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Michael Connelly

Just read "City of Bones," by Michael Connelly. I met him once at a very strange event in Fort Lauderdale (click here to read all about it). He's the reincarnation of Raymond Chandler. As Yardley said recently in a review, his debt to Chandler is sometimes a bit blatant. He should probably pay royalties to the Chandler estate. Both writers have detectives who drive around Los Angeles, wind up in strange cul-de-sacs and remote mountain hamlets and get beat up a couple of times and probably drink too much and sleep with the wrong women and ultimately somehow untangle an extremely elaborate murder mystery.

But Harry Bosch, Connelly's hero, is somehow even more believable than Philip Marlowe. Marlowe seemed to be a Hollywood character, a film noir hero even before there was such a thing as film noir. Bosch is fundamentally a professional, trying to abide by good procedure even as he sometimes forgets to tell his partner that he's just solved the case. In "City of Bones" he keeps getting a gut instinct that his slam-dunk solution to the murder is not quite right; the gut doesn't lie. The plot has a twist too many, perhaps, but the ending does not challenge credulity, but rather is kind of simple -- a parsimonious explanation, as any scientist would appreciate.

The ultimate attribute of Connelly is that he can write. Here's his opening paragraph:

"The old lady had changed her mind about dying but by then it was too late. She had dug her fingers into the paint and plaster of the nearby wall until most of her fingernails had broken off. Then she had gone for the neck, scrabbling to push the bloodied fingertips up and under the cord. She broke four toes kicking at the walls. She had tried so hard, shown such a desperate will to live, that it made Harry Bosch wonder what had happened before. Where was that determination and will and why had it deserted her until after she had put the extension cord noose around her neck and kicked over the chair? Why had it hidden from her?"

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 23, 2005; 9:51 PM ET
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If you like "City of Bones," keep reading. Bosch makes a temporary foray into first-person story-telling in "Lost Light" and "The Narrows," which is perhaps one of the best Harry Bosch books yet. Also, the latest "The Closers" just came out last week.

Posted by: James | May 24, 2005 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Connelly's hero is named Harry Bosch...hmm, I wonder if this character paints as a hobby?

I like Carl Hiaasen and James Lee Burke, maybe I'll give this a try.

I wonder if he'd ever considered giving his protagonaist the last name of Busch?

Oh, never mind.


Posted by: bc | May 24, 2005 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Write a review on the Autobiography of Malcolm X, and we'll see how your discussion gets going.

Posted by: mellohush | May 24, 2005 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Nevermind, I forgot that this blog is a tension-free zone. More laughs, please!


Posted by: mellohush | May 24, 2005 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh please, no more book recommendations. Just dropped $85 between Half-Price Books and B&N when I'm supposed to writing. And now I'm killing time here. But darn if that David McCullough didn't go and pen another barn burner, thereby forcing me into the bookstore. Procastination, thy name is writer-on-a-deadline.

Posted by: Procrastinor | May 24, 2005 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Connelly is one of my favorites as is James Lee Burke. James is right- keep reading.

Posted by: savy | May 26, 2005 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The best summer books are light and humorous, like "Correct Me If I'm Wrong" by Dennis Camlek. Can be found on Also good -- "Marker" by Robin Cook.

Posted by: Mary Anne | August 1, 2005 5:40 PM | Report abuse

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