Created by Michael Connelly
“No, not Harry Bosch,” he said quietly… “It’s always just what he wants. He’s always been a private investigator, even when he carried a badge.”
— an FBI agent (Lost Light)
EDITOR’S NOTE: After eight novels with a badge, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch finally became an official P.I. in Lost Light (2003), with both a California license and first person narration. It was such a seismic shockwave in crime fiction circles at the time that it took not one, but two contributors (both die-hard Connelly fans) to give us the whole scoop. Sadly, after Lost Light Harry went back to the LAPD, and I thought that was it. But in The Crossing (2015), he finally retired, and found himself (reluctantly) working once more as a privater investigator, occasionally working for his half brother, Mickey Haller. My sincere thanks to both Kelly Levendorf and Dale Stoyer for filling us in on Harry’s first appearance in the shamus game, and for being stand-up guys about it.
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HIERONYMOUS “HARRY” BOSCH was named after a 15th century painter infamous for his richly detailed landscapes of wanton debauchery and imaginatively graphic violence. Our Harry, meanwhile, grew up in Los Angeles, largely an orphan and occasionally in foster care, after his mother was arrested for prostitution and later murdered. Following a stint in Vietnam as a “tunnel rat,” he became a police officer, eventually rising through the ranks to become a Homicide Detective-Three in the LAPD.
But Harry is more than just a cop — he’s a man with a mission, a mission to, in his own words, “speak for the dead.” With a single-mindedness for doing right that is equal parts passion and arrogance, Connelly’s most famous character has brilliantly succeeded (“homicide is a calling, not a career”), closing both politically sensitive and long unsolved cases, including the decades old murder of his own mother. But often at great personal and professional cost to Harry. This is definitely a series to read chronologically, as Connelly uses elements hinted at in several books to great effect in those that follow. The first eight books in this series follow Harry through some of his adventures as an LAPD Detective, although he spends much of that time serving out suspensions or struggling to keep what’s left of his career.
Lost Light (2003), the ninth book in the series brings dramatic changes into Harry’s life (and, coincidentally, is his only adventure narrated in first person). He’s no longer a cop, but has retired after twenty-eight years, taking a whole slew of his unsolved cases with him. He has a PI license but isn’t sure he wants to use it. What he really wants is to continiue to speak for the dead. And although the book ends on a note indicative of a major change in Harry’s life, it would seem that mission is far too deeply rooted in Harry’s psyche for him to ever completely retire.
Michael Connelly first burst upon the scene with The Black Echo in 1992, which promptly nabbed the Edgar for Best First Mystery of that year. But it was a goal which Connelly had long been aiming for, ever since he was a student at the University of Florida back in the seventies and discovered the books of Raymond Chandler. After graduating in 1980, having majored in journalism with a minor in creative writing, Connelly worked at various newspapers in Florida, mostly working the crime beat. A magazine story he co-wrote on a major airplane crash was later short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, and helped land him a job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times. The Black Echo, which introduced Harry Bosch, was his first novel.
Besides the Bosch series, Connelly has written The Poet, a thriller which introduced tabloid reporter Jack McEvoy as a protagonist in 1996, and Blood Work, featuring former FBI profiler Terry McCaleb in 1998. 2000’s Void Moon introduced Cassie Black, a Las Vegas thief, and 2005 saw the introduction of grunt criminal attorney Mickey Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer. 2017’s The Late Show introduced Renée Ballard, a young LAPD detective who works the night shift, and she’s since popped up several times in the Bosch novels.
One of the most respected and popular mystery writers around, Connelly’s books been translated in 35 languages and have won the Edgar, the Anthony, the Macavity, the Los Angeles Times Best Mystery/Thriller Award, the Shamus, the Dilys, the Nero, the Barry, the Maltese Falcon (Japan), the .38 Caliber (France), the Grand Prix (France), and the Premio Bancarella (Italy). In 2003-04, he served as the President of the Mystery Writers of America, and he has written for TV and film, including adapting Harry Bosch for television. Connelly currently lives with his family in Florida.
- Harry teams up with McCaleb in A Darkness More Than Night (2001) and also makes an un-billed but hardly-unrecognizable cameo in Robert Crais’ The Last Detective, featuring Crais’ L.A. private eye Elvis Cole. Connelly returns the favor in Lost Light, as Harry spots his neighbor, a certain LA private eye in a classic yellow ‘Vette, and gives him the “smooth sailing, brother” salute.
- There’s a connection between Bosch and Mickey Haller, the disillusioned lawyer/hero of Connelly’s 2005 The Lincoln Lawyer. In the second Bosch novel, The Black Ice, Harry discovers that his father was the famous criminal defense attorney, J. Michael Haller. At his funeral, Harry discovers that he has several half brothers and half sisters, including Mickey. In fact, Mickey turned out to be so popular, he’s returned in more novels, both with and without Harry.
- “I think it’s the little things I miss the most about my former life. For more than twenty years I carried a small bound notebook in my coat pocket.”
— Harry on being an ex-cop, from Lost Light
- “Cielo Azul” (2001)
In A Darkness More Than Night, Harry and Terry McCaleb speak of a case they once worked together which still seems to haunt them both. This is that story, available only through Connelly’s mailing list.
- One-Dollar Jackpot” (2007, Dead Man’s Hand)
- “Father’s Day” (2008, The Blue Religion)
- “Blue on Black” (2010, Hook, Line and Sinister)
- “Switchblade” (January 2014, digital) | Kindle it!
- “Red Eye” (2014, FaceOff)
Also featuring Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie
- The Black Echo (1992) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- The Black Ice (1993) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- The Concrete Blonde (1994) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- The Last Coyote (1995) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Trunk Music (1997) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Angels Flight (1999) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- A Darkness More Than Night (2001) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- City of Bones (2002) | Buy this book
- Lost Light (2003) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- The Narrows (2004) | Buy this book
- Echo Park (2006) | Buy this book
- The Overlook (2007) | Buy this book
- The Brass Verdict (2008; with Mickey Haller) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Nine Dragons (2009) | Buy this book
- The Reversal (2010; with Mickey Haller) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- The Drop (2011) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- The Black Box (2012) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- The Burning Room (2014) | Buy this book | Buy the audio
- The Crossing (2015; with Mickey Haller) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- The Wrong Side of Goodbye (2016) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- Two Kinds of Truth (2017) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- Dark Sacred Night (2018; with Renée Ballard) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- Night Fire (2019; with Renée Ballard) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- BOSCH (2015-19, Amazon) | Watch it now!
Amazon’s long-anticipated series, based on Michael Connelly’s bestselling series and starring Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch, the LA murder cop who speaks for the dead. Not a P.I. show, but arguably the best show about homicide detectives since David Simon’s Homicide.
The author’s official web site.
- Dark Sacred Night: The Music Of Harry Bosch
A special limited edition CD collection of Harry Bosch’s favorite jazz music, released as a promotional item in conjunction with Lost Light.
- Lost Light by Michael Connelly: Review by David White
The Thrilling Detective Web Site review.
- The Evolution of Harry Bosch
How Michael Connelly’s Bosch and L.A. Have Changed Together (Bruce Riordan, CrimeReads, January 2019)