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