Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Michael Connelly

Mystery writer Michael Connelly, master of 'hard-boiled' mysteries
by Steven Williams

mystery author Michael ConnellyMichael Connelly is an American author of modern mystery novels noted for his "hard-boiled" mystery style, heavily influenced by Connelly's admiration of Raymond Chandlers mysteries. Spring 2007 marked the release of The Overlook, Connelly's 13th Harry Bosch novel (and 18th published mystery novel). Connelly began his writing career, after a receiving a degree in journalism in 1980, working as a journalist in Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After several years, he participated as co-author on an article short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize. This recognition lead to his move to writing as a crime reporter at the Los Angeles Times. After several years of reporting crime, Connelly published his first crime novel. This novel, The Black Echo, (1992) was good enough to be honored with an Edgar Award for Best First Novel by the Mystery Writers of America. Since then, Connelly has gone on to become a best-selling mystery writer and continues to receive critical praise for his work. Connelly is noted for his skillful use of pacing to produce thrillers that provide non-stop action and explosive endings. He is also known for plots with believable, logical surprises and moral twists that frequently connect the main character to the criminal's guilt. Bookmarc's is pleased to be able to offer for sale a nice selection of signed Connelly first editions.

The Harry Bosch series of mystery novel by Michael ConnellyThe Harry Bosch Series
The most frequently recurring character used by Connelly is LAPD Detective Hieronymous 'Harry' Bosch. Named after the 15th century Dutch painter of the same name. Connelly has chosen Bosch for the name of his main character in order to juxtapose contemporary Los Angeles with some of the painter's detailed landscapes of debauchery, violence and human defilement.

The Black Ice (1993)
The Black Ice by Michael Connelly front coverConnelly's second Hieronymous 'Harry' Bosch novel is a procedural thriller set in and around the drug-trafficking underworlds of inner-city Los Angeles and the wastelands of northwestern Mexico. The story begins with a dead LAPD narcotics officer in a hotel room. Though it is officially declared a suicide, some odd, unexplained details compell Bosch into a maverick investigation of his own despite being warned to lay off by police brass. In the mean time, Bosch's boss gives him the job of clearing up a pile of cases originally assigned to a useless drunk working in their department. One of these cases has ties to the death of the narcotics officer. When the original officer assigned to these cases is also murdered, Bosch begins to tie all three murders together and linked to a designer drug called 'black ice.' The bloody trail he follows after the source this drug leads him into the Hollywood Boulevard drug scene and then on into the alleyways south of the California-Mexico border.

The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly front coverThe Last Coyote (1995)
Connelly's fourth Harry Bosch novel. Bosch's life is going wrong in every way including a suspension from the force pending a psychiatric evaluation. Once he actually starts to cooperate with the LAPD shrink, he finds himself drawn to the unsolved case of his mother's murder when he was eleven years old. Bosch has avoided the case since becoming a detective because of his shame that his mother was a protitute. As he looks at, the case is not only obviously bungled but also stinks of a cover-up. Someone powerful kept the investigating officers away from key suspects. Bosch relentlessly follows up the old evidence which leads toward prominent people who lead public lives high in the Hollywood hills.

Trunk Music by Michael Connelly front coverTrunk Music (1997)
A Harry Bosch novel. Bosch is back on the job after an involuntary leave of absence. The first case he is assigned after returning to work is an apparent Mafia hit. A Hollywood producer who has been found in the trunk of his Rolls-Royce, shot twice in the head. Bosch follows a money trail from the producer's office to Las Vegas, where he finds evidence of Mafia involvement. Despite appearances, something about the case doesn't add up. A string of odd, seemingly trivial clues, he discovers a scheme much more dangerous than he imagined and which makes him a target also.

Blood Work by Michael Connelly front cover
Blood Work (1998)
This novel features retired FBI agent Terry McCaleb. McCaleb was forced into early retirement because of heart disease. While recuperating from a heart transplant, the heart donor's sister asks him to investigate her sister's murder. The investigation leads McCaleb to discover that a murder during a seemingly random convenience-store robbery, is actually a serial murder. 'Blood Work' won the Grand Prix, the highest honor for a mystery novel in France. It also won the Anthony Award and Macavity Award for Best Novel of 1998. This story was also made into the 2002 movie, using the same title, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood.

Angels Flight (1999)
Angels Flight by Michael Connelly front coverA Harry Bosch novel. A high profile black lawyer is found inside a cable railway car in downtown Los Angeles. He specialized in lawsuits alleging police brutality, racism, and corruption. As a result, every LAPD cop is a possible suspect in his killing and not one detective in the department wants to take the case. Detective Harry Bosch is put in charge of the case. The murder occured just as its victim was about to bring a civil case against the LAPD for violent interrogation tactics that left his client with a partial loss of hearing. The client had already been acquitted of the rape and murder of a twelve-year-old girl, but Bosch and many others believe he was actually guilty. To complicate matters, before he was killed, the lawyer intimated that the civil case would both implicate the guilty cops and expose the real murderer of the little girl.

