Michael Connelly

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Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly at Bouchercon 2010 in San Francisco.
Born(1956-07-21) July 21, 1956 (age 58)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
GenreCrime fiction, thriller
SpouseLinda McCaleb
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For other people named Michael Connelly, see Michael Connelly (disambiguation).
Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly at Bouchercon 2010 in San Francisco.
Born(1956-07-21) July 21, 1956 (age 58)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
GenreCrime fiction, thriller
SpouseLinda McCaleb

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. His books, which have been translated into 39 languages,[1] have garnered him many awards.[2] Connelly was the President of the Mystery Writers of America from 2003 to 2004.[1]

Early life[edit]

Connelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the second oldest child of W. Michael Connelly, a property developer, and Mary Connelly, a homemaker.[3] According to Connelly, his father was a frustrated artist who encouraged his children to want to succeed in life.[4] W. Michael Connelly himself 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.[3]

At age 12, Connelly moved with his family from Philadelphia to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and 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 was curious and 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 left to go home to tell his father. Later that night, he 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 investigators’ hard faces and the way they worked.[3]

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-trade major. After grades that were not as good as expected, Connelly went to see Robert Altman’s film The Long Goodbye and was enchanted by what he saw. The film, based on Raymond Chandler’s 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.[3]

Early career[edit]

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 got a job at the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel in 1981. There, he covered the crime beat during the South Florida cocaine wars, an era that brought with it much violence and murder.[1] 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, a story which earned Connelly a place as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.[5] 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.[3]

After moving to Los Angeles, Connelly went to see the High Tower Apartments where Raymond Chandler's famous character, Philip Marlowe, had lived (in The High Window), and Robert Altman had filmed. Connelly got the manager of the building to promise a phone call in case the apartment ever became available. Ten years later, the manager tracked Connelly down and he decided to rent the place. This apartment served as a place to write for several years, but it was more based on the nostalgia of the place than the comfort of it (for example, it did not have air conditioning).[4][6]

After three years at the Los Angeles Times, Connelly wrote his first published novel The Black Echo, after previously writing two unfinished novels that he had not attempted to get published.[4] The novel was sold to Little, Brown to be published in 1992 and won the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award for best first novel.[5] 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,[1] a man who, according to Connelly, shares few similarities with the author himself.[4] Connelly named Bosch after the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, known for his paintings full of sin and redemption, including a painting called "Hell", a copy of which hangs on the office wall behind Connelly’s computer.[2][3] Connelly describes his own work as a big canvas with all the characters of his books floating across it as currents on a painting. Sometime they are bound to collide creating cross currents. This is something that Connelly himself 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.[3]

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.[3]

Full-time writer[edit]

Harry Bosch and Connelly received a good deal of publicity in 1994 when U.S. President Bill Clinton came out of a bookstore carrying a copy of The Concrete Blonde in front of the waiting cameras. According to Connelly, it was a big honor to have such a famous fan and a meeting was set up between the two at the Los Angeles Airport.[3]

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.[3] In 1997, Connelly returned to Bosch in Trunk Music before writing another book, Blood Work (1998) about a different character, FBI agent Terry McCaleb. The book was made into a film in 2002, directed by Clint Eastwood, who also played McCaleb.[3] The story features 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.[1] When asked if he had anything against the changes made to fit the big screen, Connelly simply said; “If you take their money, it’s their turn to tell the story”.[7]

Connelly wrote another book featuring Bosch, Angels Flight (1999), before writing Void Moon (2000), a free-standing book about Cassie Black, a Las Vegas thief. In 2001, A Darkness More Than Night was released, 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 Harry Bosch novel, and the other was Chasing the Dime, a non-series novel.[1] 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. But even though Connelly moved from one coast to the other, his novels still took place in Los Angeles; he feels no desire to write books set in Florida.[4]

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.[1] Connelly himself 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.[2] The Narrows was published in 2004. This book was a sequel to The Poet, but featured Bosch instead of McEvoy.[1] Together with this book, a DVD was released called Blue Neon Night: Michael Connelly’s Los Angeles. In the film, Connelly presents some of the places in Los Angeles that are frequently featured in his books.[1]

