Sliding into a new Harry Bosch book is like sliding into a pair of comfortable old slippers. It just feels so good. Back on the job about a year after retiring, Harry has been assigned to the Open/Unsolved unit --- a tough place for a cop like Harry, a rogue driven by intolerance for justice gone unserved. It might sound like it would make him a perfect fit, except that Harry isn't a really good team player; he's closer, actually, to an old-fashioned vigilante. Rules can't contain Harry. At least, that's what he thinks. Sometimes his attitude gets him in hot water. This time, it may cost him dearly.
In 1993, Marie Gesto, a woman in her early twenties, went missing. Along with almost every other cop, Harry believes that she has been dead since her disappearance. To hold out hope that she might be found alive and well would be capricious at best. And despite the fact that Harry does not believe in something a lot of folks call "closure," he does believe that the family needs to know and, more importantly, that the killer --- if indeed there is one --- needs to be caught. For the past 13 years, Harry has been looking at a spoiled rich kid he believes did it. He's just itching to find enough evidence to put him away.
It's now election time, and Rick O'Shea is running for District Attorney. Every move O'Shea makes is carefully calculated to reflect well on himself, and reflect big in the media, with the race such a highly contentious one. So when O'Shea's office approaches Harry with a deal involving a suspect who claims to have murdered the Gesto woman --- plus a long list of others --- Harry eyes it with suspicion and distaste. While Harry doesn't care a fig about politics, he does care about wiping this killer off the face of the earth. Reluctantly, he listens, swallows his pride and comes to the conclusion that he's been investigating the wrong guy for more than a decade. This suspect's confession has all the earmarks of the real thing, right down to pinpointing Marie Gesto's grave. But, as always, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Harry approaches this case, as he does all of them, like a bulldog with a bone. Whatever he gets his teeth into is as good as his, for he will never let go. And more than ever, he has a lot at stake.
Michael Connelly doesn't overcomplicate his plots. He doesn't need a host of bizarre subplots and odd coincidences to deliver an engrossing mystery with plausible twists, all of which makes Connelly's books a delight to lose oneself in. ECHO PARK shows Connelly in his best form.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 21, 2011