The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

July 8, 2008

The Rise and Fall of Harry Bosch


I probably should have titled this post with Michael Connelly's name rather than Harry Bosch. I appear to be one of the few people who've become thoroughly disenchanted with Connelly's work. From THE BLACK ECHO right on up through ANGELS FLIGHT I was one of the worshippers at the shrine. Connelly's plots were intricate and tightly woven; his characterization outstanding; his portrayal of LA was equaled only by that of Robert Crais and surpassed only by Chandler. After ANGELS FLIGHT -- IMHO Connelly's finest puzzle -- the books seemed to me to taper off, in all ways. The plots developed tiny holes, then bigger ones. Purple prose crept into his writing. The experiment in delivering the mystery through the first-person POV of Bosch in LOST LIGHT seemed to me to be disastrous, and I wonder if Connelly felt that way also, because he did not do it again. The puzzles themselves became more banal so that I was amazed at how high critical praise was for THE LINCOLN LAWYER, a mystery that was no mystery because the solution was so transparently obvious; a book that was for me, barely average. Had that been the first book by Connelly I read, I would be taking my sweet time about getting to the others. I am, in fact, almost ready to scratch the name of Michael Connelly off my reading list, so unhappy have I become with his work of late. His next book, THE BRASS VERDICT, will have Bosch meeting his half-brother, Mickey Halloran. It's kind of sad that it takes a soap opera gimmick like that to make me even consider reading the next Connelly.

And yet...

I could be wrong.

It happens.

My expectations for Connelly may be too high, maybe I've just lost interest and there has been no truly noticeable drop-off in the quality of Connelly's work.

So.

To be fair, I intend to drag out all my old Connelly titles and start over from the beginning. I'm going to rate each book on:
Characterization
Pacing
Setting / Ambiance
Prose
Plot
Overall satisfaction and also how well each book has held up over the years.

This is going to take a while. I'd like to have finished this by the time THE BRASS VERDICT is published this fall, but other books are bound to get in the way. For example, SWAN PEAK, the new title from James Lee Burke is out today. And nothing, not even fair play, gets between me and a new Dave Robicheaux story.

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