(born July 21, 1956, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American author of detective novels and other crime fiction, notably those featuring LAPD Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch. His books, which have been translated into 35 languages, have garnered him every major award in his genre, such as the Edgar Award, Anthony Award, Macavity Award, Los Angeles Times Best Mystery/Thriller Award, etc. Connelly was the President of the Mystery Writers of America from 2003 to 2004.
His style does not usually involve researching for his books; he says that he prefers to just write, focusing more on his characters than the surroundings. His books often reflect on events happening in the world, like the 9/11 bombings and the beating of Rodney King. Most of the events in Harry Bosch's life in his novels are loosely based on events he himself was witnessing or undergoing.
Other POV characters besides Harry Bosch include Los Angeles Times crime reporter Jack McEvoy and ethically dubious defense lawyer Mickey Haller. Characters in one series pop up in other series quite frequently, as shown below. All of his books are partly or wholly set in Los Angeles
, to the extent that the series as a whole is a pretty good guided tour of the city.
Has a regular poker game with a fictional novelist
A series titled Bosch
, based on the Harry Bosch character with Titus Welliver as Bosch, debuted on Amazon in 2014.
Books published by Michael Connelly (in chronological order, arranged by main character):
- The Harry Bosch Novels
- The Black Echo
- The Black Ice - with a possible cameo by Mickey Haller
- The Concrete Blonde
- The Last Coyote
- Trunk Music
- Angels Flight
- A Darkness More Than Night - Also features Terry McCaleb, Rachel Walling, and Jack McEvoy.
- City of Bones
- Lost Light
- The Narrows - Also features Rachel Walling, Terry McCaleb and Cassie Black.
- The Closers
- Echo Park - Also features Rachel Walling. A serial killer featured in this book was described as a former client of Mickey Haller.
- The Overlook - Also features Rachel Walling.
- 9 Dragons - Also features Mickey Haller.
- The Reversal - Co-starring Mickey Haller.
- The Drop
- The Black Box
- The Burning Room
- The Mickey Haller novels
- The Lincoln Lawyer
- The Brass Verdict - Also features Harry Bosch and Jack McEvoy.
- The Reversal - Co-starring Harry Bosch
- The Fifth Witness- With a cameo by Harry Bosch
- The Gods of Guilt - With a cameo by Harry Bosch
- Other Novels
- The Poet - Features Rachel Walling and Jack McEvoy.
- Blood Work - Features Terry McCaleb.
- Void Moon - Features Cassie Black.
- Chasing The Dime - Features Henry Pierce.
- The Scarecrow - Features Rachel Walling and Jack McEvoy.
- Suicide Run - Collection of short stories featuring Harry Bosch
- Angle of Investigation - Collection of short stories featuring Harry Bosch
Michael Connelly novels with their own trope pages include:
This author's other novels include examples of:General Tropes and Tropes in Multiple Novels
The Black Echo
- The Alcoholic: Broken-down Hollywood homicide cop Lucius Porter, featured in The Black Echo and The Black Ice
- Sam Delacroix, murder victim's father, in City of Bones
- Alliterative Name: Chief Irvin Irving, Bosch's LAPD nemesis.
- Upon learning Mickey Haller's daughter's name, a cop commented that "Hayley Haller" was a nice alliteration.
- Always Gets His Man: Detective Hieronymus Bosch, LAPD, Robbery-Homicide Division.
- Amicably Divorced: Mickey Haller can't seem to quit dating his first ex-wife, and his second ex-wife works for him. In The Gods of Guilt his relationship with ex-wife #1 has gone frosty again, although she still encourages their daughter to have a relationship with her father.
- Amoral Attorney: Mickey Haller skirts the edge of this, and feels bad about it. He often deals with more unambiguously Amoral Attorneys.
- Asian Store-Owner: Bosch finds himself inside a convenience store owned by a Chinese man at the end of Angels Flight. In 9 Dragons a murder occurs at that same store, which leads to Bosch getting involved with Chinese organized crime.
