Readerz.Net / Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly (born 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. Connelly is the bestselling author of thirty-one novels and one work of non-fiction. With over 60 million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into forty foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. His very first novel, The Black Echo, won the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. In 2002, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the movie adaptation of Connelly's 1998 novel, Blood Work. In March 2011, the movie adaptation of his #1 bestselling novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, hit theaters worldwide starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller. His most recent #1 New York Times bestsellers include Two Kinds of Truth, The Late Show, The Wrong Side of Goodbye, The Crossing, The Burning Room, The Gods of Guilt, and The Black Box. His books, which have been translated into 39 languages, have garnered him many awards. Connelly was the President of the Mystery Writers of America from 2003 to 2004.
Connelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the second oldest child of W. Michael Connelly, a property developer, and Mary Connelly, a homemaker. According to Connelly, his father was a frustrated artist who encouraged his children to want to succeed in life and was a risk taker who alternated success with failure in his pursuit of a career. Connelly's mother was a fan of crime fiction and introduced her son to the world of mystery novels.
At age 12, Connelly moved with his family from Philadelphia to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School. At age 16, Connelly's interest in crime and mystery escalated when, on his way home from his work as a hotel dishwasher, he witnessed a man throw an object into a hedge. Connelly decided to investigate and found that the object was a gun wrapped in a lumberjack shirt. After putting the gun back, he followed the man to a bar and then left to go home to tell his father. Later that night, Connelly brought the police down to the bar, but the man was already gone. This event introduced Connelly to the world of police officers and their lives, impressing him with the way they worked.
Connelly had planned on following his father's early choice of career in building construction and started out at the University of Florida in Gainesville as a building construction major. After earning grades that were lower than expected, Connelly went to see Robert Altman's film The Long Goodbye (1973). The film, based on Raymond Chandler's 1953 novel of the same name, inspired Connelly to want to become a mystery writer. Connelly went home and read all of Chandler's works featuring Philip Marlowe, a detective in Los Angeles during the 1940s and '50s, and decided to switch majors to journalism with a minor in creative writing.
After graduating from the University of Florida in 1980, Connelly got a job as a crime beat writer at the Daytona Beach News Journal, where he worked for almost two years until he went to the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel in 1981. There, he covered the crime beat during the South Florida cocaine wars. He stayed with the paper for a few years and in 1986, he and two other reporters spent several months interviewing survivors of the 1985 Delta Flight 191 plane crash, which story earned Connelly a place as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The honor also brought Connelly a job as a crime reporter at the Los Angeles Times. He moved to California in 1987 with his wife Linda McCaleb, whom he met while in college and married in April 1984.
After moving to Los Angeles, Connelly went to see the High Tower Apartments where Raymond Chandler's character Philip Marlowe had lived (in The High Window (1942)), and Robert Altman had used for his film The Long Goodbye (1973). Connelly got the manager of the building to promise to phone him if the apartment ever became available. Ten years later, the manager tracked Connelly down, and Connelly decided to rent the place. This apartment served as a place to write for several years.
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.
Harry Bosch and Connelly received a good deal of publicity in 1994, when President Bill Clinton came out of a bookstore carrying a copy of The Concrete Blonde in front of the waiting cameras. A meeting was set up between the two at the Los Angeles Airport.
In 1996, Connelly wrote The Poet, his first book not to feature Bosch; the protagonist was reporter Jack McEvoy. The book was a success and earned Connelly comparisons to author Thomas Harris by reviewers. In 1997, Connelly returned to Bosch in Trunk Music before writing another book, Blood Work (1998), about a different character, FBI agent Terry McCaleb. Blood Work was made into a film in 2002, directed by Clint Eastwood, who also played McCaleb, an agent with a transplanted heart, in pursuit of his donor's murderer. The book came together after one of Connelly's friends had a heart transplant, and he saw what his friend was going through with survivor's guilt after the surgery. When asked if he had anything against the changes made to fit the big screen, Connelly simply replied: "If you take their money, it's their turn to tell the story".
