Author Michael Connelly on Cops, Crime Reporting, and Classic Noir

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

This is kick ass news. I'm Ben Mathis. Human rights. Watch is an independent nonprofit organization known for their accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting and targeted advocacy in partnership with local activists and human rights groups, they exposed the truth in order to defend the rights of all and bring those responsible to Justice. They rely on the support of informed dedicated people, so visit HR w dot org slash kick to make a donation and support. It's vital work around the world. Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar until twenty nineteen HR w dot org slash kick. And now enjoy the podcast. I I'm Ben Mathis. Welcome to kick ass news, folks. If like me, you're a fan of mystery and detective novels than you, undoubtedly know the name, Michael Conley having sold over seventy five million books worldwide, including multiple number one, New York Times bestsellers Connolly is the greater of some of the most popular crime fiction series of all time, including the Lincoln lawyer books and the Bosch novels the latter of which is now a hit TV series for Amazon now Michael Conley brings together. Harry Bosch his most famous character with his newest character in his latest novel dark sacred night, which debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list and today. Michael Conley joins me on the podcast to talk about his literary hero, Raymond Chandler. How he followed in the footsteps of the king of detective Noir when he first came to Los Angeles, and how Chandler's novels influenced Michael's own writing. He reveals why he decided to spend the first two. And a half decades of his life working as a crime reporter before diving into fiction how he went about cultivating relationships with LAPD's top homicide. Detectives and how those sources still inform his writing today he talks about how some of those real life. Cops inspired his most famous character. Harry Bosch why he wanted his detective to be an outsider who works within the system and how he came to name him after the fifteenth century Dutch painter Harare's by he discusses the active role. He plays in the Amazon TV series Bausch, and how that more collaborative process is influenced his novels, including his latest dark sacred night. Plus why he gravitates to loners some of the crazy things you might see working the late shift in LAPD's Hollywood division. And why is about to jump into the world of true crime podcasts coming up with bestselling author? Michael Conley in just a moment. Michael Conley is the author of thirty one previous novels, including the New York Times, number one bestsellers, two kinds of truth. The late show and the wrong side of goodbye his books, which include the Harry Bosch series and the Lincoln lawyer series of sold more than seventy four million copies worldwide. Conley is a former newspaper reporter who has won numerous awards for his journalism and his novels and is the executive producer of the hit Amazon series Bosch starring Titus well of her now he brings together. Harry, Bosch and his newest character. Rene Ballard in his latest novel dark sacred night. Michael conley? Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for having me on you have had an interesting career as a crime reporter in a crime author. And I understand it was the great new are author Raymond Chandler who started it all for you. Exactly read his books will actually I should back up and say I watched a movie based on his book the longer by. By the Elliott Gould version deli version, which I love and some people call a some Chandler bureaus calling a bomb nation, but I loved it. It led me to his books. This is one is in college. And when I finished reading his books, I said, I want to be a writer, and I want to say that in one of the books you actually name to character Chandler was that your nod to hero. It was it was like a double nod because I also worked eight times in the Chandler family. Brought that newspaper to great heights back when they were at great heights. And so as I knew it could be taken button, depending on who's reading as a nod to one or the other where you also a fan of Dashiell Hammett, and some of the other no oral thirds are what's mostly Raymond Chandler that. I've definitely read it all Chandler was the one something about the way his sardonic cynical yet hopeful view of Los Angeles. And I read these before I'd ever even been Los Angeles captured me so yeah, dash won ham. It's like, you know, one of the best James. I'm Cain so forth. I've I've read them all but Chandler is the one that over my life. I've gone back and re read and be read and reread you eventually ended up going into journalism. Instead was that sort of your way of hedging your bets and making sure you could still pull a paycheck. Yeah. I mean. You know, I was when when this when the Weipa went off and sit and I knew I wanted to be a writer. I happen to be a major in engineering, which is not really the the best educational path. So I went home and talked to my parents about it. And and it wasn't like I went home and said I want to be a writer. I said I wanna be a crime writer. I wanna write these kind of novels 