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Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly

"Connelly listens to audios frequently when he’s driving or has some downtime. The types of audio Connelly enjoys? 'Crime, mostly.' But he’s listened to many types, including nonfiction."

Talking with Michael Connelly

These days, Michael Connelly, creator of Harry Bosch, listens to more books than he reads—but they’re "never, never" his own.

"I have this image of Harry in my mind; I keep adding to his character as I go along," says the prolific crime writer, who has been on a book tour signing his latest, THE NARROWS.

Connelly says he doesn’t want to be influenced by a particular narrator "to the extent that Harry takes on the traits of that reader." He points to the example of Clint Eastwood’s role as Terry McCaleb in the movie version of BLOOD WORK. "Many people tell me they now identify McCaleb with Eastwood," he says. "Never mind that Eastwood was 25 years older in the movie than McCaleb was supposed to be in the book. Still, I was honored he took the role and appreciative of what he did with my work."

Connelly says that some people are quick to identify a character they’ve seen or heard with a familiar image; others try to stay away from likening images. "I’m the latter," he says. Connelly recalls that the closest influence to his Harry Bosch character was the late Steve McQueen’s Bullitt.

The former L.A. Times crime reporter switches topics quickly. "When I get around on these trips, many audio fans complain when a reader changes," he says. "They get used to one voice—one way of playing Harry—and don’t want to accept a new reader’s delivery. Still, when you talk to them at length, they’ll usually admit the new reader is as good as the former—and half a book later, they’re settled in. Finally, when the book’s over, they’ll have found a new positive trait the former narrator overlooked."

Connelly listens to audios frequently when he’s driving or has some downtime. That, he says, isn’t often these days. "When you’re on tour, there isn’t much time to relax." The types of audio Connelly enjoys? "Crime, mostly." But he’s listened to many types, including nonfiction.

Connelly especially wants to talk about his new DVD. "Audio people should really like this. We made a video we’re giving out free with the hard copy of THE NARROWS." It’s called BLUE NEON LIGHT. Bill Peterson ("CSI") takes you on a tour of many of the places in and near Los Angeles that are important in Connelly’s books. Aside from the tour, you get Peterson reading excerpts from several of the Bosch books. "Also I got the opportunity to put down some of my thoughts on the music frequently mentioned by Bosch in most of the stories," Connelly says.

There’s no question that Connelly’s own life sometimes mixes with Bosch’s. In THE NARROWS, Bosch is becoming acquainted with his newfound 5-year-old daughter, who asks him, "Are the Burger King and Dairy Queen married"?

"That came directly from the mouth of our 7-year-old daughter," Connelly says. "She’ll probably be listening to audiobooks soon."—Albert L. Holtz

AUG/SEPT04
©AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine

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Photo by Mark DeLong Photography

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