Our interviewer had a conversation with Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly, whose story “Red Eye,” starring their series heroes Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch, opens the FACEOFF thriller anthology, on sale now.
How did you get paired together in the FACEOFF anthology?
Dennis Lehane: By height, I’m pretty sure. Or the shared ginger tint of our hair.
Michael Connelly: We didn’t need to do anything. I was asked by Steve Berry if I would work on a story with Dennis and I said sure. Dennis and I have known each other about twenty years. I figured if I was going to put Harry Bosch into the hands of another writer there could be no better choice.
How are Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch similar to or different from one another? Which qualities does each man bring to the case in “Red Eye?”
DL: I can’t get too Dr. Freud on this without feeling silly but if I had to guess I’d say Bosch is more aware of his own internal damage. Patrick, for me anyway, has always been a character who deflects a lot. It’s why he’s good with a one liner. Humor is his shield.
MC: I think they are a lot alike but it’s sort of a case of Mr. Insider and Mr. Outsider. Harry carries a badge and that makes him part of the establishment, a representative of the state. Patrick is a private eye and that makes him a classic outsider. That’s why I think pairing them was kind of a cool idea. While they approach investigations from that significantly different angle they are both no doubt relentless men. They are self-observing and self-questioning but relentless all the way.
How did you come up with the story’s title? Did that “job” belong to one of you?
DL: That was Michael. He sent me that title and I thought, Okay. Box checked. No heavy lifting required on my part in the title department.
You talk a little in FACEOFF about your process, sending pages back and forth–was that daunting, or a refreshing change of pace?
DL: It was fun. We have very different voices so I was interested to see how much those styles would clash. But instead they fused together pretty nicely.
MC: It started with the basic agreement that the only way this would realistically work would be if Harry went to Boston on a case. This would make him a fish out of water and more willing to grab onto a private eye for help. To further his disorientation I had him fly out on a red eye. It sort of became the obvious title.
How did you originally dream up Patrick Kenzie? And how did you decide on his name and where he came from?
DH: I dreamed up his father first. But I did it from first person point-of-view so I knew pretty quickly that it was the owner of that POV that I was really interested in. And that was Patrick. I have zero idea where the name Kenzie came from, unless subconsciously I lifted it from Kenzie Kids, which was a Boston area children’s clothing store chain. As for Patrick, I just knew he was really, really Irish and that he hated being called “Pat.”
How about Harry Bosch?
MC: I was a newspaper reporter and knew a lot of detectives. Harry’s origin is with them and the many fictional detectives from books and films that influenced me. I named him after a 15th century painter because the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch were full of chaos and torture and the wages of sin. I saw the parallels to crime scenes and the places Detective Bosch would inhabit.
If you paired them up again, would you send Kenzie to L.A.?
DL: Patrick in L.A. would be hilarious. He’d probably get deported for aggressive use of irony or sarcasm. Barring that, his pale-ass skin might spontaneously combust. But it’d be fun to watch him try to figure his way around Silver Lake or Brentwood or just see his reaction to the plastic surgery parade.
MC: I think it would be good to see the bookending of this where Patrick came to LA. Of course, now they know each other and so Patrick would be able to just call Bosch up and say “This is what I need.”
FACEOFF marks the first time all of these bestselling writers have paired their characters together in stories. Now that Bosch and Kenzie have had their moment, who else would you like to see each guy paired up with and why?
DL: Since you’ve already put L.A. in my head, I suspect Patrick might have some fun and kinship with Elvis Cole. Not sure about Joe Pike, but I think he’d get along famously with Elvis.
What’s your favorite thriller series?