'cause Chandler was one made me inspired me to say that. But I've been reading them veraciously for a long time. I had been a witness in a to a crime when I was sixteen and I spend a night with detectives and that led me to on the path reading crime novels. So I finally get to Chandler about three years later. And that's when my world is rocked. And I go home and say this is what I wanna do. And so my father said, the usual path is probably like English lit and maybe become a teacher while you try to right? And so on and so forth he said, but if you're very spoon. Acidic about this. Why don't you get into police stations courtrooms? And I think the best way in there is to if unless you want to be a cop is to become a newspaper reporter and got a press pass that gets you into these places, and you know, my father had no experience in this kind of world. But he was smart enough to say, and if and if it doesn't put you in a position, which is what his way of saying if you can't do it. If you can't make it as a writer of fiction. It's pretty interesting job, you'll have and you'll have the paycheck. You just mentioned. So I went down that path and got very lucky, and and what was kind of like a hopeful plan of hedging bets turn into at this point kind of looks like a master plan before coming out to LA you actually spent I want to say he about six years in the eighties covering the height of Florida's drug wars for the Fort Lauderdale news and sun sentinel did all that live up to Miami. Vice you know. Funny. It was a very dangerous time then and with a with a lot of innocent people getting caught in the crossfire. That's why it made it such a a strange endanged dangerous time. I mean, I grew up there, and I saw a change. And I remember I don't know why it was made because is mostly a crime reporter. But I was sent down to the Miami city council who behind closed doors watch the pilot of Miami vice and and it was going to be a story as it's going to be good for us or bad. And they came out and saying this is a trophy. This is gonna put a black eye on Miami and so forth. And then it turns out to be a basically a society altering show that was number one and so forth. So they had that completely wrong. And that's a big aside from that. But I just always remember that. But yeah, I mean, the there, you know, I wrote about as a reporter. But I was also grew up there. And so when you see a community know pretty well have a lot. People looking over their shoulders all the time. It has an impact you eventually headed out west and having come up on the war of Raymond Chandler. And of course, so many other Noir books and movies us, Los Angeles. As a backdrop was that always kind of in the back of your mind that moving to LA was eventually the goal. You know, it really wasn't. No, I tried to you know, write books in for Lauderdale the place. I grew up the place. I was kind of a big fish in a small pond wasn't a is. It's a suburb of Miami, basically. And I worked for the paper and got to write a lot of the top stories and so forth. So I was content, but I might go is right novel. So at night, I was writing novels, and I wrote a couple and any writer you've ever talked to. I'm sure has said they're there most harsh critic, and I and that's true. And so these are books that I knew were were failures that that would should not be published. But the encouraging thing was the second one was better than the first one. So I was learning you know, was on a learning curve. And so it's something about me turning thirty. It was like I can't keep doing this. I think one more chance to do it. And before I take that. Let's change my life up in a big way. And so. So I sent him newspapers in big cities all over the country. And I was basically going to go to the first one at hired me. And it's LA times was the first one to hire me. So I ended up coming to the land of the guy who inspired me. But it was if Denver had called first or Chicago Tribune had called for maybe Harry, Bosch would be a Chicago cop. I don't really know. And you actually rented from what I've heard the same apartment in the Hightower court that Philip Marlowe lived in in the movie the longer, but yeah, I mean, maybe that's taking the Omayad a little extreme. But there's also a funny story behind that. Because when I first moved out here to work for the times, you know, wasn't like you could Google stuff and find it. I actually had do some a slew thing to find that place. And I did find it. And I knocked on the manager's door to see if that that specific parliament was available to rent, you know, when I was moving out here, and it was not available, but I had my fresh. Set of LA times business cards. So I gave him one and said, you know, if it ever comes open, let me know and it's the situations. Right. I will rent it. And he actually kept that card for like something like eight years and called it. And I was long gone from the LA times. I was just writing my books at that point. But the person who had that phone number at the times, new me and connected me. So that I rented it because I was in this stage of my life where I was going back and forth between Florida because I had a was making building a family, and I wanted my daughter to know her grandparents and so forth that were all there. So