'Death is my beat.' Those words, spoken by the narrator and hero of The Poet, Jack McEvoy, could also apply to Michael Connelly. Time and time again in these riveting true crime, non-fiction pieces, we make the connection between Connelly the crime reporter and Connelly the novelist:
'On the day I arrived in Los Angeles I sat in the newspaper editor's office being interviewed for a job on the crime beat. The day before there had been a bank heist in which the thieves had gone into the city's labyrinthine storm water tunnel system to get beneath the bank before tunnelling upward.' Years later that story would become The Black Echo.
'Moments. They kept coming. One morning an editor called me and told me to swing by a murder scene on my way to the office. Just like that, like I was picking up a coffee on the way to work. The murder was on Woodrow Wilson Drive in the Hollywood Hills. I went as instructed and got the story. I also got the place where I would put the home of the fictional detective [Harry Bosch] I had secretly begun writing about . . .' The cops, the killers, the cases - it's all here in a collection that is a MUST for Connelly fans.
The many fans of perennially bestselling mystery author Connelly will certainly lap up this collection of his articles written during his former life as a crime journalist in Florida and California. In three sections, "The Cops," "The Killers" and "The Cases," Connelly presents a wide variety of stories from the 1980s and early '90s, ranging from local crimes to national sensations such as the serial killer Christopher Wilder, one of the FBI's Most Wanted. With Wilder, for instance, readers watch Connelly build a portrait of a man who gained access to women in the Florida modeling and fashion scene by posing as a professional photographer with "cunning charm, smooth talk and money." Connelly tells tales of double lives, failures of the criminal justice system and the shooting death of a 245-pound L.A. prostitute. The format of the book may disappoint some, as the inclusion of multiple reports about the same crimes often contain repetitive language. The author is strongest bringing quiet moments to life, such as the despair of parents hoping that a missing child will still turn up, or the patient, resigned professionalism of weary detectives. Devotees of Connelly's fiction will enjoy tracing the real-life roots of some of his plots.