Sunday, June 8, 2008

"Echo Park"

"Echo Park" is a Harry Bosch novel by Michael Connelly, © 2006 Hieronymus, Inc., ISBN: 978-0-446-6646-1, paperback, 427 pages. Too many times, it seems to me that novels about serial killers dwell on the grisly details of the murders. I tend to skip over those parts, wondering why people find the macabre so fascinating. "Echo Park" is different in that Connelly concentrated where any good writer should, on plotting and characterizations, writing well to keep the reader engrossed in the story, not sprinkling in crass sensationalism to spur the reader on from one repulsive description to the next. We know from a few brief lines in parts toward the end of the book that the killer did terrible things, but the details are left to our imaginations. Except for a couple of oddly paced phrases at the beginning, the book's flow kept me turning page after page to see what happens next. Connelly is a former journalist who specialized in the crime beat and his weaving in of the details of police procedures and politics shows it. I've never before read anything like this; it was smooth, suspenseful, and completely satisfying. Although I've seen the movie adaptation of his book, "Blood Work," starring Clint Eastwood, this is the first book I've read by this author and I'm impressed enough to put his other works on my list of books to read. If they are as good, Connelly will easily be a favorite.

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