I needed a place in LA. So I did end up having it for about five years who what was it like immersing yourself in the world of your hero? I I did I can say I wrote a couple of books there, but it didn't have air conditioning. So it had a had a wall unit air conditioning in the bedroom. So the only place in the summer that I would be would be. The bedroom. So it was it was more of a romantic thing than a practical thing in the parking around. There is right by the Hollywood bowl is terrible. Especially if there's a an event at the ball, did you find yourself kind of seeking out the famous locations from Chandler's novels. Yes. I don't know if they still have this now, but they used to have, you know, paper map of Chandler's spots places. He lived and wrote as well as places from the movies, and you know, I was looking for inspiration. And I thought that was very cool to see the places. I I would say the thing that was most impressive on may is that in his novel little sister in chapter eleven Marlow just is having a frustrating day on the case. And he just takes a drive around LA. You know, he goes through laurel canyon up to venture. There wasn't a Ventura freeway Ventura I think it was called highway or something and takes that out and then goes down to mountains in Malibu and then back around. So he kind of loops the city, and it's such a beautiful writing in really not plot oriented at all it's all about describing Los Angeles. And I took that drive many times and marveled at how his descriptions that were now at that point probably forty years old. We're still legit. You know, and I wanna ask you about the moments when I guess perhaps the new war version of L A in your mind kind of came up against reality. Because you I want to say for fifteen years, we're covering the police beat in interacting with the -tective and cops from the Noir books in the war movies. We have this image of a lot going on in the shadows and dirty cops and all the lines being blurred between the worlds of law and. Enforcement big business powerbrokers the underworld. And even of course, Hollywood does that match up with what you saw in reality or reality a little bit Dullard than the Noir fiction. It it didn't match up. Exactly. But I mean, I could see what Chandler was doing. He he wanted his guy to be an outsider who is looking in. So therefore, he couldn't have a badge. You couldn't be a cop? And he so he created them as foils or does obstacles that he had to get around it to solve this case. So I'm sure that was exaggerated. Although I know we LA has a real history of police corruption and things like that especially in those times. But when I got here, I saw a very professional police department that was very media savvy since this is one of the media sensors of the of the world of and you know, that part I is is not what I read in the champion books. And of course, you were covering the LAPD at a very interesting time because if I have this, right? This is round the time in the nineties of Rodney King and the OJ trial. Right. I quit right before the OJ. Okay. But yeah, Rodney King riots. All that were part of my watch on them. The police beat you know, the LA times back then was huge. And I wasn't the only guy on the police beat the we had several like five or six, but I was one of them. And yeah, I mean, he's very formative. You know, here you are a newspaper reporter you kinda is kind of an exaggeration. But you feel like you got the inside scoop on the city. You know, it wasn't like there was no internet or anything. So like when you went home at night you've felt like tomorrow morning people. Find out what I already know, you know. So you kind of had this egotistical prince of the city feel to you that and I'm not the only one I know it affects a lot. Lots of lots of writers by in me. It was like I couldn't ever foresee that the city would come apart the way it did. After the Rodney King verdict, and here I was police reporter for the the central newspaper in this area. And like the police like to community I was totally caught flat-footed and surprised by what happened now, I know that you base. Most of your detective, Harry Bosch or the new character Rene Ballard on real cops or Malcolm's of real cops. That you've known when you write about journalists in your books are they based on you? Sometimes I mean, obviously, I've had that experience. I wrote a book called the poet longtime ago. It was actually the first book I wrote after leaving the business of newspapers, and it was a battery porter named Jack McEvoy, and that was a pretty close to being autobiographical in terms of my view of that job. And how I did it. You know, like he has some. Trump trauma in his life that that that I don't share. But it was like one of these, you know, when I write a book about Harry Bosch. And I'm sitting there on the scene. I think with everything I know about Harry Bosch. What would he do? What do you say here? When is writing about Jack McEvoy, I just wrote and just because he said and did everything I would do there's been reporters since in books, and even one turns out to be a killer. So hopefully, I don't share everything with these every reporter at I've I've mentioned in my books. Yeah. I have to say you're not always kind to reporters in your