Re: RARA-AVIS: Stirring up trouble: Drowning and Connelly

Mario Taboada (
Mon, 12 Jan 1998 15:11:10 +0000 First, let me address Doug Levin's comments of Michael Connelly. What I
had said, answering Eddie Duggan's question, was:

<<He is a celebrated author of suspenseful police procedurals (a series
featuring L.A. cop Harry Bosch), the serial-killer novel "The Poet", and
a recent book whose title I forget (I haven't read it). He is one of the
finest and most consistent mystery authors to appear in the past decade
on this side of the Atlantic. My favorite Connelly book is "The Concrete
Blonde" - but all of his books are excellent.>>

The above is, I think, a fair description of this writer's work.
However, I did not say that he is a great writer, and I did not
associate him with the "hardboiled" genre. To my mind, he still lacks an
original voice. His books have strong plots and I find them quite
suspenseful. They are also very well researched. His dialogue and
characterization, however, are only middling, and his books fall
squarely within the police procedural (even in The Poet, in which the
protagonist is a newspaper reporter). There is very little humor in
these stories. Further, the attempt to make Harry Bosch into an
existential hero of independent interest to the stories has not so far
succeeded. I understand that Connelly continued with the series somewhat
reluctantly - well, as reluctantly as one can be when one's pockets are
beginning to show some coin.

An anecdote: immediately after finishing Connelly's "The Poet", I read
for the first time a totally different, much older novel, Joseph
Hansen's "Fadeout". The latter is not only a very fine example of the
P.I. mystery (Brandstetter is, strictly speaking, an insurance
investigator, but he functions as a P.I.), but by contrast made me see
Connelly's book as a somewhat mechanical creation. On the other hand, in
Hansen's first novel I could already hear a strong and original
authorial voice.

So, as far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out on Connelly, though I
have a generally favorable impression of him despite the limitations
pointed out above. The man must be doing something right - for my
critical faculties are shut off while I'm reading his suspenseful

I'll comment on Ross Macdonald in another post.

Best regards,

Mario Taboada
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