A Favourite Author – Michael Connelly

Weekly Geeks, the bookbloggers community website, posed an irresistible task for this week’s topic – to tell us about a favourite author and why you love their books. I’ve raved about Paul Auster who is my real literary hero before, so thought I’d talk about another very different author whose books I love today. I’ve picked the crime author:

Michael Connelly

Connelly is best known for his long-running series of novels featuring the  detective Hieronymous ‘Harry’ Bosch, but they aren’t where I discovered his writing.

The first Connelly novel I read was The Poet (1996), which was his first novel not to feature Bosch. The Poet is a tense thriller in which a reporter investigates the apparent suicide of his policeman brother, and he discovers a serial cop-killer who is a fan of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems. He persuades the FBI to investigate and it becomes a race against time to catch ‘The Poet’ with twists and turns that’ll keep you guessing. Loving books like Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs, I was absolutely hooked by The Poet.

Connelly has since written other standalone books, but it is the Harry Bosch ‘police procedurals’ I want to turn to now.  Connelly learned his trade as a crime beat reporter in LA, and reveres Raymond Chandler.  Being a huge fan of Robert Altman’s film of Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, (according to Wikipedia) he went so far as to rent the apartment used by Philip Marlowe in the film to write in.

The Black Echo is the first Harry Bosch book, written back in 1992 and is based partly upon a real case. Bosch is a Vietnam vet, and was a leading detective in the LAPD Robbery-Homicide team, but after killing a suspect was demoted to the Hollywood division, so our hero is flawed from the start. Like all the best detectives he doesn’t react well to authority figures, but he is totally dedicated and a decent man, and he also has his share of heartache. We meet his friends and colleagues, many of whom will recur in subsequent books. Like TV series Hill Street Blues, and Ed McBain’s 57th precinct novels, we get a real flavour of how a police department works.

My favourite of the Harry Bosch novels (so far) is the 4th one, The Last Coyote. While on leave for stress, Harry finds a new mission – to investigate the murder of his mother – she was a prostitute, and was murdered when he was twelve. He has to dig deep, and is led through many hoops before reaching the climax and finding closure for the loss of his mother. The last coyote of the title represents the feelings that Bosch has of being the last of his kind of policeman.

Connelly has created a wonderfully complex character in Bosch. I’ve read his books up to Lost Light, the ninth Harry Bosch novel (and 13th Connelly), and I have a further eight still to read – I ration them to one or two a year, and I think it’s nearly time for my next!

This post was republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive

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