This post is the tenth in a series that I’ve been writing about the individuals that I view as the masters in my genre of choice, crime/detective fiction. I am a firm believer that you become better in whatever field you pursue by following those that excelled and paved the way before you.
Michael Connelly is best known for his Bosch series. Heironymous “Harry” Bosch is a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. He has been featured in 19 novels by Connelly, who has also written nine novels not featuring Bosch along with several short stories. His Bosch character was adapted into a series for Amazon. His novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, was adapted into a well-known film.
Connelly has won every major mystery writer award. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and having lived in Florida since age 12. After graduating, Connelly worked with newspapers in Daytona and Fort Lauderdale covering the crime beat.
After three years at the Los Angeles Times, Connelly wrote his first published novel, The Black Echo (1992), after previously writing two unfinished novels that he had not attempted to get published. He sold The Black Echo to Little, Brown to be published in 1992 and 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, a man who, according to Connelly, shares few similarities with the author himself.
Connelly named Bosch after the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, known for his paintings full of sin and redemption, such as the painting Hell, a copy of which hangs on the office wall behind Connelly’s computer. Connelly describes his own work as a big canvas with all the characters of his books floating across it as currents on a painting. Sometimes they are bound to collide, creating cross currents. This is something that Connelly 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.
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.
The success of his Bosch series is, in part, attributable to publicity he received when President Bill Clinton was photographed coming out of a bookstore holding a copy of The Concrete Blonde. The two later met in Los Angeles.
Connelly continues to enjoy success with his Harry Bosch series as well as his standalone work.
I resonate with Connelly based on his approach to writing. He doesn’t always know where his story will go, although he has a general idea. Also, his characters are influenced by world events and change as his own life changes.