Michael Connelly Talks 'Bosch' and Books in Paris

Michael Connelly - H 2012
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The bestselling author was on hand to discuss his Amazon Prime series.

Bestselling L.A. crime novelist Michael Connelly paid a special visit to Paris last week, where he offered up a public master class to promote his brand new Amazon Prime series, Bosch, as well as the French release of his 2012 novel, The Black Box.

Speaking to a packed house at the Forum des Images, where the first two episodes of Bosch will premiere at the upcoming Series Mania festival, Connelly discussed his long and prolific career, from his days as a crime beat reporter to his numerous books featuring LAPD detective Harry Bosch, to screen adaptations like Clint Eastwood’s Blood Work and the Matthew McConaughey starrer, The Lincoln Lawyer.

Connelly mentioned how seeing Robert Altman’s 1973 noir film, The Long Goodbye, as a teenager in Florida prompted him to read the works of Raymond Chandler, which convinced him to become a crime writer himself one day – preferably in Los Angeles. He moved there in the 80’s and worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times while moonlighting as a novelist, although it wasn’t until his fifth book, The Poet, was published in 1996 that he began to achieve a certain acclaim.

“L.A. shimmers out there as the last resort,” Connelly said about his favorite city, which has been the subject of all of his novels since 1992’s The Black Echo, although he now lives back in Florida. “There’s a constant friction there between the haves and the have-nots, and it’s out of such tension that fiction can rise.”

Connelly described his initially circumspect relationship with Hollywood, where he originally sold the rights to the Bosch character, although a film was never made at the time. “Hemingway once said that the best thing for a writer to do was to drive to the California border, toss their manuscript over, and drive away as fast as possible,” quipped the author, although he seemed pleased with McConaughey’s depiction of fast-talking attorney Mickey Haller in Lawyer.

The writer spoke enthusiastically about the new TV series Bosch, whose first season premiered this past February on Amazon Prime. Created by Connelly and developed by The Wire writer-producer Eric Overmyer, Bosch features Titus Welliver as the honest, hard-hitting L.A. cop whose origin story was inspired by the life of fellow Angeleno author James Ellroy (“a major influence”). Connelly oversees the writing of each episode and proudly told the crowd that he had ensured that “every shot was done in Los Angeles.”

For those concerned that after 17 novels and 10 serial episodes (with a second season of Bosch to air next year), Connelly may have exhausted all aspects of his preferred character, he warned that there are still “new directions” for the detective to take and claimed that he hopes the book he’s writing when he dies is a Bosch book.

He summed up the detective genre as one whose familiar tropes allow writers to explore deeper themes. “Crime fiction is a frame that you put around a social issue,” is how Connelly described the modus operandi of his novels, the next of which, The Crossing — in which Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller will team up to solve a case — is due out next fall.

Like his other books, there will be parts that are pure invention and parts inspired by true stories — stories the author has gathered from his years interviewing cops, criminals, victims and prosecutors, trying to understand what drives humans to run afoul of the law. “That’s what a murder scene is,” Connelly concluded. “A world gone wrong.”