Thursday, July 5, 2007

Author Recommendation #3 – Michael Connelly

My next pick is American writer Michael Connelly. A former crime reporter for the L.A. Times, Connelly brings real authority to his writing about a netherworld that few of us, fortunately, will ever have contact with. Although he has written novels outside of the series, it is the Harry Bosch storylines where Connelly’s strengths are most apparent.

Like Colin Dexter’s creation, Inspector Morse, Harry Bosch is a man who ages as the series progresses, even to the point where he takes early retirement only to find, after about 3 years, that life as a private citizen does not afford the grim satisfactions to be derived from solving homicides. He therefore returns to the force and, as of his latest literary outing, is still going strong.

In addition to the strengths I praised in Colin Dexter’s work (please see earlier posting), two more aspects make Connelly’s creation particularly strong for me: first, Harry has a deep sense of and yearning for justice, the genesis of which we learn over several novels, and second, in the pursuit of that justice, he often has to run afoul of his superiors who, more times than not, are depicted as rather craven political creatures, more concerned about the optics than the truth, forsaking principle for expedience, not unlike the ‘bosses’ I encountered during my career in teaching. His sympathies, I think, are always with the underdog, and almost all homicide victims are underdogs to Harry, since they can no longer speak for themselves; Bosch embraces the detective’s credo that he now must speak for them, giving them one final show of respect by demonstrating that their lives had meaning by solving the circumstances of their deaths.

In his pursuit of justice Harry, like Inspector Morse, emerges as a flawed but very human character. He also frequently has to pay a high price for his ideals. I hope you enjoy his development as much as I have over the years.

If you are interested, please visit the following website that offers a Connelly bibliography:

1 comment:

Betty said...

I have read some of Connelly's books and really enjoyed them. I guess I'll have to check out this Dexter guy's books. :)