Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Echo Park" by Michael Connelly

“Echo Park,” the latest Harry Bosch novel from Michael Connelly is quite spectacular.

LAPD Detective Bosch is now working cold cases as a member of the Open-Unsolved Unit with his partner Kiz Rider.

In 1993, Bosch worked the Marie Gesto case, where she walked out of a supermarket and disappeared. Her car and cloths were found, but the body never turned up.

Bosch never let go of the case in the thirteen intervening years.

A captured serial killer strikes a deal with the DA. To avoid the death penalty he will own up to several other killings---including Marie Gesto.

Now Bosch must make certain the killer (Raynard Waits) is not conning the DA. Waits’s name never came up in Bosch’s original investigation---in fact, Bosch had a suspect that he still believes could have done it.

Even after Waits leads the DA’s team to the buried body, Bosch is still skeptical.

The well-executed plot is so first-rate and too intricate to reveal any more.

As thought provoking and unsettling as the plot is, it is the well-formed characters with multifaceted personas that are driving forces of the novel.

Mr. Connelly makes the characters authentic…you feel a bona fide attachment to them. He makes you invest in them and truly care for them.

There is a section devoted to the “field trip” to uncover Marie Gesto’s body that is as powerful, emotional and riveting as anything I have ever read. When the “field trip” concluded, I was exhausted…but could not stop reading.

The police procedural aspect is interwoven with LA politics creating an added layer of tension.

Michael Connelly is the master of hiding the telling clues in plain sight. His style deftly entrances you. At the dénouement you have the wonderful “oh wow” moment.

As usual, the Connelly novel is one to read more than once.

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