Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers [NOOK Book]


From #1 bestseller Michael Connelly's first career as a prizewinning crime reporter--the gripping, true stories that inspired and informed his novels.

Before he became a novelist, Michael Connelly was...
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Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers

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From #1 bestseller Michael Connelly's first career as a prizewinning crime reporter--the gripping, true stories that inspired and informed his novels.

Before he became a novelist, Michael Connelly was a crime reporter, covering the detectives who worked the homicide beat in Florida and Los Angeles.

In vivid, hard-hitting articles, 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.

Connelly's firsthand observations would lend inspiration to his novels, from The Black Echo, which was drawn from a real-life bank heist, to Trunk Music, based on an unsolved case of a man found in the trunk of his Rolls Royce. And the vital details of his best-known characters, both heroes and villains, would be drawn from the cops and killers he reported on: from loner detective Harry Bosch to the manipulative serial killer the Poet.

Stranger than fiction and every bit as gripping, these pieces show once again that Michael Connelly is not only a master of his craft, but also one of the great American writers in any form.
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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: 9780759515680
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 5/8/2006
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 59,143
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Michael  Connelly

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


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, "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

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."

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      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 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted April 12, 2010

      Ho Hum!

      After the first few sentences, this book bored the hell out of this reader. having read the newspapers, all the rehashed stories were redundant. Connelly could've done much, much, MUCH better. Can a reader say refund?

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted February 20, 2010

      More of a diary than a book

      I threw it away half way through

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted August 25, 2009

      Crime Beat Audio Book by Michael Connely

      Very disappointed. It was about different stories he wrote about as a newspaper man. There was no story behind any of them. I gave it away before the last cd was finished.

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted October 30, 2013

      not my favorite...reader put me to sleep

      not my favorite...reader put me to sleep

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 28, 2011


      I have read this book like 5 times and love it more and more each time!

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted December 24, 2011

      I like Bosch¿s logical step by step process of culling through the clues in a case...

      Reviewed by Stephen B for Readers Favorite

      "Christmas Even"

      A pawn shop owner suffering from repeated break-ins discovers what is at first assumed to be the dead body of the burglar still in his place of business. Harry Bosch, Los Angeles homicide detective, and his partner investigate and discover that things aren¿t always what they seem to be. How is the death connected to a saxophone found in the burglar¿s apartment, which was specially made for a famous jazz musician?

      "Father¿s Day"

      On the annual holiday Bosch investigates the death of a real estate¿s infant son. The child had some health problems, causing challenges for the parents. Suspicion falls upon the father who left the child unattended in an overheated automobile. Bosch negotiates the intricacies of the case as well as contemplating the facts about his relationship with his own child.

      "Angle of Investigation"

      Two days on the job, rookie patrolman and Vietnam veteran Harry Bosch and his training partner discover the corpses of a dog and its owner in a residential bathtub. Present day Bosch, ensconced in the cold cases department with partner Kiz Rider, tackles the decades¿ old murder.

      This is another collection of short stories from Michael Connelly. These show the determined and dedicated homicide detective who will not give up on the little things about a case. I like Bosch¿s logical step by step process of culling through the clues in a case. This is especially shown in the first and last stories. Since I listened to an audio version of these stories I also have to state that the narrator in his slow precise style helped the stories along. He was clear and Connelly¿s style came through clearly. As a Bosch fan, I recommend taking small bites out of your day to listen to these stories.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 5, 2010

      Not for fiction lovers!

      I am currently about 3/4 through this book. I am very disappointed and much prefer his fiction. This is like reading the same thing over and over because it will cover a case from police view, journalist view, TV views etc. and each one repeats much of the same details.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 10, 2010

      Not as entertaining as Connelly's fiction, this accumulation of newspaper articles seems repetitive and boring.

      Expecting something more like true-life stories in the vein of Harry Bosch or other Michael Connelly characters, I was disappointed by the way the material was presented, as newspaper articles. Sometimes a number of articles going over the same information became boring because it was so repetitive. I'm going to stick to his fiction, which I thoroughly enjoy, from now on.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted August 31, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Michael Connelly fan but not on this book

      The small crime stories did not interest me. I've never been disappointed in his novels.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted March 2, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      I Also Recommend:


      I am an avid reader. I love James Patterson, John Grisham, Janet Evanovich books, but someone recommended that I try Michael Connelly. I couldn't finish the book. It just didn't seem to be going anywhere, so after reading about one-third of it, I put it down and have no desire to pick it up again.

