Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers

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Before Michael Connelly became a novelist, he was a crime reporter, covering the detectives who worked the homicide beat. In these vivid, hard-hitting pieces, Connelly leads the reader past the yellow police tape as he follows the investigators, the victims, their families and friends--and of, course, the killers--to tell the real stories of murder and its aftermath.
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Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers

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Overview

Before Michael Connelly became a novelist, he was a crime reporter, covering the detectives who worked the homicide beat. In these vivid, hard-hitting pieces, Connelly leads the reader past the yellow police tape as he follows the investigators, the victims, their families and friends--and of, course, the killers--to tell the real stories of murder and its aftermath.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The same qualities that make for an outstanding crime reporter -- attention to detail, understanding people, empathy, etc. -- also make for a great crime novelist, as evidenced in Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers, a gripping collection of newspaper articles written by bestselling author Michael Connelly (The Lincoln Lawyer, The Closers, et al.), when he worked as a journalist in South Florida and Los Angeles before becoming a full-time writer.

The collection of almost two dozen exposés from the late 1980s and early 1990s ranges from stories focusing on cops (former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates in "Death Squad") to those spotlighting infamous killers (serial murderer/rapist Christopher Bernard Wilder in "Killer on the Run"). "Trunk Music," which explores the unsolved gangland-style murder of a businessman found bound and shot to death in the trunk of his Rolls-Royce, was the inspiration behind Connelly's 1997 novel of the same name.

The phrase "truth is stranger than fiction" couldn't be more apt when it comes to the incredibly diverse subject matter of Crime Beat -- from demented serial killers to savvy con artists to overzealous police. Fans of Connelly's novels featuring former LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch will gain invaluable insights not only into Connelly's complex and engaging protagonist but also into the equally complex and engaging author himself. Additionally, aficionados of true crime will absolutely devour this powerful nonfiction collection -- yellow crime scene police tape not included. Paul Goat Allen
Charles Taylor
Connelly is particularly good in a section titled "Death Squad," about a case involving a Los Angeles Police Department squad that surreptitiously followed people suspected of criminal activity and allowed crimes to take place. The reasoning was that the cops would then have a better chance of convicting them once they were arrested. In the case Connelly writes about, it allowed the cops to act as executioners right after the crime. This is exactly the sort of subject that calls for hardheadedness, and Connelly supplies it, not in his prose but in his determination not to take the word of authority simply because it comes from authority. The articles that make up "Death Squad" suggest there is a place for the hard-boiled influence in reporting. Not by aping the prose of Chandler and his progeny, but by following the motto of a less glamorous icon, Jack Webb's Joe Friday: Just the facts.
— The New York Times
Patrick Anderson
Every generation produces reporters whose talent is essentially novelistic and for whom journalism is a way station on the road to fiction. Hemingway was the classic example of the 20th century, but there are many others -- Tom Wolfe was one, and so is Connelly. For instance, here's the lead of the first crime story reprinted in the book, from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in 1987: "It has been four days since anybody has heard from or seen Walter Moody, and people are thinking that something is wrong." It's not the typical who-what-when-where-why-and- how formula of police reporting. Connelly was always looking for mood, drama, eccentricity, the telling detail. One of the fascinations of this collection is spotting the police-beat details -- the fellow with teardrops tattooed below his eyes, the detective who chewed the earpiece of his glasses -- that later punctuate the Bosch novels.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Connelly's fondly remembered memoir of his pre-novel writing years as a crime reporter splits reading duties among three performers: Broadway veteran Cariou, acclaimed director Franklin (Devil in a Blue Dress) and familiar audiobook voice McKeon. Cariou's starchy sincerity tangles manfully with McKeon's soothing, dulcet tones and Franklin's unassuming earnestness. Connelly himself gets things started by reading his own introduction, setting the stage by explaining the intimate relationship between his years on the crime beat and his current life as a mystery writer. The rotating chorus of voices is a pleasant change from the usual monotony of single narrators, with the three readers mixing things up for listeners with varied approaches to Connelly's book. Franklin is undoubtedly the least trained of the three, his voice the least varnished with the polish of long practice, but with all due respect to Cariou and McKeon's fine work, he is the most enjoyable reader. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 13). (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Connelly (The Lincoln Lawyer), one of the more literary of the neonoir novelists, got his start as a crime beat reporter in Los Angeles and Florida. Here he reprints the stories that inspired his award-winning crime fiction. From the body found in a trunk, which he used in his novel Trunk Music, to the insights on cops and killers that would inform The Poet and the character of detective Harry Bosch, these collected articles show that the truth can be as strange-and even stranger than-fiction and every bit as compelling. Through it all, Connelly displays the discerning eye and compassion that characterize his best work. The one problem with the format is that the stories and their follow-ups are printed verbatim; as a result, there is much repetition among articles on the same crime. This is a distracting but minor point in a book that is otherwise a treat. For all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/06.]-Deirdre Root, Middletown P.L., OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316153775
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 5/8/2006
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael  Connelly
Michael Connelly is a former journalist and has won every major prize for crime fiction. He lives in Florida.