The Closers was published in May 2005 and was the eleventh Bosch novel. It was followed by The Lincoln Lawyer in October, Connelly’s first legal novel. It featured defense attorney Mickey Haller, Bosch’s half-brother. The book was made into a film in 2011, directed by Brad Furman; Matthew McConaughey played Mickey Haller. After releasing Crime Beat in 2006, a non-fiction book about Connelly’s experiences as a crime-reporter, Connelly went back to Bosch in 2006’s Echo Park.[1] This book sets its opening scene in the High Tower Apartment that Connelly rented and wrote from.[4] His next Bosch story, The Overlook, was originally published as a multipart 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 Mickey Haller for the first time.[1] He followed that in May 2009 with The Scarecrow, which brought back McEvoy as the lead character. 9 Dragons, a novel taking Bosch to Hong Kong, was released in October 2009. The Reversal, released in October 2010, reunites Bosch & Haller as they work together under the banner of the state on the retrial of a child murderer. The Mickey Haller novel The Fifth Witness was released in 2011.

The Drop, which refers, in part, to the "Deferred Retirement Option Plan" that was described in the 2008 novel The Brass Verdict.,[8] was published on November 28, 2011. The next Bosch novel, published in 2012, was The Black Box. Connelly's 2013 novel was a return to Mickey Haller with the legal thriller, The Gods of Guilt. His upcoming title is a return to Bosch with The Burning Room (coming November 2014).

Film and television[edit]

Connelly was one of the creators and executive producers of Level 9, a action TV series that aired for 13 episodes in the 2000-2001 season on the UPN television network.[1][9] His novel Blood Work was adapted into a film in 2002 with a screenplay by Brian Helgeland and direction by Clint Eastwood, who also played the lead role.

Connelly was the subject of the 2004 video documentary Blue Neon Night: Michael Connelly's Los Angeles.[10] He occasionally makes guest appearances as himself in the ABC comedy/drama TV series Castle.[11][12] Along with Stephen J. Cannell, James Patterson, and Dennis Lehane, he is one of Castle's poker buddies.

Connelly's novel The Lincoln Lawyer was made into a film in 2011, with Matthew McConaughey playing defense lawyer Michael "Mickey" Haller.

Connelly is currently producing a new TV series for Amazon Studios called "Bosch." This 10 episode series is based on Connelly's Harry Bosch novels. It will begin streaming on Amazon Prime in early 2015.

Michael Connelly, London November 2013

Awards and honors[edit]

Connelly has won nearly every major award given to mystery writers, including the Edgar Award,[13] Anthony Award,[14] Macavity Award,[15] Los Angeles Times Best Mystery/Thriller Award,[16] Shamus Award,[17] Dilys Award,[18] Nero Award,[19] Barry Award,[20] Audie Award,[21] Ridley Award, Maltese Falcon Award (Japan), .38 Caliber Award (France), Grand Prix Award (France) and Premio Bancarella Award (Italy).[22] In 2012, The Black Box won the world's most lucrative crime fiction award, the RBA International Prize for Crime Writing worth €125,000.[23]

Writing techniques[edit]

When starting a book, the story is not always clear but Connelly has a hunch where it is going.[4] The books often reference world events, such as September 11. 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. In Angels Flight, Detective Bosch investigates the murder of an eleven-year old girl. 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.[24]

Detective Bosch’s life usually changes in harmony with Connelly’s own life. While Connelly moved 3,000 miles across the country to Florida, Bosch had some life changing experiences that sent him in a new direction in the book written at this time, City of Bones. According to Connelly, his "real" job is to write about Bosch,[24] 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.[24]

Recurring characters[edit]

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.

Main characters[edit]

Other characters[edit]

Each of these characters has appeared in at least two novels of Connelly's.

There are also at least two real-life LAPD detectives, Tim Marcia and Rick Jackson, who have been sources for Connelly and have appeared in numerous Bosch books.


