morning* afternoon – or whatever the time of day is in your part of the world.
*I started typing this in the morning, but I’d be lying if I tried to claim that it’s still morning now – how is it already past 3 pm???
Ok…no need to shout. O.o
I recently started reading a detective series that has existed for almost as long as I have: the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly. The series belongs to a sub-genre of the detective series that is called ‘police procedural series’ – which actually already tells you almost everything you need to know.
I was intrigued by the fact that the nineteenth and twentieth instalments of the series both became New York Times best sellers shortly after their publication in 2014/15, which means that even now – more than twenty years after the first Harry Bosch novel was published – the series’ fan base is still very strong and people seem to eagerly await every new sequel. Or, you know, maybe they just bought the latest instalment without knowing about or having read the rest of the series, but as this thought is deeply uncomfortable to me, let’s just stick with the other theory, shall we?
The Black Echo introduces the series’ hero, Harry Bosch, a detective who lost the trust of his superiors when he killed an unarmed serial killer. Afterwards, he was degraded to working in the Hollywood division of the LAPD – apparently the least favourite division of any LAPD detective. At the beginning of the novel he is called on to investigate the death of a guy who was found in a tunnel and looks like he died from an overdose. Everybody is ready to file the case away as just that – except for Harry Bosch of course. Harry Bosch recognised the dead guy as one of his comrades from Vietnam – small world! – and suspects that this wasn’t just a junkie who couldn’t do his maths on how much heroin he can take.
I don’t think I reveal too much if I let you know that – of course – Harry Bosch’s assumption turns out to be correct. There is indeed a lot more to the case than everyone – except for Bosch – suspects in the beginning, and Harry Bosch ends up uncovering a story that revolves around money, power and revenge. Throw in a beautiful woman and a couple of interesting plot twists, and you get a detective novel that is like many other novels of the genre: a quick read that will keep you entertained for a while, but that is ultimately rather forgettable.
However, I said it before and I’ll say it again: that is OK. Not every novel needs to be worthy of a Nobel prize for literature – just as every film doesn’t have to win an Oscar.*
*Side note: occasionally it’s actually especially entertaining to watch those that definitely don’t deserve one!
So do you have to read this novel? No. You don’t miss out on much if you choose to give this one a pass. But will you regret reading it if you do pick it up? Probably not.
Do you enjoy crime / detective fiction? What’s your favourite series?
Did you read one or more of the Harry Bosch novels? And if so: please tell me that you started with this one, because it’s the first and that’s how it’s supposed to be done.