- Badass Grandpa: Harry Bosch was born circa 1950. He ages in real time throughout the novel series, and by The Drop is facing imminent retirement.
- Blood from the Mouth: The Overlook, 9 Dragons, The Black Echo, The Concrete Blonde, Trunk Music. In The Black Echo Bosch notes correctly that this is a sign the person has been shot in the lungs.
- The Bus Came Back: Entirely by chance, while on an investigation Bosch runs across old girlfriend Eleanor Wish in Las Vegas in Trunk Music.
- Bosch's old nemesis Irvin Irving returns in The Drop six years after being forced out of the LAPD at the end of The Closers.
- Call Back / Continuity Nod: Many. The murder that kicks off the plot of 9 Dragons happens at the same convenience store where Harry Bosch found himself at the end of Angels Flight.
- Fictional film company Archway Studios pops up in Trunk Music, The Brass Verdict, A Darkness More Than Night, Lost Light, The Fifth Witness, and The Drop
- In Lost Light we find out that the events of Void Moon were made into a movie.
- In The Black Box Harry goes to visit the grave of the boy whose murder he investigated in City of Bones.
- Canon Welding:
- Blood Work and The Poet did not have any ties to the Harry Bosch universe when they were published. However, both were connected to the rest of Connelly's books in Angels Flight (which has a Call Forward to the Blood Work movie) and A Darkness More Than Night (in which Jack McEvoy has a cameo as a reporter who pesters Bosch, and Terry McCaleb is a main character).
- Chasing the Dime could have been a stand-alone novel, with its protagonist Henry Pierce being a computer software entrepreneur who does not pop up in any other Connelly book. But just to make clear that it was in the same universe, Connelly makes Pierce's dead sister a victim of The Dollmaker (a serial killer that Harry Bosch investigated and killed), and takes the prosecuting attorney from Angels Flight and makes her Pierce's lawyer.
- Chekhov's Gun: In every single novel, starting with The Black Echo, in which Eleanor Wish makes a random comment about how she wanted "justice" for her brother, who never came back from Vietnam. That's the motive.
- Carver delivers a long, seemingly pointless lecture about the fire extingushing system at the server farm in The Scarecrow. Naturally, it proves crucial to the climax.
- Clear My Name: Mickey Haller gets this from his clients in every novel, which makes it a bummer when they turn out to be guilty. In The Gods of Guilt he finally gets a Clear My Name case where the client is actually innocent. It's portrayed as a redemptive moment for him.
- Cowboy Cop: Bosch. It wouldn't be a Harry Bosch novel if he weren't going off on independent ops against orders from the LAPD.
- Crusading Lawyer: Maggie McPherson, Haller's fiercely idealistic ex-wife and prosecuting attorney, who disapproves of his work as a criminal defense lawyer.
- Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: 9 Dragons, Trunk Music, Lost Light. In Lost Light Bosch, who is the one rubbing his wrists, comments disapprovingly about how he always thought cuffing a suspect too tightly was a cheap tactic.
- Dirty Cop: This is one of Michael Connelly's favorite tropes.
- The Black Echo: The FBI agent investigating the bank robbery is in fact behind the bank robbery.
- The Black Ice: An LAPD cop is a heroin kingpin, who faked his own death to boot.
- The Last Coyote
- Trunk Music: The patrolman who found the body was part of the murder plot.
- Angels Flight: An LAPD cop killed a troublesome attorney.
- Lost Light: The crippled LAPD cop who helps Bosch is actually the murderer.
- Echo Park: An LAPD cop is involved in covering up a crime, which winds up getting a couple other cops killed.
- The Overlook: An FBI agent is the murderer.
- The Gods of Guilt: A DEA agent planted evidence to put a murderous drug kingpin away, and killed a witness to keep her quiet.
- The Brass Verdict features a Dirty Judge.
