for an arrest.

One evening, in Echo Park, a routine traffic stop nets serial killer Reynard Waits. When the cops find body parts in the van, it’s big news, both inside and outside the department. Bosch is drawn into the case when Waits unexpectedly confesses to the murder of Marie Gesto. Waits is not the man Bosch had pegged for the crime, but another re-reading of the case file shows that Waits called the hotline after Marie’s disappearance, acting as a tipster. If he is the killer, it’s possible that, had the tip been investigated, Waits would have been caught in 1993, sparing future victims. It’s also possible that Waits is simply trying to use information about Marie to get himself a lighter sentence. And, with the election for District Attorney in the near future, everyone wants a piece of this political pie.

Fortunately for the reader, Bosch is no pushover. He’s a straightforward, no bs detective, who cares about solving the case and very little else. He’s also a detective who cares deeply about his work, and the fact that his mistake in 1993 could have cost many lives eats away at him. The reader can feel his pain and his need to clear the case, no matter what the outcome. The characters surrounding Bosch are all realistic and complex. The pacing makes it virtually impossible to put this book down before turning the last page.

Rating: 9
October 2006
ISBN# 0-316-73495-0 (hardcover)


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