RARA-AVIS: Re: Connelly not getting it right

From: JIM DOHERTY (jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 12 Dec 2008

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    Re your comments below:

    "My dad (who once turned me to Chandler and Ross Macdonald) read his first Connelly after my several recommendations. He said the narrative drive is very good, but he said he noted some errors or implausibilities. I think he read City of Bones, which, according to him, is based on the fact that the place from which the kid's bones are found is very hard to get to. Then some kids just happen to be there, like they had no trouble at all! My dad thought this took some plausibility off. He also had problems with a bullet getting caught in the barrel of someone else's gun."

    Those may be improbable, but they are not impossible, and they are the sort of things that happen in real life, but happen less often in fiction precisely because they are hard to believe.

    But because they are possible, using them in a story is fundamentally different from making a technical error. Had Connelly, for example, referred to Bosch as a detective sergeant, a rank that no longer exists in the LAPD, instead of a Detective Three, which is what the equivalent rank is now called, that would be a technical error. Had he carelessly referred to an intersection of two parallel streets, or had Bosch drive east to get to the Pacific coast, or given Irving Irvin the title of Assistant Commissioner instead of Deputy Chief, or referred to the people who raised Bosch's main suspect as "adoptive parents" instead of "foster parents," he would have been guilty of technical errors. But these are precisely the types of details he tends to get right, and, to me, they add a such a sense of verisimilitude and believability that the unlikely happenstance of kids playing in just the right place or a bullet getting lodged in someone else's gun become
     easier to buy in the context of Connelly's realistically depicted fictional universe.



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