- Disney Villain Death: Void Moon, The Last Coyote, The Scarecrow
- Disposable Sex Worker: Strongly averted by Bosch, what with his mother being a prostitute who was murdered.
Bosch: "Everyone counts, or no one counts."
- Double Meaning Title: Michael Connelly is a big fan of these.
- The Black Ice is a kind of heroin, and also ice on a road that symbolizes unseen danger.
- The Concrete Blonde is both a murder victim found in concrete and the statue of Justice.
- City of Bones is both the crime scene where a murder victim's 20-year-old bones are found, and all the old bones buried under the city of Los Angeles.
- The Drop is both the Deferred Retirement Option Plan that fixes a date for Bosch's retirement, and a drop of blood on the neck of a murder victim, and how the victim in the A-plot died (he fell off a hotel balcony).
- The Black Box is both the box holding the information that cracks a case, and death.
- The Gods of Guilt are both the 12 jurors in a trial, and all the people in Mickey Haller's life who judge his choices.
- Driven to Suicide: Angels Flight, City of Bones, The Last Coyote
- In The Gods of Guilt one of the bad guys is driven to shoot himself in court, while testifying.
- Embarrassing First Name: Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch.
- Enhance Button: Averted in The Narrows, where Harry Bosch asks for a zoomed-in digital photo to be "enhanced" and is told that it's impossible.
- Played realistically in 9 Dragons, with the use of a computer program to "guess" the image.
- FBI Agent: Many. Bosch marries one.
- Foreshadowing: Connelly being a Fair Play Whodunnit type of author, this happens in all his novels. Lampshaded in The Fifth Witness. A detail (a freshly turned garden in the suspect's home) is introduced, and Mickey Haller says
It was what the great filmmakers would call foreshadowing.
- In the end it is foreshadowing, but in a different way from what Haller guesses.
- Friends with Benefits: Bosch and medical examiner Teresa Corazon in The Black Ice. Bosch and LAPD makeup artist Vicki Landreth in The Closers. Corazon cuts him off as she rises in LA politics.
- Generation Xerox: Madeline Bosch is a crack shot who is interested in a career in law enforcement.
- Groin Attack: Trunk Music. Bosch kicks a Mook square in the nuts.
- In The Scarecrow, it's how The Dragon almost gets away from Jack McEvoy.
- Gun Struggle: The Poet, Lost Light. In Lost Light Bosch opens his eyes after the Gun Struggle and finds that his opponent doesn't have a face.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Discussed in The Poet.
- Discussed again in Lost Light.
- Honey Chandler in The Concrete Blonde accuses Harry Bosch of this and quotes Frederich Nietzsche.
- Hired to Hunt Yourself:
- The Poet: The FBI agent in charge of hunting down the serial killer actually is the serial killer.
- Angels Flight: One of the Internal Affairs cops assigned to investigate the Howard Elias murder is the murderer.
- The Black Echo: The FBI agent in charge of the bank robbery task force is the mastermind behind the bank robbery.
- The Overlook: One of the FBI agents chasing supposed terrorists is actually the bad guy.
- Hot Scientist: Dr. Shamiram Arslanian, the forensic scientist who testifies for Mickey Haller in The Brass Verdict and The Fifth Witness. Beyond her technical expertise, Haller values her for her hotness, which impresses jurors.
- Internal Affairs: The bane of Harry Bosch's existence, screwing with him in novel after novel. Finally averted in The Black Box, where not only does Bosch finally encounter an honorable Internal Affairs cop, said IA cop winds up bailing Bosch out of a jam.
- The Internet Is for Porn: Chasing the Dime, in which software designer Henry Pierce gets fixated on an Internet call girl and winds up in a lot of trouble. In The Gods of Guilt the murder suspect is a digital pimp who handled Internet advertising for several hookers.
- Intrepid Reporter: Jack McEvoy, who tends to get hunted by murderers due to his diligence.
- Knuckle Tattoos: The murder suspect in The Reversal.
