RARA-AVIS: deconstructing Hieronymus

From: BaxDeal@aol.com
Date: 02 Mar 2008

born in 1956 and educated at the University of Florida, Michael Connelly is a true rare bird: a best selling author who can actually write, his latter skillset honed as a crime journalist during the cocaine wars in South Florida, where he along with 2 other reporters were nominated for a Pulitzer for a piece they did on the survivors of a major plane crash. moving to the crime desk at the Los Angeles Times, Connelly always knew he wanted to be a mystery novelist

making good use of his descriptive yet unadorned prose style, he published his first novel in 1992. THE BLACK ECHO, featuring L.A.P.D. homicide detective Hieronymus Bosch won the Edgar for best first novel. the next three, THE BLACK ICE, THE CONCRETE BLONDE and THE LAST COYOTE firmly established the author as a master of plotting and subtle characterization, and almost feel like one long story with the evolving arcs of its recurring characters. The Last Coyote culminates with Bosch solving the murder of his own mother, a prostitute who had left him to grow up in foster homes. Bosch's love for this woman, a social outcast, and his premature loss of her informs his character: his sense that "everyone counts, or no one counts", as well as his solitary and melancholy nature. the reader can also easily draw a line from Bosch's coming of age in the cold beauracracy of the foster care system to the authority issues he experiences in his adult career with the L.A.P.D.

perhaps feeling he had explored his creation to a logical end point, Connelly took a break from the character and published the first of his stand alone thrillers in 1996. THE POET was a huge commercial breakthrough for the author, with good reason. ambitious and epic, it is an absolute masterwork of suspense and plotting. the success of this book made Michael Connelly a household name. fans of The Poet, eager for more of the exciting voice that created it discovered the earlier Bosch novels. Connelly's investment in crime journalism, and in crime fiction had paid off bigtime

Harry Bosch on the subject of love: "You can fall in love and make love many times but there is only one bullet with your name etched on the side. And if you are lucky enough to be shot with that bullet then the wound never heals."

reinvigorated, Connelly brought Bosch back in 1997's TRUNK MUSIC, a solid outing involving the murder of a Las Vegas organized crime figure. but what's notable about this book is the re-introduction of ...


-- Eleanor Wish, the FBI agent who Bosch fell in love with but sent to prison at the end of THE BLACK ECHO. Wish is Bosch's bullet, and his wound is still bleeding. now out of prison but unable to get a job, Wish is eking out a living on Las Vegas' high roller poker tables. mindful that in order for his series to stay fresh, his character would have to grow, Connelly rewards Bosch in the book's coda with a level of hope uncommon in a series so deeply rooted in the bleakness of noir


to be continued tomorrow...

John Lau

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