Biography

Best known for his dark police procedurals featuring the tough, complex and emotionally scarred LAPD detective, Hieronymous "Harry" Bosch, Michael Connelly has been called "infernally ingenious" (The New York Times), "one of those masters...who can keep driving the story forward in runaway locomotive style" (USA Today) and "the top rank of a new generation of crime writers" (The Los Angeles Times).

Consistently exquisite prose and engrossing storylines play an integral role in his swelling success. However, Connelly believes that solid character development is the most important key. As he explained to MagnaCumMurder.com, "I think books with weak or translucent plots can survive if the character being drawn along the path is rich, interesting and multi-faceted. The opposite is not true."

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Connelly attended the University of Florida; there he discovered the works of Raymond Chandler -- author of many classic Los Angeles-based noir dramas such as The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye, and Farewell, My Lovely. The cases of Philip Marlowe inspired Connelly to be a crime novelist -- and by studying journalism, he put himself in the perfect position. "I went into journalism to learn the craft of writing and to get close to the world I wanted to write about -- police and criminals, the criminal justice system," he told MagnaCumMurder.com.

After graduation, Connelly worked the crime beat for two Florida newspapers. When a story he and a colleague wrote about the disastrous 1985 crash of Delta Flight 191 was short-listed for the Pulitzer, Connelly landed a gig in Marlowe's backyard, covering crime for one of the nation's largest newspapers -- The Los Angeles Times. Three years later, Harry Bosch was introduced in The Black Echo, which earned Connelly the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Connelly has since won every major mystery honor, including the Anthony (The Poet, Blood Work) and the Macavity Award (Blood Work).

While Connelly has written stand-alone novels that don't feature his tragic protagonist Harry Bosch, he is best identified by his rigid, contentious and fiery -- but also immensely skilled and compassionate -- detective. According to The Boston Globe, the Bosch series "raises the hard-boiled detective novel to a new level...adding substance and depth to modern crime fiction."

Called "one of the most compelling, complex protagonists in recent crime fiction" (Newsweek) and "a terrific...wonderful, old-fashioned hero who isn't afraid to walk through the flames -- and suffer the pain for the rest of us" (The New York Times Book Review), Bosch faces unforgettable horrors every day -- either on the street or in his own mind. "Bosch is making up for wrongs done to him when he rights wrongs as a homicide detective," Connelly explained in an interview with his publisher. "In a way, he is an avenging angel."

Bosch is clearly a product of his deadly, unforgiving environment. "The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote that when you look into the darkness of the abyss the abyss looks into you. Probably no other line or thought more inspires or informs my work," said Connelly in the same interview. With each passing novel, Bosch looks deeper and deeper into the abyss; and readers continue to return to see just how far he will gaze.