- We learn in City of Bones that Harry Bosch got knuckle tattoos reading "HOLD FAST" when he was a teenager, but when he was in the Army they made him erase the tattoos by means of punching a wall until the scars obscured them.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: All of Connelly's books take place within the same fictional universe. Note the many character crossovers in the bibliography above; even minor characters pop up in multiple novels.
- Long-Lost Relative: Half-brothers Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch. Contrary to how this trope usually plays out, their relationship remains awkward even after they realize this.
- Never Suicide: The Black Ice, The Poet. Averted in The Drop, where the guy everyone thought was a suicide at the beginning actually is a suicide.
- Pants Positive Safety: The Black Ice, The Brass Verdict, Void Moon, The Last Coyote, Lost Light
- Parental Incest: Incest of the abusive variety in Angels Flight, The Reversal, and City of Bones
- The Profiler: Rachel Walling, Terry McCaleb.
- Red Herring: The Chinese mafia investigation that kicks off 9 Dragons, the terrorism investigation in The Overlook, the pursuit of skinhead suspects in The Closers, etc.
- Serial Killer: Connelly is big on this trope. The Concrete Blonde, The Poet, The Narrows, Echo Park, The Lincoln Lawyer, Blood Work, The Scarecrow, The Drop.
- Sequel Hook: The Poet ends with the killer getting away, and sure enough The Poet returns in The Narrows. The Fifth Witness ends with Mickey Haller deciding to run for DA, but this sequel hook is subverted in The Gods of Guilt, which reveals that a scandal not only wrecked Haller's nascent political career but ruined his relationship with his family.
- Shot in the Ass: Angels Flight. Not played for laughs one tiny little bit.
- Also in the backstory for Lost Light, again not played for laughs.
- Shout-Out: In The Fifth Witness a producer muses that Matthew McConaughey would be good to play Mickey Haller in a movie. McConaughey actually did play Mickey Haller in the film The Lincoln Lawyer, released that same year. McCounaghey was described as an alibi (one of several) by a suspect in 9 Dragons.
- More than one to The Film of the Book of Blood Work. In The Narrows a character common to both books complains about how he was portrayed in the Blood Work movie.
- The title of The Black Box is a shout-out to the beginning of the Harry Bosch series, the first two novels of which were The Black Echo and The Black Ice. Connelly begins the novel with a thank-you to readers for keeping Harry alive for 20 years and the story begins 20 years in the past, with the initial call-out for the cold case Harry investigates in the story.
- Significant Name: The original Hieronymus Bosch was a Dutch Renaissance painter known for nightmarish hellscapes. This connection is mentioned in several Harry Bosch novels and is explored at length in A Darkness More Than Night
- Son of a Whore: Harry Bosch. In The Last Coyote, which is maybe the most depressing of the Harry Bosch novels, his investigation into his mother's murder reveals that his mother had found a prospective husband and was going to quit the life and reclaim Harry from reform school. All that was ruined when his mother's jealous roommate murdered her.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: In The Scarecrow, Jack McEvoy finds the corpse of the new hire lady reporter stuffed under his bed. Literally in Chasing the Dime, when Pierce finally finds the body of the hooker he's been looking for, stuffed into a fridge. Both instances are attempts to frame the protagonists for the murder.
- Switching P.O.V.: The Poet switches back and forth from Jack McEvoy's first person narration of his investigation to a third-person POV from an evil pedophile character. Its sequel, The Narrows, has a similar structure, switching periodically from Harry Bosch's first-person narration to a third-person telling of the Rachel Walling/Poet storyline.
- The Scarecrow features the same first-person hero, third-person murderer style.
- The Reversal switches back and forth between its two POV protagonists, Mickey Haller in the first person and Harry Bosch in the third person.. Similarly, A Darkness More Than Night switches back and forth between third-person protagonists Bosch and Terry McCaleb.
- Void Moon switches between thief Cassie Black and Karch, the casino security guy who's after her.
