Michael Connelly

(* 1956)

 Michael ConnellyBiographical Sketch

Michael Connelly (born Philadelphia, PA, USA, July 21, 1956) is an American author of detective novels and other crime fiction, notably those featuring LAPD Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch and criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller. All of Michael Connelly’s novels occur in the same fictional universe and character crossovers are common; particularly among his novels’ principal characters, Detective Harry Bosch, defense attorney Mickey Haller, crime reporter Jack McEvoy and FBI agents Terry McCaleb and Rachel Walling.

Connelly initially worked as a newspaper crime writer in Southern Florida and in Los Angeles, CA. While working for the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel, in 1986, he and two other reporters spent several months interviewing survivors of the 1985 Delta Flight 191 plane crash, a story which earned Connelly a place as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His experience as a journalist would come to inform his novels featuring crime writer Jack McEvoy, as well as the Los Angeles Times reporters appearing in his novels.

Connelly himself was employed with the Los Angeles Times, too, when he published his first novel, The Black Echo, which won the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for best first novel. The book is partly based on a true crime and is the first one featuring Connelly’s primary recurring character, Los Angeles Police Department Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch, named after the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, who is known for his paintings full of sin and redemption. Connelly describes his own work as a big canvas with all the characters of his books floating across it as currents on a painting. Sometime they are bound to collide, creating cross currents. Frequently, this is an effect that Connelly himself also creates by bringing back characters from previous books and letting them play a part in books written five or six years after first being introduced. After The Black Echo, Connelly went on to write three more novels about Detective Bosch – The Black Ice (1993), The Concrete Blonde (1994), and The Last Coyote (1995) – before quitting his job as a reporter to write full-time.

In 1996, Connelly wrote The Poet, his first book not to feature Bosch; the protagonist was reporter Jack McEvoy. In 1997, Connelly returned to Bosch in Trunk Music before writing another book, Blood Work (1998) about a different character, FBI agent Terry McCaleb, an agent with a transplanted heart, in pursuit of his donor’s murderer. The book was made into a film in 2002, directed by Clint Eastwood, who also played McCaleb. (When later asked if he had anything against the changes made to fit the big screen, Connelly said in a 2007 interview, “If you take their money, it’s their turn to tell the story.”) In 2001’s A Darkness More Than Night, Connelly united Bosch and McCaleb to solve a crime together. According to the author, his purpose in bringing McCaleb and Bosch together was to use McCaleb as a tool to look at Bosch from another perspective and keep the character interesting. – McCaleb also features prominently in The Narrows (2004), which operates as a sequel to The Poet, albeit with Bosch and FBI agent Rachel Walling as principal characters instead of Jack McEvoy.

The Lincoln Lawyer (2005) was Connelly’s first legal novel. It featured defense attorney Mickey Haller, who is eventually revealed to be Bosch’s half-brother. The book, which has since been followed by several sequels of its own, was made into a film in 2011 directed by Brad Furman; Matthew McConaughey played Mickey Haller.

Connelly has said that when starting a book, the story is not always clear but he has a hunch where it is going. The books often reference world events, such as the events of September 11, 2001 or the 1991 beating of Rodney King. Events that are of personal interest to Connelly are likewise directly or indiretly included in some of the books, such as a friend’s heart transplant experience, which inspired the writing of Blood Work. Detective Bosch’s life, in particular, usually changes in harmony with Connelly’s own life. While Connelly moved 3,000 miles across the country to Florida in 2001, Bosch, in turn, had some life changing experiences that sent him in a new direction in the book written at this time, City of Bones.

Connelly’s books, which have been translated into 36 languages, have won virtually every major award given to mystery writers, including the Edgar Award, Anthony Award, Macavity Award, Los Angeles Times Best Mystery/Thriller Award, Shamus Award, Nero Wolfe Award, Audies Award, and various international awards. Connelly was the President of the Mystery Writers of America from 2003 to 2004.

Read more about Michael Connelly on Wikipedia.

 

 Major Awards and Honors

Edgar (Allan Poe) Awards
(Mystery Writers of America)
  • 1993: Best First Novel by an American Author – “The Black Echo”
Los Angeles Times Book Prizes
  • 2006: Best Mystery/Thriller – “Echo Park”
Shamus Awards
(PWA – Private Eye Writers of America)
    • 2006: Best P.I. Novel – “The Lincoln Lawyer”
Nero Wolfe Award (USA)
    • 1997: Best Mystery of the Year – “The Poet”
Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction (University of Alabama School of Law and ABA Journal)
  • 2012: “The Fifth Witness”
Anthony Awards (World Mystery Convention)
  • 1997: Best Novel – “The Poet”
  • 1999: Best Novel – “Blood Work”
  • 2003: Best Novel – “City Of Bones”
  • 2009: Best Novel – “The Brass Verdict”
Macavity Awards
(Mystery Readers International)
  • 1999: Best Mystery Novel – “Blood Work”
  • 2009: Best Mystery Novel – “The Lincoln Lawyer”
Audie Awards
(APA – Audio Publishers Association)
  • 2004: Best Mystery – “Lost Light”
    (narrated by Len Cariou)
  • 2007: Best Mystery – “Echo Park”
    (narrated by Len Cariou)
  • 2011: Best Mystery – “The Reversal”
    (narrated by Peter Giles)
Grand Prix de Littérature Policière (France)
  • 1999: “Blood Work”
Deutscher Krimi-Preis
(German Crime Fiction Prize)
  • 2000: Third Place – “Blood Work”
  • 2001: Second Place – “Angels Flight”
Premio Bancarella (Italy)
  • 2000: – “Angels Flight”
Maltese Falcon Society (Japan)
  • 1995: Falcon Award – “The Black Ice”