fiction, sometimes they're portrayed as bottom feeders willing to stoop to less ethical tactic to get a story not to mention being killers. As you mentioned when you were reporter where you the kind of guy who was prone to bending the rules or would take risks like that. Maybe finagle your way into places that you probably weren't supposed to be. I don't think. So I mean the thing about. I I spent two there's two phases of my life as a reporter one was reporter in my hometown. Where it was not a big town. And I could basically just walk into a detective bureau and was like, hey, Mike, how you doing type of relationship, then I moved to LA, which is massively bigger city and the media and LAPD are are at odds. You know, they're like fist bumping, and you can go anywhere in there without a, you know, someone approving it or an escort and so forth. So it was it was a tough time for me is reported go from where I could pick up the phone and reach animus anybody to having to spend a lot of time building trust and building sources and so forth. And so you're really not gonna do that. If you're if you're underhanded as a reporter like if you go around people who say who asked you not to that kind of thing. And so it was important to me was because I didn't know if I'd ever be able to quit NBA fulltime, novelist. I thought you know, LA times might be where I work for the next thirty some years. And I wasn't a guy who said I want to jump off at this beat and start covering politics. I was fascinated by crime in. I thought I could end up doing this for thirty years. So I got to play the long game. I gotta be trustworthy. I gotta write stories that are extremely accurate, and you know, in my time at LA times, I never had to write one correction. And and I think over time I Bill sources and and became a pretty credible reporter, but it does take a while. And it's also served you well in your fiction, you take great pains to make sure that all of your books are rooted in reality. And you've maintained relationships with the a lot of these cops over the years who are some of your most Val. Valuable resources are there ever times when they say, hey, you got that wrong? Or we know this character is based on Joe over here. And he's kind of upset at you or something. I I have a good relationship. But I have to admit that I meet most of them when they have read my books and see something wrong, and they'll reach out like die website and say love your books, but this is wrong. And then I have their Email, and then I respond to them. And then the next thing, you know, we're having breakfast set the Pacific dining cars, something like that. And then 'cause I'm not a newspaper reporter anymore. So the how I get sources a little different. And so that's how it starts. And then eventually, it becomes a pretty strong friendship. I would say my best friends in Los Angeles are the kind of people I write about detectives. And so obviously it serves me. Well, I have this philosophy. That Harry Bosch is. Not not real. So it's so in order to connect him to readers, I wanna plan his feet in the most real environment. I can't. So I tried to get everything I can write about the the geography of Los Angeles the places he goes all that on the forensics procedure the politics of your bureaucracy. I try to get all that. Right. So I'm still using my report to'real muscles. I guess you'd say to write these books. So at the end of the day what I want is that. Yeah, Harry, Bosch is not exist. But everything else in this book is legit Israel. You know? Yeah. And you really see that especially with the TV series Bosch because you get to use all of these great locations around LA in one thing that I appreciate is that unlike so many movies and TV shows, you're not just filming at the beach or in Hollywood or something like that you get into all of the little bedroom communities on the exterior of L A and all the little neighborhoods. That make up this crazy town. Yeah. I mean, it's the point of pride of the show to go where no man has gone before kind of is a motto find new locations. And of course, we there's some that are universal in our in many shows, and and you have to use them. But yeah, we have an amazing locations team that brings us a stuff all the time that that has not been tapped, by other filmmakers, the books are kind of starting point. I try to do that in my books as well. And that's one of the fun things about the show. And I think it does deliver it helps deliver two things one shows L A to readers of viewers who have maybe never been here. But it also shows the very important thing of Bosch in his city that connection between him and his city 'cause you went to the idea that Bosch is Los Angeles in Los Angeles is by is an important part of what we're trying to do. We're going to take a quick break. And then I'll be back with more with author Michael Connelly when we. Come back in just a minute. In the next sixty seconds. You're going to learn how the flat iron school can change your life. The flat iron school would teach you everything you need to get a job in code data science or design, but also prepare you for the jobs that don't even exist yet because this is a school designed to educate you in the art of change. So if you're feeling stuck board or unfulfilled