Saturday, October 27, 2018

Michael Connelly: From Bosch And Ballard To Real-Life Detectives

Declan Hughes at the Irish Times offers a piece on crime novelist Michael Connelly. 

Not content with being the internationally bestselling author of 32 novels in 26 years and the executive producer of Bosch, the acclaimed Amazon Prime TV show based on his most enduring detective Harry Bosch, Michael Connelly is about to launch his own podcast.

It’s called The Murder Book, the first season is about a case that took 30 years to come to court and it will feature the voices of detectives who have “a deep-seated fierceness about not letting people getting away with stuff”.

Stepping out from under the cloak of fiction is not exactly a stretch for Connelly, who still considers himself a reporter at heart – virtually every page of his fiction is firmly rooted in true crime – but there’s rather more at stake for him than mid-career restlessness.

But first, there’s a new book to talk about (with Connelly, there’s always a new book). When ebullient defence lawyer Mickey Haller arrived on the scene in The Lincoln Lawyer, readers suspected it was only a matter of time (two books) before he’d come up against Harry Bosch. Detective Renée Ballard didn’t have to wait so long to find a secure foothold in Connelly’s fictional universe. Following her debut in 2016’s incendiary The Late Show, Ballard is back in Dark Sacred Night. She’s still working the graveyard shift at Hollywood Division, but now she has Bosch to contend with. When did Connelly know that Ballard was a keeper?

“You get to the end of a book and you ask yourself, am I finished with this character or is there more to say? With Renée it was very clear, I was still fascinated by her and what I wanted to do with her. I write about Harry Bosch and Bosch is a murder detective and every story is a murder story, whereas Ballard takes on anything that happens from midnight to 7am, so from the writing standpoint that’s a lot of freedom, I can explore almost anything I want. Also, she’s the kind of character who doesn’t punch out and go home at seven, she carries cases with her, she has that relentless quality, and then the third aspect was, unlike my other characters, who are usually based on an amalgam of real detectives, fictional detectives, movie detectives etc, this character was wholly inspired by one person who I have an ongoing relationship with, so am I stupid or what? Of course I’m gonna use that.”

That person is Mitzi Roberts, an LAPD detective who’s been advising Connelly for years, both on his fiction and also as a technical consultant to the Bosch TV show. Connelly speaks to me from the set in Los Angeles, where they’re shooting the fifth season and – as if to underline his centrality to the enterprise – where he is interrupted more than once by crew seeking his counsel.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read my Washington Times review of Michael Connelly’s last novel, Two Kinds of Truth, via the below link:

And you can read my Crime Beat column Q&A with Michael Connelly via the below link:

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