Michael Connelly Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

In many ways, Michael Connelly’s novels featuring Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch fit neatly into the convention of hard-boiled detective fiction; however, the novels also display the author’s complex plotting skills and his insights into the psychological makeup of both the criminal and the detective. Many of his characters (criminals and sometimes those on the side of the law) are best categorized as “monsters,” social or psychological deviants capable of committing horrific crimes of torture and mutilation: the Dollmaker, the Poet, the Follower, and the Eidolon. For Connelly, often the psyches of these characters and that of Bosch are more interesting than the actual solution of the crime. Connelly views almost all pathological actions to be the result of social and familial forces; the born killer seems not to exist in his world. His protagonists must heed philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s warning, loosely paraphrased by a character in Lost Light (2003) as “whoever is out there fighting the monsters . . . should make damn sure they don’t become monsters themselves.”

Connelly won an Edgar Award for best first novel for The Black Echo (1992); Anthony awards for The Poet (1996), Blood Work (1998), and City of Bones (2002); a Nero Award for The Poet; Barry awards for Trunk Music (1997) and City of Bones; and a Shamus Award for The Lincoln Lawyer (2005). He was twice elected president of the Mystery Writers of America (2003 and 2004), the only writer ever to be accorded this honor.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Anderson, Patrick. The Triumph of the Thriller: How Cops, Crooks, and Cannibals Captured Popular Fiction. New York: Random House, 2007. Contains a chapter on Connelly that details his life and his works, including the Harry Bosch novels. Discusses The Black Echo, The Last Coyote, A Darkness More than Night, and City of Bones, among others.

Bertens, Hans, and Theo D’haen. Contemporary American Crime Fiction. New York: Palgrave, 2001. Discusses Connelly extensively in the introduction and devotes a chapter to “Los Angeles Police Department: Ellroy’s and Connelly’s Police Procedurals.”

Fine, David M. Imagining Los Angeles: A City in Fiction. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2004. Sees The Concrete Blonde and The Last Coyote in the tradition of the “murdered, mutilated or disfigured woman” following the Black Dahlia murder and the works of James Ellroy.

Gregoriou, Christiana. “Criminally Minded: The Stylistics of Justification in Contemporary American Crime Fiction.” Style 37, no. 2 (Summer, 2003): 144-159. Uses an analysis of style and narrative point of view to argue that the monstrous character of the Eidolon in The Poet is a product of his environment, not his birth.

Kreyling, Michael. The Novels of Ross Macdonald. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2005. Briefly discusses Harry Bosch as a direct descendant of Ross Macdonald’s protagonist Lew Archer but notes that the “world of Harry Bosch is far more lethal than Archer’s.”

Oates, Joyce Carol. Uncensored: Views and (Re)views. New York: HarperPerennial, 2006. Devotes a chapter titled “L.A. Noir” to A Darkness More than Night, noting that Bosch is a “flawed, deeply troubled and isolated man.”