- The Black Echo does this to the point of Early-Installment Weirdness. This novel has four different POV—Bosch, a witness to a murder, Bosch's LAPD nemesis Irvin Irving, and the Internal Affairs cops that Irving sends after Bosch.
- An interesting example over several novels. All the Harry Bosch stories are told in third person, except for the two novels in which Bosch is retired from the LAPD and working as a private investigator, Lost Light and The Narrows. Those are told by Bosch in the first person.
- Technology Marches On: Demonstrated and lampshaded by the Harry Bosch novels over a quarter century as Bosch ages in real time. In the early novels LAPD detectives are using pagers and typing out their reports on typewriters. In later novels Bosch is the last detective to still be using a typewriter, and he admits that he has to get his daughter to help him with computers.
- Vanity License Plate: Mickey Haller's "IWALKEM".
- Wall Slump:
- In Lost Light, one of the bad guys does this after getting shot.
- In The Black Echo, the bad guy's look of surprise as he does this helps lead Bosch to the solution.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Rachel Walling delivers one to Bosch at the end of Echo Park.
- Terry McCaleb does the same to Bosch at the end of A Darkness More Than Night.
- Bosch finally gets to give one in The Drop, to old partner Kizmin Rider, who has sold out to LAPD politics.
The Concrete Blonde
- Batman Gambit: Eleanor Wish pulls one against the guys responsible for killing her brother. With mixed results.
- Bank Robbery: Climaxes with one of these, as the bad guys attempt to rob a safe deposit building.
- Fun with Acronyms: Homicide Information Tracking Management Automated Network.
- Hold The Unsolicited Ingredient: Inverted. Harry Bosch specifically orders a pizza with anchovies in order to unsettle a teenage witness that he is interrogating.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: The murder that starts the story is carefully staged to look like a heroin overdose. Harry Bosch is not fooled.
The Last Coyote
- Evil Lawyer Joke: Before the opening statements of Harry Bosch's trial, the judge told the jurors what the attorneys say during those statements wasn't necessarily true since they're lawyers. The judge's accent even makes it sound like "lie-yers".
- Flashback: Or Distant Prologue—the story starts out with a prologue that recounts Bosch's fatal encounter with the Dollmaker, before a Time Skip to the present where Bosch is being sued for that shooting.
- Hello, Attorney!: Honey Chandler, the sexy lawyer who's trying to ruin Harry Bosch's career.
- Jack the Ripoff: Bosch is puzzled when The Dollmaker, a serial killer that Bosch shot, seems to have become active again. He wonders if he got the wrong man. It turns out this new serial killer is a copycat.
- Funetik Aksent: How Connelly renders a Southern radio preacher.
- The Shrink: Bosch has therapy sessions with Dr. Carmen Hinojos.
- Tap on the Head: Averted. Bosch has a concussion and is pretty messed up after getting whacked on the head.
A Darkness More Than NightCity of BonesLost Light
- Chekhov's Gunman: Powers, the beat cop who discovered the body in the first scene, is thereafter forgotten about, until Bosch figures out that he is the murderer.
- The Infiltration: One of Bosch's suspects turns out to be doing this, much to Harry's embarrassment.
- The Mafia: The only Connelly novel which involves the Mafia as bad guys.
- Who Watches the Watchmen?: Alluded to in a rather silly exchange. Internal Affairs hatchet man John Chastain tells Bosch that he (Chastain) polices the police, leading Bosch to parry with "Who polices the police who police the police?".
- You Can Leave Your Hat On: Several scenes in a Las Vegas strip club.
- Evil Cripple: Turns out that the murderer is the (now) quadriplegic cop.
The ClosersEcho Park
- Battle in the Rain: Climaxes when Harry Bosch fights The Poet in a pouring rainstorm.
- Down LA Drain: The setting for the climax. The Poet is swept away and drowned in a flooded LA storm drain.
- Posthumous Character: Terry McCaleb, where one of the mysteries is how he died.
