RARA-AVIS: black echo/cop hater

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 10 May 2002

a couple recent audio "reads" I've enjoyed -

"The Black Echo" by Michael Connelly - though I've read most of the subsequent Harry Bosch books, somehow I missed this one the first time around. Really gripping and engaging - I'm quite impressed by the way Bosch is a haunted loner and all that, yet still seems to enjoy himself, get a kick out of his job and women and life and playing games with the bosses. he coexists with his demons, doesn't just brood over them. I think the reason "A Darkness more than night" fell flat for me is that the "outside" view of Bosch didn't let us see enough of this side of him. McCaleb seems too humorless to "get" Bosch anyway. A few quibbles with the book - there's a very cartoony subplot about Deputy Chief Irving and a couple of bumbling IAD officers that really isn't worthy of the rest of the book; fortunately Irving shows up in later books as a much more nuanced and ambiguous character and IAD officer Chastaine is a much more compelling nemesis. There's also quite a bit of redundancy and overexplaining of rather obvious plot points, which looks more like bad first-book editing than a weakness on the author's part. But overall great plotting, compelling characters, and an interesting twist on the Vietnam veteran angle, where Connelly's journalistic training shows.

after the Connelly, i started on Ed McBain's "Cop Hater," the first 87th precinct book. i've read a few later entries in the series but I'm really enjoying the freshness of the first encounter with the characters. This book was written in 1956 and I was expecting it to feel quite dated; of course there are some details that date the story but what strikes me most overall is how contemporary it feels. mcbain has a gift for dialogue as well as for juicy metaphors, part of a distinctive and recognizable style but certainly not cliched.


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