Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Michael Connelly, Dilys Awards, 1996 and 1997

There is actually a drawback to the phenomenal success and sales of each new Michael Connelly crime novel: Readers are always looking ahead to the next book, which now means finding out which of Connelly's two current series protagonists -- Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller -- will take the lead in the next book from this master of the detective novel. Even more intriguingly, how will the two interact, now that Connelly is bringing them into the same books?

With all that forward motion, sometimes I forget to look back at (re-read!) Connelly's earlier work. His noted The Black Echo and The Black Ice (from 1992 and 1993, his first and second books) were extraordinarily powerful early work; his fourth and fifth engaged independent mystery booksellers so securely that they swept the Dilys Award (for the book those sellers in IMBA have most enjoyed providing to readers) two years in a row.

So here's a refresher: In The Last Coyote, LAPD detective Harry Bosch goes onto "involuntary stress leave" for attacking his boss -- and finds himself investigating the murder of his own mother. And in The Poet, crime reporter Jack McEvoy begins to investigate police suicides, only to discover a serial killer at work. (The Poet was reissued in 2004 in softcover with an introduction by Stephen King.)

Although The Poet appeared to be a stand-alone diversion from the Harry Bosch series, Connelly would later tie its characters back into more of his fiction.

It's no exaggeration to say that early on, Connelly established a high standard for American crime fiction. Each of his subsequent books has been compared against that standard. No wonder we race for each new title. On November 26, the newest will release in the United States: The Black Box. It's a Harry Bosch title, dipping into 20 years of Bosch's career and files. After this Dilys week is over (and I hope you're reading ALL of our posts for it!) and the signed copies of S. J. Rozan's Ghost Hero have been awarded (here at Kingdom Books, we'll give them on Sat. Oct. 20 as part of Archer Mayor's 2 pm event), there will be about five weeks until the new Michael Connelly. Think you can fit in re-reading all the earlier titles?

I might try it.

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