Born in 1956, Connelly cut his teeth as a crime beat writer after graduating from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and creative writing; indeed, many of the subjects he tackles--especially crime in Los Angeles--are born of professional experience. After college, Connelly worked at various Florida newspapers, where he wrote about the crime during the "cocaine wars" of the 1980s. Shortly after being short-listed for a Pulitzer for feature writing, he joined the staff of the Los Angeles Times as a crime reporter. He published his first novel, The Black Echo, to widespread acclaim. Although Connelly lives in Florida, most of his novels take place in Los Angeles, where, he told Bookmarks, "anything can happen ... good and bad." A few years later, Connelly turned to writing full time, and followed The Black Echo with more best-selling Bosch books, thrillers, and series novels.
CONNELLY'S CHARACTERS AND SERIES
The Concrete Blonde (1994)
The third in the Harry Bosch series, The Concrete Blonde gained fame when former President Bill Clinton stepped out of a Washington, D.C., bookstore with a galley proof of the book. Connelly cites as inspiration for this novel real cases written for forensic professionals.
THE STORY: Four years ago, Harry Bosch killed Norman Church, aka the "Dollmaker"--a supposed serial rapist who killed prostitutes and porn stars and decorated his victims' faces. Now Bosch stands trial for the murder of Church. After more evidence turns up, including the body of a woman buried in concrete, Bosch remains convinced that he nabbed the original murderer but suspects that a copycat killer is on the loose--and he may just be an insider in the case. As Bosch stands trial during the day, he hunts for the copycat killer at night.
"the only thing scarier than a serial killer is two serial killers. ... Mr. connelly keeps a tight grip on his seesaw structure, boosting the suspense for the courtroom scenes and saving the gruesome details for the procedural work." MARILYN STASIO, NEW YORK TIMES, 6/12/94
FIRST IN THE SERIES: The Black Echo (1992).
MOST RECENT: The Brass Verdict (**** Jan/Feb 2009), which brings together Mickey Haller from The Lincoln Lawyer (below) and Harry Bosch; and 9 Dragons (**** Jan/Feb 2010).
The Poet (1996)
* DILYS AWARD
In The Poet, Connelly takes a break from Harry Bosch to introduce a less-experienced but equally compelling hero.
THE STORY: Denver crime reporter Jack McEvoy finds himself investigating and reporting on the murder of his twin brother. A respected homicide detective, Sean McEvoy was found dead in his car from a self-in-flicted gunshot, with a cryptic Edgar Allan Poe quote scribbled on the windshield. Jack, however, knows his brother didn't commit suicide--and soon, the "suicides" of police across the country lead him to a serial copycat killer and Internet pedophile dubbed "the Poet." With attractive FBI agent Rachel Walling (a recurring character) at his side, Jack sets out to find the killer.
"[An] engrossing and mostly convincing account of the pursuit of a serial killer. ... Connelly serves up what is, at least to the mercifully uninitiated, an instructive tour of the netherworld of pedophilia and a view of the workings of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that has the air of authority." JONATHAN YARDLEY, WASHINGTON POST, 1/17/96
THE SEQUELS, OF SORTS: The Narrows (2004), featuring Harry Bosch, and The Scarecrow (**** SELECTION July/Aug 2009).
The Lincoln Lawyer
* NEW YORK TIMES #1 BEST SELLER
This legal thriller, Connelly's 16th novel and the first in this series, introduces Michael "Mickey" Haller--a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney and Harry Bosch's half-brother, a man who is forced to confront his own ethical code and conscience. (**** SELECTION Jan/Feb 2006)
THE STORY: Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller represents the lowlifes of the world. He advertises on bus benches, delivers cash payoffs, relies on his two ex-wives, and runs his business from his Lincoln Town Car. Then Haller takes his first high-stakes case from Beverly Hills real estate agent Louis Roulet, accused of assaulting a prostitute. At first, Haller views the case as nothing more than limitless billable hours and his client as innocent. But when he recalls a former client convicted of a similar crime, the case tests his sense of ethics and morality.
NEXT IN THE SERIES: The Brass Verdict (**** Jan/Feb 2009), also featuring Harry Bosch and Jack McEvoy.
RELATED ARTICLE: TALKING TO MICHAEL CONNELLY
BM: What were some of your most fascinating experiences as a crime reporter?
MC: I think the rare occasions when I was given close access to homicide investigations stand out. I once spent a week with a murder squad, and we got three cases. It was fascinating to see the teamwork and the dedication. I saw things I still use in my books 20 years later. The most surreal thing I remember was being on Hollywood Boulevard during the riots in 1992. I watched the looting of Frederick's of Hollywood, the burning of several businesses, and a phalanx of Church of Scientology members standing shoulder to shoulder, holding broomsticks and ready to defend church properties. The whole night was bizarre. The next day I flew to Florida for my brother's wedding. I still smelled like fire.
BM: How did these experiences as a crime reporter inform your first few novels?
MC: The procedures I saw during the homicide investigations definitely went into the books. But I think the riots and everything else I covered on the crime beat sort of informed my novels with this sense that anything can happen in Los Angeles, good and bad.
BM: Why do you continue to love Los Angeles and use it as the setting for your novels?
MC: It's because of the palpable feel that anything can happen. There is a randomness to the place that I have not felt elsewhere, even in New York City. All in a moment things can change in L.A., for better or worse. Tectonic shifts, social shifts, the haves and have-nots, it seems to all be part of the canvas that is the City of Angels--or the City of Angles, as some would have it.
BM: What inspired you to write 9 Dragons?
MC: For a long time I wanted to write a story that brought Harry Bosch's relationship with his daughter to the forefront. She lives in Hong Kong, so I had to take the story there.
BM: What was most interesting about writing 9 Dragons?
MC: A third of the book takes place in Hong Kong, which required me to go there to research it. It's definitely a fish-out-of-water story for Harry Bosch. So I didn't have to know it in the way I need to know what I write about in L.A. But the exotic vibrancy of Hong Kong was so interesting to me, and hopefully, I have captured a bit of it in the book.
BM: Are there more family reunions in store for Harry Bosch?
MC: I am excited by what 9 Dragons does for Harry and the series. It establishes a real relationship with his daughter that can go in many directions. There is also the half-blood prince, Mickey Haller, out there, and I am sure he and Harry will be crossing paths again.
BM: What good books have you read recently?
MC: I am usually reading ahead of the curve because I get manuscripts and galleys in the mail. I read Stephen King's Under the Dome and really fell under the trance of its 1,000-plus pages. On the shorter side, I read Michael Lister's Double exposure in one sitting, and that baby just flew!