 

Bibliography

Harry Bosch Novels
  • The Harry Bosch Novels (2000)
    • The Black Echo (1992)
    • The Black Ice (1993)
    • The Concrete Blonde (1994)
  • The Harry Bosch Novels, Volume 2 (2003)
  • The Harry Bosch Novels, Volume 3 (2008)
    • A Darkness More Than Night (2001)
      – Also features Terry McCaleb.
    • City of Bones (2002)
    • Lost Light (2003)
  • The Harry Bosch Novels, Volume 4 (2009)
    • The Narrows (2004)
      – Sequel to the Jack McEvoy novel The Poet.
    • The Closers (2005)
    • Echo Park (2006)
  • The Overlook (2007)
    – Originally published as a multipart series in the New York Times Magazine.
  • Nine Dragons (2008)
  • The Drop (2009)
  • The Black Box (2012)
Terry McCaleb Novels
  • Blood Work (1998)
Novels featuring both Harry Bosch and Terry McCaleb
  • A Darkness More Than Night (2001)
  • The Narrows (2004)
    – Also sequel to the Jack McEvoy novel The Poet.
Mickey Haller Novels
  • The Lincoln Lawyer (2005)
  • The Fifth Witness (2011)
Novels featuring both Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller
  • The Brass Verdict (2008)
  • The Reversal (2010)
  • The Gods of Guilt (2013)
Jack McEvoy Novels
  • The Poet (1997)
  • The Scarecrow (2009)
Non-Series Books
  • Void Moon (2000)
  • Chasing the Dime (2002)
  • Three Great Novels: The Thrillers (2002)
    • The Poet (1997)
      – Jack McEvoy novel.
    • Blood Work (1998)
      – Terry McCaleb novel.
    • Void Moon (2000)
Short Story Collections
  • Angle of Investigation (2011)
    – Includes Christmas Even, Father’s Day and Angle of Investigation.
  • Suicide Run (2011)
    – Includes Suicide Run, Cielo Azul and One Dollar Jackpot.
  • Mulholland Dive (2012)
    – Includes Cahoots, Mulholland Dive and Two-Bagger.
Contributions to/Editorship of Short Story Collections and Anthologies
  • Murderers’ Row (2001)
    – Short story collection of baseball mysteries; includes Connelly’s Two-Bagger.
  • Measures Of Poison (2002)
    – Anthology of original stories written in 1930s’ “pulp” style; includes Connelly’s Cahoots.
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 2002
    – Annual short story collection (2002 edition edited by James Ellroy); includes Connelly’s Two-Bagger.
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 2003 (2003)
    – Annual short story collection; 2003 guest editor.
  • Men from Boys (2003)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s After Midnight.
  • Murder … and All That Jazz (2004)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s Christmas Even (a Harry Bosch story).
  • Dangerous Women (2005)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s Cielo Azul (backstory to A Darkness More Than Night).
  • The Secret Society Of Demolition Writers (2005)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s The Safe Man as an anonymous contribution.
  • Plots with Guns (2005)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s Angle of Investigation (Harry Bosch story; continuation of The Closers).
  • Murder in Vegas: New Crime Tales of Gambling and Desperation (2005)
    – collection of short stories; editor.
  • The Penguin Book Of Crime Stories (2007)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s Angle of Investigation (a Harry Bosch story; continuation of the novel The Closers).
  • Los Angeles Noir (2007)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s Mulholland Dive.
  • Hollywood and Crime (2007)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s Suicide Run (a Harry Bosch story).
  • Dead Man’s Hand (2007)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s One Dollar Jackpot (a Harry Bosch story).
  • The Blue Religion (2008)
    – collection of short stories; editor and contributor of the Harry Bosch story Father’s Day.
  • Prisoner of Memory (2008)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s Mulholland Dive.
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 2008
    – Annual short story collection; includes Connelly’s Mulholland Dive.
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 2009
    – Annual short story collection; includes Connelly’s Father’s Day (a Harry Bosch story).
  • Half-Minute Horrors (2009)
    – Short story collection for kids ages 9-12; includes Connelly’s Short Cut.
  • In the Shadow of the Master (2009)
    – Collected short stories by Edgar Allan Poe re-written by current mystery writers including Sue Grafton and Stephen King: Editor, Michael Connelly.
  • Hook, Line & Sinister (2010)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s Blue on Black (a Harry Bosch story).
  • The Dark End of the Street (2010)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s The Perfect Triangle (a Mickey Haller story).
  • The Rich and the Dead (2011)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s Blood Washes Off (a Harry Bosch story).
  • The Drop (2011)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s Homicide Special (a Harry Bosch story).
  • Mystery Writers of America Presents Vengeance (2012)
    – Short story collection; includes Connelly’s A Fine Mist of Blood (a Harry Bosch story).
Nonfiction
  • Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers (2006)