flatiron will teach you how to change things. You'll learn by making things breaking things in discovering. How the future is being built the results speak for themselves. Go to flat iron school dot com slash podcasts to read about graduates, new careers and salary ranges, and explorer upcoming courses as well as exciting new careers. You can start building your own new career in coating data science or digital design at one of flat iron schools, we work campuses or take courses online. Go to flat iron school dot com slash podcast and read about graduates, new careers, salary ranges upcoming courses and explored these excite. Adding new careers enrollment is now open it's time to future proof your career and change things starting with you flat iron school dot com slash podcast. And earlier you were talking about how Raymond Chandler made Philip Marlowe an outsider looking in you decided to make Bausch and Rene Ballard insiders who worked within the police system in L A. What made you wanna do that? It was you said I'd spend a lot of years as a reporter. And so I was in that environment. I was in the police stations, you know, that plan from my dad is in courtrooms is in the police stations. And so I wanted to use what I knew, and I thought that you know, there's a lot of people writing novels or trying to write novels, and I thought, you know, what do I have that? Maybe they don't have that can set me apart, and it was like access because I had a big overlap. I wrote my first read novels while still being a crime reporter for the LA times. And so I had access in the end. So I was using it. And you know, what I had fourteen years of anecdotal stories that never end up in newspaper stories, but you know there. In your back pocket that are perfect for novels vixen. So when do that, but I, but you know, I am the disciple of Raymond Chandler. So I did my best to make these characters loners and outsiders and not feeling comfortable. Even though he do carry a badge and carry a gun. In are definitely the the long arm of the law the representation of the power and might of the state. But you can feel uncomfortable. If you're that. And and and so that's why I. I went that route. But I also tried to adhere to the author who inspired me, you know. So I did stuff Bosch like in the beginning. You know, like I made him a smoker because you yet to go outside to smoke. I made him left-handed because it's a right hand is society. You know, I just did little things that maybe were subliminal. But I think together added up to him feeling like I'm outside looking in. I'm like, Philip Marlowe. Yeah. Yeah. So it wasn't so much that you're creating characters who were outsiders looking in as it was they were outsiders who were in where. Yeah. Related in in the on the interest side, and I'm trying to remember, I don't know if you've ever explained this. But how did you end up naming your character? Harry Bosch after Harare's Bosch, the Dutch painter of the fifteenth century. Well, I was you know, Chandler inspired me when I went down that road, you know, at nineteen to wanting to be a writer. I, you know, I knew I wasn't gonna suddenly right? A climb novel. When I was twenty two I knew I had to experience the world, and you know, being newspaper reporter was going to maybe make it happen a little faster. But you know, I spent my time voraciously reading crime novels and analyzing them, and you know, the bottom line is it's about character. You know, you obviously, you have to have a puzzle and high stakes intention and twists and turns all that stuff's really important. But the most important thing is is the readers connection with a character. And so. When I was building Harry Bosch. It was like character character character one. Can I say what can I what kinda history? Can I give him and that would go to a name as well? Give them a name that is intriguing or is metaphorical in some way. When I was in college. I happen to study the paintings of Iran, Mus Bosch in a just a random art appreciation type class and the painting state with me in there, you know, the five centuries old, but they're about a world gone wrong. There's a lot of a religious allegory that is not related to the my Bosch. But but the paintings are about crime and punishment world gone wrong. And in that way, they somewhat feel like crime scenes, and so I was thinking this guy, I'm gonna write about is going to go to crime scenes going to be a homicide detective, and he's going to know how to read a crime scene the way maybe someone knows how to read. Symbolism in the painting, and it just kind of brought me back to that very strange painter that I studied in college, and I went with Iran miss Bosch. This is you know, this is my first book was published in ninety two. So you know, the internet and being able to look stuff up so quickly changed the world. But back then I knew that I would say more than half the people read. This would have never heard of her honest, Bosch sure, and they would be intrigued because like that's pretty strange name. Maybe if I rating off find out what it means and strain in nineteenth to. Yeah. And then the people who knew the painter would also say the same thing that has a pretty strange guy and now five centuries later, there was a detective named that