      I love the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Just be prepared to laugh out loud when you read them!

      1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted March 2, 2009

      Sort of disappointing.

      I didn't feel this book was to the standard of other Michael Connelly books I have read. I know it was a compilation of stories he worked on years back, but it was not very cohesive and it seemed to include lots of duplicated material.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted September 21, 2006

      Michael Connelly, Shame on You!

      Never have I quit on a Michael Connelly book, but there is a first time for everything! There was none of the excitement of his other books just boring recounts of old stories. I kept thinking it would get better, but by page 56, I knew it was a stinker!

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted December 14, 2009


      Good quick read. Short chapters with good start - stop places.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 9, 2009

      It started off a little slow but really got into the book.

      It started off a little slow but really got into the book.

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    • Posted February 2, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      proof that truth is stranger than fiction

      Whoever said truth was stranger than fiction might have been referring to bestselling author Connelly's first foray into non-fiction, Crime Beat. While all of us recognize his name thanks to such list toppers as The Lincoln Lawyer, Chasing the Dime and Blood Work, few may know that before writing novels he was a crime reporter, assigned to homicides. Crime Beat is a collection of the pieces he wrote during that time and are, if you can believe it, often even more chilling than his fictional tales. Admittedly, he found inspiration for many of his novels in his reporting days yet the pieces included in Crime Beat are even more compelling as they are related in the voices of the victims, their families, and the detectives who handled the cases. And, what voices they are! Len Cariou captures with his stage trained elocution and knife sharp diction. This Tony winner gives a first rate performance as the initial narrator explaining how Connelly came to be fascinated by police work. The second voice we hear is that of actress Nancy McKeon who grips listeners with her reading of the heartbreak of a victim's family. Many audio edition fans will remember her narration of Faye Kellerman's Street Dreams. Actor/director Carl Franklin whose films as a director include Devil A Blue Dress and One True Thing rounds out this stellar trio, reading with cool assurance. An added bonus is an introduction by Connelly. As for the actual crimes? Listening is believing and frightening, indeed, ranging from a psychopathic mass murderer who posed as a fashion photographer to a husband who hired someone to beat his wife to death. True crime enthusiasts will be enthralled. - Gail Cooke

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    • Anonymous

      Posted June 22, 2006

      Very Disappointing - Yawn!

      Felt as though one of my absolute favorite authors let me down. I hope Connelly is not experiencing writer's block. I cannot think of any other reason to publish this collection of repetitive true crime newspaper articles. Admittedly he appears to have been a good reporter but I don't get the point of putting these into book form - especially without any additional observations or insights. It doesn't work. I have always considered Connelly to be an insightful author with great integrity and humanity - kind of like his own Harry Bosch - but the concept of this book seemed insincere. I was tempted to ask for my money back but will just keep it in my library with my beloved complete collection of Connelly books and will have to anxiously await his next book - as long as it is not a collection of his newspaper articles. I loved Lincoln Lawyer - a cool new character and I would very much enjoy getting to know him better.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted June 3, 2006

      A Waste of Time

      What a disappointment! I love all of Connelly's books and was looking forward to a riveting read, but this is just a collection of old newspaper articles (1984, etc.) with no new info or comments from the author. There are several articles about each incident, so, as with newspapers, each subsequent article reintroduces the previously known facts. You end up reading the same information over and over. I gave up about halfway through the book.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 20, 2006

      A big letdown

      I love Connelly's books and had high hopes for this one, after reading his introduction on how he came to be a crime writer and novelist. But what follows is simply a collection of what appears to be old newspaper stories about crime cases from the 80's and early 90's. There is no new insight or reflection on the author's part. I gave up about halfway through, but I still look forward to Connelly's next novel.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 19, 2006


      Michael Connelly is probably my favorite author of crime fiction, but this half hearted nonfiction effort is a huge waste of time. I realize this is nonfiction but none of Connelly's considerable creativity is used to make the 'true crime' stories even mildly interesting. Please Michael in the future stick to fiction and leave the nonfiction work to others more suited to the task.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 7, 2006

      I feel ripped off!

      I really look forward to Connelly's books. I eagerly bought this one expecting his usual top drawer detective mystery writing. What I got instead was a dull rehash of crime stories that he wrote in the past as a reporter in Florida and Los Angeles. There is no reader satisfaction in this kind of writing.

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