- Sequel: To The Poet. While all of Connelly's books are in the same universe, this is the only one where a villain returns.
- Retirony: Pratt, Bosch's supervisor, has three weeks before retirement, as is mentioned just about every time his name comes up. And it's all a Red Herring, as he's not a victim, he's complicit in the concealment of one, which leads to two cops getting shot. Harry is more than a little pissed when he finds out, especially since Pratt's machinations led him to accuse other people.
9 DragonsThe Reversal
- Adaptation Expansion: Expanded into a novel after originally being serialized in The New York Times Magazine.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Jason Jessup's defense attorney complained to the judge about the prosecution only releasing part of the data they intend to use against Jessup. Prosecutor Margaret McPherson (nicknamed Maggie McFierce) replied they were still within the deadline and suggested the defender believed no good deed should go unpunished.
- Suicide by Cop: The titular reversal deals with a murder suspect whose conviction is overturned. After it becomes apparent that he is going to be convicted again, said suspect commits Suicide By Cop rather than go back to prison.
- The Unreveal: Bosch develops a theory that murder suspect Jason Jessup is actually a Serial Killer, but we never find out if Bosch is right.
The Black Box
- Celebrity Paradox: Bosch's daughter mentions that she's watching Castle. One must wonder if in the Bosch universe there's still a writer named Michael Connelly who Castle has a regular poker game with, and who his most famous creation is.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Bosch investigates two cases: the apparent suicide of former LAPD Chief Irvin Irving's son, and a cold case murder that comes back with a very surprising DNA hit. The two cases never intersect with each other.
The Brass Verdict
- Missing White Woman Syndrome: This is discussed more than once in regards to the victim, a white lady reporter killed during the 1992 Rodney King riots. LAPD does not want to give the impression that they are driven by the Syndrome.
- Moe Greene Special: The victim is shot right through her right eye.
The Fifth Witness
- Jury and Witness Tampering: One of the jurors is an impostor, paid by the accused to assume the identity of a juror in order to have at least one guaranteed Not Guilty vote.
- You Just Told Me: Mickey Haller uncovers information in this way.
The Gods of Guilt
- Drop the Hammer: The murder weapon, used to cave a banker's head in.
- Eureka Moment: Lisa Trammel gives a child a balloon at a party, and Haller instantly figures out how she managed to strike a much taller man in the top of the head with a hammer—the victim was looking up, at a balloon.
- Heel-Face Turn: Mickey Haller's decision to turn away from criminal defense work and run for District Attorney is portrayed as this.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Lisa Trammel would have gotten away clean after two murders—but she just had to taunt her lawyer.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Mickey Haller receives one.
The PoetVoid Moon
- Downer Beginning: The opening reveals that a client who Haller got off of a drunk driving rap then proceeded to kill a mother and daughter in another drunk driving accident. This destroyed Haller's campaign for District Attorney and permanently estranged him from his wife and daughter.
Chasing the Dime
- Air-Vent Passageway: Thief Cassie Black uses this to get into a hotel room.
- Subverted towards the end of the novel however as the casino learned its lesson and added bars to the vents.
- Classy Cat-Burglar: Cassie largely fits this role.
- Luke, You Are My Father: Karch imports this information to the man he is murdering.
- One Last Job: Both the backstory and the present-day heist. Cassie Black was going to run away with her lover after the big score in the backstory; in the present day she wants to get away with her daughter.
- Nanomachines: This is basically what Henry Pierce is trying to make.
- Everything Is Online: Carver uses his all-access Internet pass (he's head of security at a server farm) to really screw with Jack McEvoy.
- Television Geography: McEvoy drives Highway 50, "The Loneliest Road in America", from Las Vegas to Ely, Nevada. Unfortunately Highway 50 does not go to Las Vegas; it is the east-west road that one would take from Carson City to Ely. From Las Vegas one would take the north-south road, Highway 93 (just as lonely, but without a colorful nickname), to Ely.