I’ve been in L.A. this weekend on my Sony VIP Reader meetup. It’s been wonderful. When I was accepted into the program, I received a Sony Reader (which I’ve loved for it’s perfect size and light weight, in addition to its ability to connect directly to my library system where I can check out books wirelessly). I also committed to participate in all of the book chats (held via Facebook and twitter):
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone with Laini Taylor (linked to the archived chat)
- Flight Lessons with Barbara Kingsolver
- The Black Box live in Los Angeles with Michael Connelly (linked to the archived chat)
- And Molly Ringwald’s short stories (join us in March )
I am an occasional reader of crime fiction, but some of the darker and seedier aspects of many of the crimes featured in these novels (as well as on the popular TV shows) often turn me off, so I’m careful with what I read. I had in fact read one of his other recent works, Scarecrow, which did feel dark to me, so I wasn’t sure about how interested I’d be to read this novel and meet this author face to face. Boy was I wrong. After reading The Black Box (linked to my review), I was curious about Harry Bosch, and after hearing Michael Connelly talk about him, that curiosity has hit its apex.
Harry Bosch was in the first and second novels that Michael Connelly sold. He’s written some other stand-alones (notably The Lincoln Lawyer, which also became a successful Hollywood movie starring Matthew McConaughey), but in talking to him it’s clear that he loves the character of Harry Bosch, and rightfully so. In fact, it was Harry — most notably his relationship with his teen daughter Maddie and other characters — that drew me into this novel.
Michael Connelly talked about the darkness that detectives have to deal with as a result of what they’ve seen , and the difficultly many of them face leaving it behind as they try to lead a normal life. I think one reason the Harry Bosch novels are so compelling is that we see Harry trying to deal with this.
One of the other VIP readers pointed out that she is anal about reading series books in order, but she was glad that she was able to pick up this one as a standalone. There’s neither too much backstory given (which is infuriating to those of us who have read the previous books in a series), nor too little (leaving those new to a character left in the dark). That takes skill as a writer.
An interesting element to these books written over the last twenty years is that Harry has aged with the series. You might read 20 novels by another best-selling author, but it might only cover a span of 5 or 10 years. The 20 years has been real-time for Harry, which Michael enjoys as a writer as well.
I thank the Sony Readers for hosting me in L.A. and Michael Connelly for being so open and loving what he does so much.
(I can’t get my photos to upload right now, so I’m going to post and add those in when I get back home, as well as some info about what else I did in L.A. on the mother-daughter getaway).