Good To Know

  • Michael Connelly received a huge career boost in 1994 when then President Bill Clinton was photographed walking out of a Washington bookstore with a copy of The Concrete Blonde under his arm. Connelly remarked to USA Today, "In the six years I've been writing books, that is the biggest thrill I've had."

  • Real events have always inspired Connelly's plots. His novel Blood Work was inspired by a friend who underwent transplant surgery and was coping with survivor's guilt, knowing someone had died in order for him to live. The book was later developed into a feature film starring Clint Eastwood, Angelica Huston, and Jeff Daniels.

  • One of Connelly's writing professors at the University of Florida was cult novelist Harry Crews.

  • Connelly named his most famous character after the 15th Century Dutch painter, Hieronymous Bosch. As he told Bookends UK in an interview, Bosch "created richly detailed landscapes of debauchery and violence and human defilement. There is a ‘world gone mad' feel to many of his works, including one called ‘Hell' -- of which a print hangs on the wall over the computer where I write." Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Connelly:

    "I wrote a mystery story as a class paper in high school. It was called The Perfect Murder. The protagonist's named was McEvoy, a name I later used for the protagonist in The Poet. Being a witness to a crime when I was 16 was what made me interested in crime novels and mystery stories."

    "I wrote my first real murder story as a journalist for the Daytona Beach News Journal in 1980. It was about a body found in the woods. Later, the murder was linked to a serial killer who was later caught and executed for his crimes."

    "Everything I want people to know about me is in my books."

  • Read More Show Less
      1. Hometown:
        Sarasota, Florida
      1. Date of Birth:
        July 21, 1956
      2. Place of Birth:
        Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
      1. Education:
        B.A. in Journalism, University of Florida, 1980
      2. Website:

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 2.5
    ( 40 )
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    See All Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 40 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted May 11, 2006

      I was robbed, get me Harry

      This was a complete rip off, a bunch of rehahed newpaper reports from years ago put together to make a book. Not only boring but it then repeats the same story from different persepectives to confound the boredoom. Feels like to was put out just yo make a bick, shame on you Michael Connelly to treat your readers like this,

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 10, 2006

      Disappointing and tedious

      Until 'Crime Beat' Michael Connelly has not written a book that I haven't enjoyed. For example 'Lincoln Lawyer' was outstanding. However, this one was so boring, I couldn't finish it.We all have occasional bad hair days, (in this case, bad book) so I am looking forward to his next novel.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 10, 2006

      I feel cheated as well

      It seems as though, with an absence of a Detective Bosch novel this May, Connelly's publisher needed something to feel the void. (Just look at the dated copyright page, it was printed last year, as well as a decade prior by another publishing house) Well, here it is, a boring methodically slow rehash of non-fiction. It reads about as boring as a newspaper.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted June 18, 2006

      Headline as Non-fiction

      A fine fiction writer and apparantly a fine reporter, but if you expect a novel, you will be sorely disappointed.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted June 21, 2006

      Not What you expect from Connelly

      I have read and enjoyed many of M. Connelly's novels. Expecting another good novel, I was disappointed to find more of a chronology of some interesting cases. No suspense or intrigue. In fact, I stopped reading after 140 pages. Could not recommend this book to anyone.

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    • Posted December 9, 2008

      more from this reviewer

      Fascinating

      Bestselling mystery author Michael provides a true crime look at his days as crime reporter in Florida and California. CRIME BEAT is divided into three overall segments, 'The Cops,' 'The Killers' and 'The Cases'. Within each Mr. Connelly provides a wide range of stories that he covered as a journalist. The true stories are fascinating in that macabre way that make the genre such a success. Not shockingly, the most poignant moments involve combat fatigue syndrome detectives dealing with bereaving family members of victims with what went down. Fans of the author¿s mysteries and those who appreciate true crime will want to read this powerful look at the real life underlying basis to much of Mr. Connelly¿s fiction.---- Harriet Klausner

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