Connelly wrote another book featuring Bosch, Angels Flight (1999), before writing Void Moon (2000), a free-standing book about Las Vegas thief Cassie Black. In 2001, A Darkness More Than Night was published, in which Connelly united Bosch and McCaleb to solve a crime together, before releasing two books in 2002. The first, City of Bones, was the eighth Bosch novel, and the other, Chasing the Dime, was a non-series novel. In 2001, Connelly left California for Tampa Bay, Florida, together with his wife and daughter, so that both he and his wife could be closer to their families. His novels still took place in Los Angeles.
In 2003, another Bosch novel, Lost Light, was published. With this book, a CD was released, Dark Sacred Night, the Music of Harry Bosch, featuring some of the jazz music Bosch listens to. Connelly says he prefers listening to rock and roll, jazz, and blues. While writing he listens exclusively to instrumental jazz, though, because it does not have intrusive vocals, and because the improvisational playing inspires his writing. The Narrows, published in 2004, was a sequel to The Poet but featured Bosch instead of McEvoy. Together with this book, a DVD was released called Blue Neon Night: Michael Connelly's Los Angeles, in which film Connelly presents some of the places in Los Angeles that are frequently featured in his books.
The Closers, published in May 2005, was the 11th Bosch novel. It was followed by The Lincoln Lawyer in October, Connelly's first legal novel; it features defense attorney Mickey Haller, Bosch's half-brother. The book was made into a film in 2011, starring Matthew McConaughey as Haller. After releasing Crime Beat (2006), a non-fiction book about Connelly's experiences as a crime reporter, Connelly went back to Bosch with Echo Park (2006). This book sets its opening scene in the High Tower Apartment that Connelly rented and wrote from. His next Bosch story, The Overlook, was originally published as a multi-part series in the New York Times Magazine. After some editing, it was published as a novel in 2007. In October 2008, Connelly wrote The Brass Verdict, which brought together Bosch and Haller for the first time. He followed that with The Scarecrow (May 2009), which brought back McEvoy as the lead character. 9 Dragons, a novel taking Bosch to Hong Kong, was published in October 2009. The Reversal (October 2010), reunites Bosch & Haller as they work together under the banner of the state on the retrial of a child murderer. The Haller novel The Fifth Witness was published in 2011.
The Drop, which refers in part to the "Deferred Retirement Option Plan" that was described in the novel The Brass Verdict (2008), was published in November 2011. The next Bosch novel was The Black Box (2012). Connelly's subsequent novel, a legal thriller, was a return to Haller: The Gods of Guilt (2013). His next book returned to Bosch in The Burning Room (2014), and then Connelly used Haller as a main supporting character in the Bosch novels The Crossing (2015) and The Wrong Side of Goodbye (2016).
Film and television
Awards and honors
Connelly has won nearly every major award given to mystery writers, including the Edgar Award, Anthony Award, Macavity Award, Los Angeles Times Best Mystery/Thriller Award, Shamus Award, Dilys Award, Nero Award, Barry Award, Audie Award, Ridley Award, Maltese Falcon Award (Japan), .38 Caliber Award (France), the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière (France) and Premio Bancarella Award (Italy). In 2012, The Black Box won the world's most lucrative crime fiction award, the RBA Prize for Crime Writing worth €125,000.
When starting a book, the story is not always clear, but Connelly has a hunch where it is going. The books often reference world events, such as the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the September 11 attacks. Even events that might not be considered as world-changing are included in some of the books, because they are of personal interest to Connelly. For example, in City of Bones, Detective Bosch investigates the murder of an 11-year-old boy. This was written during Connelly's early years as a father of a daughter, and it hit close to home. According to Connelly, he didn't mean to write about the biggest fear of his life; it just came out that way.
Detective Bosch's life usually changes in harmony with Connelly's own life. When Connelly moved 3,000 miles across the country from Florida, Bosch had some life-changing experiences that sent him in a new direction in the book written at that time, City of Bones. According to Connelly, his "real" job is to write about Bosch, and his purpose in bringing McCaleb and Bosch together in A Darkness More Than Night was to use McCaleb as a tool to look at Bosch from another perspective and keep the character interesting.
Every character in the list below, with one exception, has appeared in a Harry Bosch book. All of Michael Connelly's novels occur in the same fictional universe and character crossovers are common.
Each of these characters has appeared in at least two of Connelly's novels.
Short story collections