Void Moon by Michael Connelly front coverVoid Moon (2000)
The main character is Cassie Black, an ex-con who has recovered her life and is thriving at a job selling Porsches to Hollywood hotshots. That is, until a personal secret, something that has sustained her during the worst times of her life, is threatened. Cassie throws over her new to go back to her old line of work robbing casino gamblers. She is desperate to make enough money fast enough to maybe make everything right again. A friend lines up her first job with a seemingly perfect mark, a man who has been winning steadily for an entire week at high-stakes baccarat. The job goes smoothly until she opens the mark's briefcase and discovers that she has crossed paths again with the same man who destroyed her life six years before ending with her in prison. He's a private investigator by day who does bloody work for casino owners as a side line. She instantly knows she will need every ounce of skill and luck she has to stay alive.

A Darkness More than Night (2001)
A Darkness More Than Night by Michael Connelly front coverA Harry Bosch novel that also features Terrell “Terry” McCaleb, the retired FBI agent originally introduced in Blood Work. A movie director is charged with murdering an actress during sex, and then staging her death to make it look like a suicide. Bosch is both the arresting officer and the star witness in the trial which quickly becomes a media circus. At the same time this is happening, McCaleb is approached by the sheriff's office and asked to take a look at a puzzling murder on which the investigation has stalled. As MaCaleb's quick look becomes a full-blown investigation, the two crimes begin to overlap. McCaleb believes he has encountered the most frightening killer in his experience, but his investigation tangles with Bosch's. The two men find themselves at odds in the most dangerous investigation of both their careers.

Chasing the Dime by Michael Connelly front coverChasing the Dime (2002)
The main character in this story is a young computer entrepreneur, Henry Pierce, who moves into a new apartment with a new phone number. It turns out that woman named Lilly actually had the phone number before him and he begins receiving messages on his line that are for a woman named Lilly who is in some kind of serious trouble. Lilly apparently has been living in a world of escort services, sex websites, and secret identities. As Pierce uses his computer skills to dig into the woman's past, his orderly life degenerates into a frantic race to save the life of a woman he has never met.

City of Bones by Michael Connelly front coverCity of Bones (2002)
A chance discovery of a human bone by a doctor's dog, leads Harry Bosch to the discovery of a shallow grave in the Hollywood hills. The murder is over twenty years old, but Bosch begins tracking down street kids and runaways from the 1970s. The cold case suddenly becomes hot when a suspect bolts, a cop is shot, and it suddenly has all of L.A. in an uproar.

Lost Light by Michael Connelly front cover
Lost Light (2003)
A Harry Bosch novel. In frustration, Bosch has resigned from the LAPD. He is not up to the life of a retiree though. When he left, Bosch took a file with him about a case of a film production assistant murdered four years earlier during a $2 million robbery on a movie set. The LAPD has decided that the stolen money has been used to finance a terrorist training camp. Prompted by the Feds, LAPD is about to let the killer go free as a ruse to try and trace down the presumed terrorists. Bosch's thoughts are about the original murder victim and so he sets out to find the killer and ends up in conflict with both his old colleagues and the FBI.

The Narrows (2004)
The Narrows by Michael Connelly front coverA Harry Bosch novel also featuring FBI agent Rachel Walling and retired FBI agent Terry McCaleb. Walling gets a call telling her that the serial killer who called himself The Poet has returned. She has been dreading this ever since she worked on the original case tracking down a killer who wove lines of poetry into hideous crimes. The killer remembers her also. Harry Bosch gets a call, too. He left the LAPD and a new father. The phone call is a request by an old friend for Bosch to check into the death of her husband. Initially, the death appears natural, but the dead man had ties to the hunt for The Poet so Bosch starts to dig deeper. Bosch ends up in league with Walling, both of them at odds with the FBI, and off hunting for the most ruthless and ingenious murderer in Los Angeles history.

The Closers by Michael Connelly front coverThe Closers (2005)
A Harry Bosch novel. Harry Bosch returns to the LAPD after a three year absence. It has changed dramatically since he left. A new Police Chief was brought in from New York and the entire force has been cleaned up. He is assigned to the department's Open-Unsolved Unit which works on the thousands of cold cases in the LAPD's files. A DNA match connects a white supremacist to the 1988 murder of a sixteen-year-old girl. The case appears to have a racial angle which increases its politically sensitivity.

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly front coverThe Lincoln Lawyer (2005)
A novel featuring Michael 'Mickey' Haller, a criminal defense attorney and Harry Bosch's half brother. Haller is a low-rent 'Lincoln Lawyer,' a criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back seat of a Lincoln Town Car traveling between the courthouses of Los Angeles county. He has come to see law as all about negotiation and manipulation, almost never about justice, guilt or innocence. Things begin to look up when a Beverly Hills playboy chooses Haller to deal wih his arrest for attacking a woman he picked up in a bar. This high-playing client seems to have a very easy case, but then someone close to Haller is murdered. Haller then finds himself desperately using every trick and skill in his arsenal just to stay alive.

