I’ve been reading Michael Connelly’s books since I was about twelve, so it was with great excitement that I sat in the front row at the Theakston Peculier Crime Festival to listen to my hero speak. Michael was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award for 2022, an honour well deserved, in my opinion.
Harry Bosch is a familiar name in crime fiction, and now even more so with the well received television series on Amazon Prime. Micky Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer, is almost as famous, and once again, the excellent TV series has brought our favourite somewhat damaged, justice-seeking attorney into our living rooms.
The auditorium was packed, and the audiece breathlessly waited to hear what Michael had to say about his crime novels, his life, how he got into writing and what he plans next for his characters. Mark Billingham set the scene, and the audience settled in for a comfortable chat. Right from the start I was impressed with Michael’s humility and lack of arrogance. I’ve listened to several “big name” authors and Michael is the real deal. He’s not in it for the money, he doens’t co-write (was quite horrified at the thought of someone else writing Harry Bosch), doesn’t sell out to the highest production company (but rather chose the one where the producer used to be a laywer and as a result truly understood what it was like to stand in a court room, even though they were offering much less) and loves the act of writing. A true author who’s in it for the love of the game. I suppose if we were being cynical, we could say, well, he can afford to be, however, I get the feeling that even if Michael hadn’t made a bucket of money, he’d still be sitting in his study writing day after day.
Once a reporter on the crime beat, it was clear that Michael has lost none of his journalistic instinct. He has a nose for delving into crimes, and I found it so interesting that he sets each novel he writes in the year in which he writes it. That’s why they’re such a great commentary on our times, on the lives we’re living and what’s actually going on in the world. Riots, presidential shifts, pandemics, cost of living crisis – he includes it all. Not directly, of course, but incorporating it in the novels so that we hardly notice it’s there, but it’s enhancing the story none the less.
What’s next for Harry Bosch? Well, our favourite crime-fighting cop (or ex-cop as he is now) is getting on, and won’t be able to do what he does for much longer. I had a lump in my throat when I heard that at some point, Harry’s going to have to come to an end. Whetehr it be a graceful bowing out or a sudden, violent death, I have no idea. Either way, his days are numbered. Maddie, Harry’s daughter, has taken the reigns, now becoming a police detective in her own right, while the Bosch and Ballard combination has allowed Michael to extend Harry’s character arc for some time longer.
I walked away feeling exhilirated, inspired and a little bit in awe. What a legacy. What a guy.