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Michael Connelly reflects on his detective Harry Bosch

Michael Connelly, author of

Michael Connelly, author of "The Burning Room" (Little, Brown; November 2014). Photo Credit: Mark DeLong

No spoilers, but . . . "The Burning Room" (out Nov. 3 from Little, Brown; $28) is not the last we'll see of dour detective Hieronymus, aka "Harry" Bosch, who's been the centerpiece of 19 crime novels by the prolific Michael Connelly and soon will be seen via the Amazon Original series "Bosch" starring Titus Welliver ("Lost," "Deadwood"). Despite a certain air of valediction in "The Burning Room" -- which has Harry, now investigating cold cases, dive into a politically charged, decade-old murder -- Bosch will likely be returning to the page as well, if Connelly has anything to say about it. And, as one of America's best-selling mystery writers (he also writes the Mickey Haller "Lincoln Lawyer" series), he probably does. We caught up with the author in advance of his book signing at the Book Revue in Huntington on Nov. 3.


What every fan will want to know at the end of "The Burning Room" is: Will Harry Bosch be back? And in what capacity?

Absolutely, but the question is in what capacity. I haven't written a book since this new one, but I hope I'm writing about Harry Bosch in the last book I ever write.


In "Burning Room," Harry is investigating a 10-year-old murder alongside a new partner, Lucia "Lucy" Soto. She's a great addition, but why her and why now?

Well, I really like the character, and when I started with Harry, he was only four years into the force, so I found it invigorating to have a character who was on a learning curve again.


I'm not sure Titus Welliver matches my personal vision of Harry Bosch, but that doesn't mean he isn't great. You're a creator and executive producer of the show. How'd he get the gig?

The reason Titus Welliver is playing Harry Bosch is that he can communicate inner demons. That's why he's been cast. People know him, he's been in a few things, but I think he's coming into his own.


His Harry certainly exhibits a hostility to the press, at least in the first episode. Ginny, on the other hand, the Los Angeles Times reporter who helps Harry in "The Burning Room," is a pretty sympathetic character.

Yeah, well, we reshot some of that stuff in the initial episodes, it's not quite as caustic anymore. And, as you say, Ginny is a different kind of journalist.


There's a great deal of L.A. flavor in "The Burning Room," including Harry's home on Woodrow Wilson Drive, which is a real street, as well as a number of real restaurants and other actual locations. Do you find it helps to be specific about that kind of detail?

I was on a murder case when I was a police reporter when I first went up to Woodrow Wilson Drive and I was writing the first Harry Bosch book at the same time, so I picked that spot. There wasn't a house on the spot at the time.

But isn't that what all writers do? Base work on their own lives and experiences? I'm writing about a guy who doesn't actually exist, so to link him to real things, and things I like, is a way of making him come to life.


Do you do a lot of research into police procedure, or are the details in your books based on stuff you picked up as a reporter?

In an earlier book, "City of Bones," I had Harry retire kind of prematurely. He left the force and became a private investigator, but in all my time as a police reporter I'd never met a private investigator who'd solved a case. So I realized pretty early on that it wasn't going to work, that I wasn't going to be able to ride Harry Bosch as a private eye.


Is it odd he was able to rejoin the police force?

Back in the late '90s, there was a huge scandal in the LAPD and [NYPD Commissioner William] Bratton, the guy in New York now, came in, and they started cleaning house and rehiring guys who'd retired. And my friend, whom I based a lot of Harry on, went back on the force. I said, "They let you do that? I thought when you left the fold you were out?" But he went back, and I had Harry do the same. My friend went into the Cold Case Squad. And Harry did the same.

 

Michael Connelly will be in conversation with L.I. mystery writer Reed Farrel Coleman on Monday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. at Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington; 631-271-1442, bookrevue.com

 

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