Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Michael Connelly at Murder on the Beach

Sunday night I had the pleasure of attending a talk and book signing given by Michael Connelly at Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore in Delray Beach, Florida. Connelly is usually not all that comfortable with public speaking, but this is a small bookstore, and it was his second event of the day so perhaps that contributed to a greater comfort level than I've seen before. He spoke a bit about how he constructs his novels, in particular his latest, ECHO PARK. Then he took questions from the standing-room-only crowd - and there were lots of questions.

The Lincoln Lawyer is one of my favorite Connelly books, so I was happy to hear that another story featuring Mickey Haller will be forthcoming. However, when I asked if the two series - Harry Bosch & Mickey Haller - would at some point be merged into one, Connelly was quick to point out that Haller is not a series, and Bosch is the only series he writes. He did concede that since they are half brothers, at some point there will undoubtedly be a book where they come together.

Connelly also explained that Harry is getting near retirement age. He was born in 1950 (no birthdate ever given besides the year) and cops in L.A. don't generally work past age 60 because it's a money-losing proposition for them at that point. He also gave the impression that it is extremely unlikely that Harry would ever be killed off - and a collective sigh of relief was heard.

Raymond Chandler was cited as one of Connelly's biggest influences, along with Joseph Wambaugh and Ross MacDonald - and it shows in his writing, in my opinion. But that led me to ask another question, about the Janet Maslin review in the NY Times (Oct. 16, 2006) in which she stated, "And Mr. Connelly now does some of his writing in Mr. Chandler’s old apartment, a place he uses for inspiration. No living crime writer has a better right to be there."

Connelly was quick to point out that it was a mistake - yes, in the NY Times. He does rent an apartment in Los Angeles but it isn't Chandler's apartment. However, there is a connection - the apartment is at the address of Chandler's famous fictional character, Phillip Marlowe. Connelly said he didn't think that Chandler had ever stepped foot in it.

pictured, left to right: Tom Corcoran, Jonathon King, the BookBitch, Michael Connelly, James O. Born

The audience was appreciative and there was a long line of people waiting to get their books signed. A lot were serious fans and some were wanna-be crime fiction writers. I also ran into Oline Cogdill, mystery reviewer for the Sun-Sentinel, and some local authors, including James O. Born, Tom Corcoran, and Jonathan King. King told me that the Miami Book Fair was gearing up for Mystery Sunday on November 19, and I'm really looking forward to that!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the summary, Stacy. Like you, I think Lincoln Lawyer is one of his best works.

A truly gifted writer.

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