 

A Selection of Quotes

The Black Echo

“The setting sun burned the sky pink and orange in the same bright hues as surfers’ bathing suits. It was beautiful deception, Bosch thought, as he drove north on the Hollywood Freeway to home. Sunsets did that here. Made you forget it was the smog that made their colors so brilliant, that behind every pretty picture there could be an ugly story.”

“You can’t patch a wounded soul with a Band-Aid.”

The Last Coyote

“What is jealousy but a reflection of your own failures?”

Trunk Music

“The Strip was still lit by a million neon lights, though the crowds on the sidewalk had greatly decreased by this hour. Still, Bosch was awed by the spectacle of light. In every imaginable color and configuration, it was a megawatt funnel of enticement to greed that burned twenty-four hours a day. Bosch felt the same attraction that all the other grinders felt tug at them. Las Vegas was like one of the hookers on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Even happily married men at least glanced their way, if only for a second, just to get an idea what was out there, maybe give them something to think about. Las Vegas was like that. There was a visceral attraction here. The bold promise of money and sex. But the first was a broken promise, a mirage, and the second was fraught with danger, expense, physical and mental risk. It was where the real gambling took place in this town.”

“Bosch had never liked Las Vegas, though he came often on cases. It shared a kinship with Los Angeles; both were places desperate people ran to. Often, when they ran from Los Angeles, they came here. It was the only place left.”

“Hidden Highlands was maybe a little richer but not that different from many of the other small, wealthy and scared enclaves nestled in the hills and valleys around Los Angeles. Walls and gates, guardhouses and private security forces were the secret ingredients of the so-called melting pot of southern California.”

A Darkness More Than Night

“There was polite laughter in the courtroom. Bosch noticed that the attorneys – prosecution and defense – dutifully joined in, a couple of them overdoing it. It had been his experience that while in open court a judge could not possibly tell a joke that the lawyers did not laugh at.”

The Narrows

“The gravel road widened into a large turnaround where three similar looking and designed brothels sat waiting for customers. They were called Sheila’s Front Porch, Tawny’s High Five Ranch and Miss Delilah’s House of Holies.
“Nice,” Rachel said as we surveyed the scene. “why are these places always named after women – as if women actually own them?”
“You got me. I guess Mister Dave’s House of Holies wouldn’t go over so well with the guys.”
Rachel smiled.
“You’re right. I guess it’s a shrewd move. Name a place of female degradation and slavery after a female and it doesn’t sound so bad, does it? It’s packaging.”

The Lincoln Lawyer

“Well, did he do it?”
She always asked the irrelevant question. It didn’t matter in terms of the strategy of the case whether the defendant “did it” or not. What mattered was the evidence against him – the proof – and if and how it could be neutralized. My job was to bury the proof, to color the proof a shade of gray. Gray was the color of reasonable doubt.”

“You know what my father said about innocent clients? … He said the scariest client a lawyer will ever have is an innocent client. Because if you fuck up and he goes to prison, it’ll scar you for life … He said there is no in-between with an innocent client. No negotiation, no plea bargain, no middle ground. There’s only one verdict. You have to put an NG up on the scoreboard. There’s no other verdict but not guilty.”
Levin nodded thoughtfully.
“The bottom line was my old man was a damn good lawyer and he didn’t like having innocent clients,” I said. “I’m not sure I do, either.”

The Brass Verdict

“Los Angeles was the kind of place where everybody was from somewhere else and nobody really droppped anchor. It was a transient place. People drawn by the dream, people running from the nightmare. Twelve million people and all of them ready to make a break for it if necessary. Figuratively, literally, metaphorically – any way you want to look at it – everbody in L.A. keeps a bag packed. Just in case.”

“The bag was a hybrid I had picked up at a store called Suitcase City while I was plotting my comeback. […] It had a logo on it – a mountain ridgeline with the words “Suitcase City” printed across it like the Hollywood sign. Above it, skylights swept the horizon, completing the dream image of desire and hope. I think that logo was the real reason I liked the bag. Because I knew Suitcase City wasn’t a store. It was a place. It was Los Angeles.”

The Fifth Witness

“Don’t go growing a conscience on me,” I said. “I’ve been down that road. It doesn’t lead you to anything good.”

“You know you’re going to get burned from time to time. It’s just part of the game. So when it happens you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and forget about it because they’re about to snap the ball again.”

Chasing the Dime

“Money. The ultimate motivation. The ultimate way of keeping score.”

The Castle

“You know what I did after I wrote my first novel? I shut up and wrote twenty-three more.”

Find more quotes by Michael Connelly on Goodreads.

 

Links