Last year I read all the Lee Childs books - thoroughly enjoyed them but cannot remember a single thing about most of them now. Jack Reacher comes into town, rights a wrong, usually beds a beautiful woman on the way and the he hits the road. Pure pulp fiction and they were great.
I then looked around for the next author I could binge out on and picked up a Michael Connelly - found one in a charity shop for £1 and it turned out to be one of the later titles, Nine Dragons. I don't mind reading a series wildly out of order but found this time it was probably a mistake as I had no background on the main protagonist at this stage, one Harry Bosch. So I liked it but in a so-so sort of way. However, I liked it enough to try some more and after reading two or three became hooked.
Though Harry Bosch features in many of Connelly's books, he also has other characters who pop up in other titles and sometimes one or two will overlap. So as well as Harry we have Mick Haller, an attorney who I am beginning to prefer to Harry as I simply love a court room drama and witnessing the ins and out, the questioning of the witnesses, the tricks and ploys used to delay or simply obfuscate the processes of the law. Not sure that a lot of it is strictly ethical and I have to keep reminding myself that the whole point of a trial is for the prosecutor to prove its case and for the defence to cast enough doubt on it so that is is thrown out. Mick Haller does not want to know, or even seems to care, whether his client is guilty or not. In the last Connelly I read, the Brass Verdict, a lawyer dies leaving Mickey his entire practice, including a high profile and potentially lucrative murder case. This one was particularly exciting with a last minute twist in the final few pages that I certainly didn't see coming.
Another character is McEvoy, a journalist who featured in one of the non-Harry, non-Mickey books, The Poet, featuring a serial killer who leaves a verse on the body of each of his victims. This was a real edge of the seat story with a rather ambiguous ending which I hoped would mean that there was more to come. Four or five books later, there was.
It goes without saying that both Mickey and Harry, who we discover after a while, are half-brothers, are both divorced, have dysfunctional private lives and their own inner demons. I think all lovers of detective stories and thrillers now accept that this is the standard characterisation in all books of this genre. I have queried before if there are any happily married detectives and was sent a few names (Brunetti, Alleyn, Wimsey and er um.....can't think of any more) but the vast majority are lone figures with a fractured family and personal life.
Normally I totally go to town when I discover a writer I like but I am learning my lesson and trying to rein in my tendency to binge and then be left waiting for the next book to be written, so with Connelly I am trying to ration myself to one a month. Difficult mind you as I found three titles a week or two ago in a local charity shop and read them all one after the other (it is the same charity shop and they are always in hardback and in pristine condition so I am assuming that they are read once and discarded - I am not complaining). So I have now imposed a ban on reading another one until the end of this month. Trouble is, with a Kindle, it is just soooo easy to click onto Amazon and download but am resisting temptation so far.
There is a really good crap TV programme on at the moment, Castle, all about a best selling crime novelist who links up with a detective in the NYPD to help solve crimes. The detective is, naturally, an incredibly glamorous and leggy lady, and the entire premise is potty but enormous fun. As soon as I started watching I though Castle was based on Connelly and was not surprised to see an episode a few weeks ago when the fictional Castle was playing poker with James Patterson and Michael Connelly himself.
I am lucky enough to be in receipt of lots of thrillers and detective novels sent to me recently by publishers, some of which I know, some I don't so I have enough to keep me going for some considerable time, but I am simply dying to read the rest of this author and not sure I will be able to resist a mad splurge....