A Doubled-Barrelled Blast!

Harry Bosch
Created by Michael Connelly

"No, not Harry Bosch," he said quietly... "It's always just what he wants. He's always been a private investigator, even when he carried a badge." 
(an FBI agent on how Harry works, from Lost Light)

EDITOR'S NOTE: And after eight novels with a badge, Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch finally became an official PI, with both a California license and first person narration. It was such a seismic shockwave in crime fiction circles at the time that it took not one, but two contributors (both die-hard Connelly fans) to give me the whole scoop. My sincere thanks to both Kelly Levendorf and Dale Stoyer for filling us in, and for being stand-up guys about it.

Now if only Connelly had kept Harry private...

HIERONYMOUS "HARRY" BOSCH was named after a 15th century painter infamous for his richly detailed landscapes of wanton debauchery and imaginatively graphic violence. Our Harry, meanwhile, grew up in Los Angeles, largely an orphan and occasionally in foster care after his mother was arrested for prostitution and later murdered. Following a stint in Vietnam as a "tunnel rat," he became a police officer, eventually rising through the ranks to become a Homicide Detective-Three in the LAPD.

But Harry is more than just a cop -- he's a man with a mission, a mission to, in his own words, "speak for the dead." With a single-mindedness for doing right that is equal parts passion and arrogance, Connelly's most famous character has brilliantly succeeded ("homicide is a calling, not a career"), closing both politically sensitive and long unsolved cases, including the decades old murder of his own mother. But often at great personal and professional cost to Harry. This is definitely a series to read chronologically, as Connelly uses elements hinted at in several books to great effect in those that follow. The first eight books in this series follow Harry through some of his adventures as an LAPD Detective, although he spends much of that time serving out suspensions or struggling to keep what's left of his career.

Lost Light (2003), the ninth book in the series brings dramatic changes into Harry's life (and, coincidentally, is his first adventure in first person narrative). He's no longer a cop, but has retired after twenty-eight years, taking a whole slew of his unsolved cases with him. He has a PI license but isn't sure he wants to use it. What he really wants is to continiue to speak for the dead. And although the book ends on a note indicative of a major change in Harry's life, it would seem that mission is far too deeply rooted in Harry's psyche for him to ever completely retire.

Michael Connelly first burst upon the scene with The Black Echo in 1992, which promptly nabbed the Edgar for Best First Mystery of that year. But it was a goal which Connelly had long been aiming tfor, ever since he was a student at the University of Florida back in the seventies, where he had discovered the books of Raymond Chandler. After graduating in 1980, having majored in journalism with a minor in creative writing, Connelly worked at various newspapers in Florida, mostly working the crime beat. A magazine story he co-wrote on a major airplane crash was later short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, and helped land him a job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times. The Black Echo, which introduced Harry Bosch, was his first novel.

Besides the Bosch series, Connelly has written The Poet, a thriller which introduced tabloid reporter Jack McEvoy as a protagonist in 1996, and Blood Work, featuring former FBI profiler Terry McCaleb in 1998. 2000's Void Moon introduced Cassie Black, a Las Vegas thief, and 2005 saw the introduction of grunt criminal attorney Mickey Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer.

One of the most respected and popular mystery writers around, Connelly's books been translated in 35 languages and have won the Edgar , the Anthony, the Macavity, the Los Angeles Times Best Mystery/Thriller Award, the Shamus, the Dilys, the Nero, the Barry, the Maltese Falcon (Japan), the .38 Caliber (France), the Grand Prix (France), and the Premio Bancarella (Italy). In 2003-04, he served as the President of the Mystery Writers of America, and he has written for TV and film. In fact has recently written a script for a big screen adaptation of The Equalizer with film maker and fellow crime writer Terrill Lee Lankford. Connelly currently lives with his family in Florida.

TRIVIA

  • Harry teams up with McCaleb in A Darkness More Than Night (2001) and also makes an un-billed but hardly-unrecognizable cameo in Robert Crais' The Last Detective, featuring Crais' L.A. private eye Elvis Cole. Connelly returns the favor in Lost Light, as Harry spots his neighbor, a certain LA private eye in a classic yellow 'Vette, and gives him the "smooth sailing, brother" salute.

  • There's a connection between Bosch and Mickey Haller, the disillusioned lawyer/hero of Connelly's 2005 standalone The Lincoln Lawyer. In the second Bosch novel, The Black Ice, Harry discovers that his father was the famous criminal defense attorney, J. Michael Haller. At his funeral, Harry discovers that he has several half brothers and half sisters, including Mickey.

EVIDENCE

  • "I think it's the little things I miss the most about my former life. For more than twenty years I carried a small bound notebook in my coat pocket."
    -- Harry on being an ex-cop, from Lost Light

SHORT STORIES

  • "Cielo Azul" (2001)
    In A Darkness More Than Night, Harry and Terry McCaleb speak of a case they worked together many years before which still seems to haunt them both. This is that story, available only through Connelly's mailing list.
  • One-Dollar Jackpot" (2007, Dead Man's Hand)
  • "Father's Day" (2008, The Blue Religion)
  • "Blue on Black" (2010, Hook, Line and Sinister)
  • "Switchblade" (January 2014). Kindle it!
  • "Red Eye" (2014, FaceOff; also featuring Dennis Lehane's Patrick Kenzie)

NOVELS

RELATED LINKS

Reports respectfully submitted by Kelly Levendorf and Dale Stoyer.


Drop a dime. Your comments, suggestions, corrections and contributions are always welcome.
"...and I'll tell you right out that I'm a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk."