The Harry Bosch series is getting a lot of attention this week, as Amazon Prime Instant Video announced a pilot centering on the LAPD homicide detective created by Michael Connelly. While Bosch might be Connelly’s most famed character, fans are eagerly awaiting The Gods of Guilt (Dec. 2), which will return defense attorney Mickey Haller to a headlining role as he investigates the murder of a former client — a murder he feels responsible for. Check out the exclusive trailer below:
Tag: Michael Connelly (1-3 of 3)
Thriller author Michael Connelly has seen a couple of his characters embodied on-screen at this point—Clint Eastwood played Blood Work‘s Terry McCaleb, while Matthew McConaughey just took his turn as street-smart defense counsel Mickey Haller—but his most popular creation, Los Angeles homicide detective Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch, has remained solely in book form. Connelly introduced Bosch in 1992′s The Black Echo and has since written 15 more novels featuring him, sometimes alongside other characters like McCaleb and his half-brother Haller. With the release of The Lincoln Lawyer, EW asked Connelly whether there was anyone in Hollywood he could see taking on the role in a movie version, and the author suggested Billy Burke, who plays Bella’s sheriff father in the Twilight saga.
“Something about him…he’s got the mustache,” says Connelly. “Whenever I see him in movies, he’s very close to how I picture Harry Bosch.” Connelly admits that if they ever make a movie from one of his Bosch books, the producers would probably want to go for someone a little more A-list, but, hey, you never know. The author seems to have a particularly good nose for this kind of stuff: He totally called McConaughey’s casting. “Back when I was watching Tropic Thunder, where McConaughey plays an underhanded Hollywood agent, I said to my wife, ‘He could play Mickey Haller.’ That was the first time I thought about it, and then maybe a year later I got that message that it was McConaughey.”
Let me start this entry by saying that I’m a huge Michael Connelly fan — I think I’ve read everything he’s published (and have a shelf full of grubby, well-thumbed paperbacks at home to prove it). His are the best hard-boiled cop novels in the business.
But. But. I didn’t love last year’s Nine Dragons, and our reviewer Jennifer Reese didn’t either. It read like a rush job to me, as if Connelly just cranked the novel out to meet a deadline. I missed his usual crackling dialogue, his deft hand at marshalling a complicated plot. (And I was really rankled at the fate of one of the recurring minor characters, which struck me as purely a cheap, attention-getting device). But anyway — we’re not here to pick apart Nine Dragons. And besides, every author has ups and downs.
But given Nine Dragons, I approached The Reversal with trepidation, especially since it combines Connelly’s two trademark characters: the crabby, difficult LAPD detective Hieronymous Bosch (known just as Bosch) and his half-brother, flashy, a little-too-smooth defense attorney Mickey Haller. (The Mickey Haller novel The Lincoln Lawyer is without peer in the legal thriller genre, in my opinion.)
The premise of The Reversal grabbed me: After 24 years, a convicted child murderer is given a new trial on the basis of DNA evidence. The Los Angeles DA wants to hire Haller as a one-time special prosecutor, saying they can’t handle the case themselves because it’s “tainted.” And they want Bosch on the case, too. That makes sense to me, since Bosch has staked his reputation on solving cold cases. But Haller “fit in as well at the DA’s office about as well as a cat did at the dog pound,” as Connelly says. Anyone besides me find the very premise of the book a bit strained? I just don’t but the temporary marriage of Haller and the DA. I think Connelly could have come up with a more graceful way to put these two together.
The case proceeds with Connellyesque twists and turns. But to me, the pace is a little halting. I was immediately thrown by the whole “alternating chapter” narrative, with Bosch telling one, then Haller, and so on. I think Connelly sort of is Bosch, and those chapters, to me, revive the Bosch of long-past books I loved so well, keenly observant, ascerbic, often downright unpleasant. Nothing gets past him –the man notices everything. In contrast, Connelly doesn’t seem quite so at home in Haller’s skin. Thoughts on this, anyone? I actually finished the book wishing that Bosch had narrated the whole thing, and that Haller had remained peripheral.
There’s a reason that can’t happen, though, and it’s because this is more of a legal thriller than a straight cop thriller. So what we have, in essence, is Bosch playing second fiddle, and that bothers me. Connelly has created these two indelible characters, and by throwing them together, he takes away something from each of them. I think they’re stronger standing on their own. Anyone else feel the same way? More specifically, does anyone prefer Haller over Bosch as a character?
I don’t want to give away what ultimately happens in the book, but I will say this: Other than the dual narrator issue, the big problem for me is that there isn’t much of a mystery in The Reversal. It’s all about procedure, both in and out of the courtroom. And frankly, the villain is practically pallid when compared to most of Connelly’s other baddies.
Our reviewer Thom Geier didn’t love The Reversal and gave it a B. I think I’d give it about the same, maybe a trifle lower. (Though I’d give the dialogue an A, as always.) How about all of you? Weigh in — tell us how this book compared to past Connellys for you, whether you thought the pairing of the half-brothers worked (or whether, like me, you thought Haller’s appointment to the case was ludicrous). And did the mystery itself work for you? I’m curious to know what you think.
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