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Mystery Books - Michael Connelly - Crime Beat

Buy Crime Beat
A decade of covering cops and killers
Michael Connelly
Little, Brown and Company 2006
375 pages

Michael Connelly, author of the Harry Bosch mystery novels, The Poet, and Bloodwork (on which the excellent Clint Eastwood movie is based) once covered the crime beat in Florida and Los Angeles. Crime Beat, a decade of covering cops and killers, is a collection of various articles he wrote as a journalist for the South-Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Los Angeles Times between 1984 and 1992. Long-time and hard-core Michael Connelly fans will see Crime Beat as more than a curiosity, casual fans will want to stick to the many mysteries.

Crime Beat, a decade of covering cops and killers, is nevertheless an interesting read for fans of true crime books. There is no doubt Michael Connelly can write a good mystery but as this collection of newspaper clippings proves, he is or was also very good at covering a real mystery. This collection is divided in three parts: The Cops, The Killers, The Cases.

Each section of Crime Beat focuses on one aspect of crime journalism and includes articles that focus on one element of a mystery. Each chapter includes the series of articles Connelly wrote for a particular story. Eagle-eyed fans will notice the father of Harry Bosch is no stranger to the cut and past as often follow-up stories include verbatim sentences from a previous article.

There is a clear progression in each section of Connelly’s true crime collection. For example, The Cops evolves from following some homicide detectives over a 24-hour period as the get The Call, covering a couple of specific murder investigations in The Open Territory, focusing on going after the criminals once they’ve escaped to Mexico, to Cops Accused and Death Squad where the author, although reporting the facts, is not afraid of putting subtle hints as to his take on the events surrounding a couple of messy shootings by the LAPD, before closing with Killed By A Kid where the story balances between a rookie police officer killed by a teenage boy and the rather strange shooting of the same teenage boy by the LAPD. This section of Crime Beat will definitely please fans of the police procedural.

Murder mystery fans will enjoy the second section of next two sections of Crime Beat: The Killers and The Cases. In The Killers, Connelly the journalist follows, in a series of articles and the occasional italicized update, serial killer Christopher Bernard Wilder, a guy with two wives who killed his second wife when she confronted him about his being a bigamist, and a couple of other bad guys. This section closes with the story of Roland Comtois, a poster killer for the three strikes approach to justice.

The most interesting section of Crime Beat is The Cases. Here, Michael Connelly focuses on a series of whodunits that are sometimes unsolved. Billy The Burglar, a story from Connelly’s days at the South-Florida Sun-Sentinel focuses on a dope addict who managed to break and enter his way to a couple of million dollars worth of goodies that basically went up his veins and nose. He also covers a murder related to negotiations around the movie The Cotton Club, the Vic Weiss case (titled Trunk Music, a clear reference to Connelly Harry Bosch novel), and a couple more mystery unsolved stories.

Crime Beat by Michael Connelly is a very good read. It will best be enjoyed by the long-time Connelly fan. A casual fan will wait for the paperback version.

Other Michael Connelly Reviews

The Lincoln Lawyer Audio Book Version: An excellent departure for mystery writer Michael Connelly

Echo Park: The best Michael Connelly mystery to date and that is saying a lot.

The Concrete Blonde: This third Harry Bosch mystery is solid.

The Overlook: Yet another great Harry Bosch mystery

The Overlook - Another Review: The usual solid and captivating mystery by a master.

The Brass Verdict - October 2008: A lawyer s murder brings Harry Bosch and Lincoln lawyer Mickey Haller together.

The Brass Verdict - A Mickey Haller / Harry Bosch Mystery: 20th Connelly mystery brings Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch together with a bang (from a revolver)

The Black Ice - A Harry Bosch Mystery: Second in the series. Brilliant, of course.

The Scarecrow: Jack McEvoy of The Poet is back in yet another excellent Connelly mystery.

Nine Dragons - A Harry Bosch Mystery: The lesser Harry Bosch mystery.

The Reversal - October 2010: Detective Harry Bosh, Mickey Haller, and their exes on the same case.

The Fifth Witness - April 2011: A solid (of course) Mickey Haller mystery

The Fifth Witness - J. Curran Review - April 2011: Third Mickey Haller mystery. This reviewer was not as impressed as the other one was.

The Drop - J. Curran review: Although not one of Connelly’s mind blowers from start to finish, The Drop is definitely a good solid read.

The Drop - A Harry Bosch Mystery: Decent enough Connelly but not up to usual standards

Blood Work Blu-ray: Excellent movie adaptation of Connelly novel

The Black Box - A Harry Bosch mystery: This time Bosch investigates a case dating back to the L.A. riots. Good but not great.

The Gods of Guilt - Mickey Haller Novel: The Lincoln Lawyer takes a case that propels him along a journey to face the demons of his past and present.

The Burning Room: You simply cannot put it down.

The Crossing - A Harry Bosch Novel: The Crossing, the twenty-second Harry Bosch, represents a major change in the life of Connelly s foremost character.

The Wrong Side of Goodbye - A Harry Bosch Novel: Harry Bosch is hired by a billionaire to find out if he has an heir and also works for the San Fernandino PD and discovers there is a serial rapist on the loose. This being a Michael Connelly mystery it is of course excellent.

The Late Show - A Renee Ballard Mystery: There is a new kid in town. Dog lover, and surfer by day, Detective Renee Ballard is a tough, tenacious, no-nonsense loner who works the late shift in Hollywood. Due to unsubstantiated accusations thrown at a superior officer, she is not exactly on the warm and fuzzy list of her fellow officers. With limited trust running both ways, her investigations are often solo.

Two Kinds of Truth - A Harry Bosch Mystery: It is a Connelly, of course it is great

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