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Michael Connely’s Bosch

I am brushing up on my Bosch after watching the show of the same name by novelist Michael Connelly who was a crime reporter in LA, which makes his work seems very authentic. There is nothing world changing but there are many stories and many reoccurring characters, and you can see them grow and change though their lives because the stories take place over many years of their lives. The early ones are the best (Black Ice, Black Echo, The Concrete Blond). Definitely read them chronologically. The later ones are good too, but the first 3 or 4 Bosch books are my favorite. It’s said in introductory journalism classes that the best writing is that which doesn’t call attention to itself, and that’s the case here. Connelly isn’t flashy prose-wise, but his characters are three-dimensional, his pacing is impeccable and has that infectious thing where you end up reading far later into the night than you initially intended, and his plots (and associated plot twists) are legitimately surprising and intriguing. Bosch is not a warm character, though he cares in his own way. Rather he is cold, abrupt, judgmental and the ultimate pessimist. Harry Bosch sees Los Angeles the same way that his namesake Hieronymus Bosch saw The Garden of Earthly Delights – a human stew of crime and degradation. And it is role, his identity, to find and bring to justice the worst of worst, the ones who commit murder. All victims matter. Equally. Either everyone matters or no one matters, that is the conclusion he came to after the police failed to investigate the murder of Bosch’s mother because she was only a prostitute. A cop show is a cop show. There’s only so much that can be done to vary things up, but its’ an above average cop shop. Yet, the show seems to be working hard to stay true to the books. Connelly wrote the character so as to age ‘in real time’ – as a consequence the Harry in the first books is a good twenty years younger than the Harry in the more recent ones. As such, the way the character reacts to certain events / situations will change, as he himself changes. They’re not ground breaking – Connelly is no Dashiell Hammett, nor is Bosch a Sam Spade for modern times. That said, they’re perfectly enjoyable, fast, reads. As it is the series is fun for light reading, yet they still have compelling narratives. Fans of the books going to the show, they’ve made Harry more likable – though I found him hard to get over at first when I started reading the books. ~XO
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