A color photo of the front cover of ‘Crime Beat’ by Michael Connelly.Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers (May, 2006)
A compilation of twenty-three of Connelly's articles written as a prizewinning crime reporter who covered the homicide beat in Florida and Los Angeles. These articles, from the 1980s and early 1990s, are grouped into three sectins: The Cops, The Killers, and The Cases. This collection should be of special interest to readers interested in the real-life roots of Connelly's fiction. Connelly was particularly skilled at telling the real stories of a murder, especially its aftermath. He did this by following the investigators, the victims, the victims' families and friends, and the victims' killers. With an afterword by Michael Carlson.

The Overlook by Michael Connelly front cover

The Overlook (2007)
A serial novella published in The New York Times Magazine, and then released as a full novel featuring FBI agent Rachel Walling and LAPD detective Harry Bosch. Bosch is back in the LAPD and in the Homicide Special squad. A doctor with access to a radioactive cesium is found murdered on the overlook above the Mulholland Dam. Bosch's investigation reveals that a large amount of the radioactive cesium was stolen shortly before the doctor's murder. It is very likely part of a plot to produce and set off a dirty bomb in an American city. The feds decide that the case it just too important to be left to the LAPD but Bosch is out to prove them wrong.

A color photo of the front cover of ‘The Brass Verdict’ by Michael Connelly.The Brass Verdict (October, 2008)
Connelly's twentieth book features his recurring character, Los Angeles lawyer Mickey Haller. Haller has been on a self imposed sabbatical while recovering from a gunshot wound in his gut and his resulting addiction to pain killers. Intending to ease back into a full-time legal practice, Haller finds himself almost immediatly in the thick of things when he inherits the law practice and caseload of slight acquaitance, a fellow attorney who has been recently murdered. The most important of the dead lawyer's pending cases is a high-profile double-homicide murder case against a Hollywood producer. The client is accused of shooting his wife and her lover in a fit of jealousy. Haller's efforts to build some sort of defense for this case leads him into contact with and then conflict with Los Angeles Police Department Detective Harry Bosch, one of Connelly's most enduring and endearing characters. Bosch has been investigating the case of the murdered lawyer. When Haller discovers that the pending murder trial has connectins to bigger things than a jealous husband's crime of passion, he he ends up teaming up with Bosch to dig further. Hallar and Bosch soon find themselves involved in what looks to be the biggest case of their careers.

A color photo of the front cover of #8216;The Scarecrow’ by Michael Connelly.The Scarecrow (May, 2009)
The Scarecrow features Connelly's recurring newspaperman character Jac McEvoy. McEvoy has recently been given notice that his job at the Los Angeles Times will be cut because of budget cuts by the struggling newspaper. He only has a few days left on the job and is tasked with training his own replacement, a kid just out of journalism school. McEvoy decides to go out with a bang and sets out to find a murder story which has enough substance to it to make it suitable as the pinnacle of his career, and a Pulitzer prize. The case he decides to focus on is that of a teenage drug dealer who has confessed to murder, the brutal rape and murder of an exotic dancer who was one of his crack clients. As McEvoy digs into the case he discovers that the confession is fake and that the young man is innocent. The investigation leads McEvoy onto the track of a killer and makes contact with another of Connelly's recurring characters, FBI Agent Rachel Walling. The two become convinced they have uncovered the tracks of a previously unknown serial killer. As McEvoy and Walling pursue their leads, they are unaware that McEvoy's online research has triggered stealth computer alarms that the real killer has set up in order to stay beyond the notice of the police or the FBI. The killer now knows that McEvoy and Walling are coming he sets out in pursuit of them and McEvoy and Walling soon realize they are the ones being hunted.

A color photo fo the front cover of ‘Nine Dragons’ by Michael Connelly.Nine Dragons (October, 2009)
Connelly's newest Harry Bosch thriller puts him into conflict with a vicious Hong Kong trad. A local, small liquor shop in Bosch' neighborhood is the scene of the murder of the store's owner. Bosch promises the murdered man's family that he will find the killer, but this inadvertently opens up a world of pain for Bosch. Initially, Bosch enlists the aid of a detective from the department's Asian Gang Unit, both to help with translating and interpreting and to help him navigate the unfamiliar cultural norms and expectations of the immigrant Hong Kong community. The investigation soon uncovers a link to a Hong Kong triad and it is when Bosch is beginning to make this progress in the investigation that his young daughter, living in Hong Kong with her mother, is reported missing. Bosch immediately goes to Hong Kong and desperately works to get her back all the time having to worry that it was his investigation that triggered the disappearance. Kowloon, which translates as Nine Dragons is the peninsula jutting south from the Chinese mainland towards Hong Kong Island. The Hungry Ghost Festival runs for the entire seventh month of the Chinese calendar. During this time, it is believed that the gates of hell open and hungry ghosts are allowed to roam the world. It is during this time of the Hungry Ghosts that Harry Bosch finds himself in Kowloon frantically searching for his daughter.

Michael Connelly's author website
Michael Connelly at Wikipedia
Newspaper Noir, a Washington Post in-depth article about Michael Connelly and his new book The Scarecrow.

Los Angeles nighttime skyline

Newer Article: Modern Mystery Genres


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Mystery writer Michael Connelly, master of 'hard-boiled' mysteries by Steven Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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