Fiction books[edit]

Harry Bosch series[edit]

#TitlePublication dateAlso featuring
1The Black Echo1992
2The Black Ice1993
3The Concrete Blonde1994
4The Last Coyote1995
5Trunk Music1997
6Angels Flight1999
7A Darkness More Than Night2001Terry McCaleb, Jack McEvoy
8City of Bones2002
9Lost Light2003
10The Narrows2004Rachel Walling, Terry McCaleb, Cassie Black
11The Closers2005
12Echo Park2006Rachel Walling
13The Overlook2007Rachel Walling
14Nine Dragons2009Mickey Haller
15The Drop2011
16The Black Box2012
17The Burning Room2014Rachel Walling

Mickey Haller series[edit]

#TitlePublication dateAlso featuring
1The Lincoln Lawyer2005
2The Brass Verdict2008Harry Bosch, Jack McEvoy
3The Reversal2010Harry Bosch, Rachel Walling
4The Fifth Witness2011
5The Gods of Guilt2013

Jack McEvoy series[edit]

#TitlePublication dateAlso featuring
1The Poet1996Rachel Walling
2The Scarecrow2009Rachel Walling

Stand-alone novels[edit]

TitlePublication dateFeaturing
Blood Work1998Terry McCaleb
Void Moon2000Cassie Black
Chasing the Dime2002Henry Pierce


Short stories[edit]

Short story collections[edit]

Non-fiction books[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Official website". Michaelconnelly.com. 1956-07-21. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  2. ^ a b c "Barnes and Nobles: Michael Connelly". Barnesandnoble.com. 2012-02-24. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Michael Connelly". Notable Biographies. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "For author Michael Connelly, crime pays" St. Petersburg Times (October 25, 2007)
  5. ^ a b "January magazine profile". Januarymagazine.com. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  6. ^ "Final Deadline" Bookpage.com interview for The Scarecrow (June 2009)
  7. ^ "Michael Connelly; The Gold Standard: How the movies - past and present - changed our lives" Variety (January 4, 2007)
  8. ^ "The (Really) Long Goodbye," Alexandra Alter, 1 July 2011, The Wall Street Journal Friday Journal
  9. ^ Level 9 at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ Blue Neon Night at the Internet Movie Database
  11. ^ season 2 episode 1 IMDB listing for Castle
  12. ^ season 2 episode 24 IMDB listing for Castle
  13. ^ "Best First Mystery Novel by an American Author Edgar Award Winners and Nominees - Complete Lists". Mysterynet.com. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  14. ^ "Bouchercon World Mystery Convention : Anthony Awards Nominees". Bouchercon.info. 2003-10-02. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  15. ^ "Mystery Readers International's Macavity Awards". Mysteryreaders.org. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  16. ^ Kiwicraig (2010-02-23). "Crime Watch: The Best of 2009: Los Angeles Times Book Prizes (Mystery/Thriller)". Kiwicrime.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  17. ^ "The Private Eye Writers of America and The Shamus Awards". Thrillingdetective.com. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  18. ^ "The Dilys Award - (Imba)". Mysterybooksellers.com. 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  19. ^ "Wolfe Pack Nero Award Recipients chronologically". Nerowolfe.org. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  20. ^ "Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine- Barry Awards". Deadlypleasures.com. 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  21. ^ "APA - Audio Publishers Association - the voice of the audiobook industry - Audies". Audiopub.org. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  22. ^ "LA crime writing legend Michael Connelly - ABC Victoria - Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)". Blogs.abc.net.au. 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  23. ^ "Michael Connelly wins the RBA Award for his novel ‘The Black Box’". Catalan News Wire. 7 September 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b c "Michael Connelly". Powells.com. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  25. ^ "The Secret Society of Demolition Writers"
  26. ^ "Angle of Investigation". Michaelconnelly.com. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  27. ^ "Suicide Run". Michaelconnelly.com. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  28. ^ "Mulholland Dive". Michaelconnelly.com. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 

External links[edit]