firm. I just thought these things would all helped me establish the character and stabbed my first novel so forth somewhere. I read you said that you thought that plot was king. And eventually, you realize that character is king, certainly if you want to create a successful series as you have that's the case, but even with individual novels, why does character Trump plot? Well. That learning process was you know, what I what I said that the two books. Remember, I said I wrote that didn't go anywhere those where Platt oriented, and that was that was the big last night learned I'm not connecting this character to read her. But the larger answer to your question is that you know, you can turn the TV on at any time of the day. And now a streaming like you can watch Bosch anytime you want. There's lots of shows on TV that show how cops do their work, for example, but TV and movies can't get inside people's heads. And that's the dimension of books that is different. And that sets it apart is in terms of storytelling, and that I love and when you get in some side somebody's head and you're riding with them through story where you're riding through. You're seeing the world's Harry is is you know, every word is delivering some character. And and that's why that's what brings people back. They liked the way Harry. Looks at the world that liked the way he deals with the obstacles in front of him. They like his empathy towards victims. These are all character aspects. And of course, are there for a good ride. They don't wanna see the bad guy on pay San or figure out who the bad guy is on page, San they went on be surprised, and, you know, so it is it is like, you know, spending place. There's a lot of place you gotta keep spinning. But the big one is character because that determines whether someone wants to know more about that person's world which translates to I like to read about him again. And I know that you've been very protective of Bosch wants the media rights eventually reverted back to you after it had sort of been stuck in what we call development hell here Nali would and you've been very involved in the making of the series. I wonder what that experience has been like for you and has the work of being an executive producer and being in the writer's room and writing episodes for television had those influenced. How you write your novels will the experience has been great because I you know, I don't want to not trying to be TISCO year. But I'm I they didn't wanna make unless I came along with the character of Harry much. So I kinda watch over stuff. So I've done that. And and I'm really proud of the show, and you know, and it's about people it's like who you put together on both sides of the camera. You know, we we write each season for five months before any, you know, it's six writers in a room, and nobody else is involved. No, nobody no producers or. Actors or anything. And that's where it all comes together doesn't. And I've been we've been lucky that for five seasons. And now they just announced we get a six the writing room has come through in a big way. And I'm glad to be a part of that. And the really cool thing is that to get really to. You're the last part of your question is is really I think informed my writing books in a in a very positive way. And I think the two things that I can point to is that in in script writing dialogue is king. You know, you're not inside anybody's head. Right. So you deliver character by what they do what they say and so- character. So I think my dialogue skills have improved on my books because I've had to improve them when I write scripts. Oh, interesting. And then the other thing is for years and years and years the books were all completely sued is a Harry Bosch, which is fine in which is great. But when it comes to making TV show, Harry Bosch campy in every scene. Right. So the the people that are veteran TV people who are brought in on this. And I'm Mr., you know, naive. Rookie said we have to spread the story out, and we have to give lives to some of the ancillary characters, and you know, we're up vegetables. And no one holds back. You know? And and, you know, being a journalist before I was a novelist. You know? I have a pretty tough skin. I taken good reviews and bad reviews the same way, and it was made clear to me that these and Larry characters that we have to give deeper live Suu weren't very deep in my books, and that was a lesson. I learned and I think I've now made adjustments in my writing of books where you know, every character counts. It's Harry Bosch. The books are about Harry Bosch or Rene Ballard, but I got a really give lives to the other people around. And so therefore, I think it's helped and I've also written books since the show that have split narratives some obviously doing what we do on the show spreading the the the the load of carrying the story. Gap between characters and so I I can see a lot of. You know influences from the TV show on books, and I know in the last season that was the first season that you didn't actually write any episodes in. I hope he won't take this the wrong way. But I don't think that it suffered one bit for that. Was it hard to relinquish that power? No. It wasn't. Because I I know the it's this is a shorthand doesn't sound right. But it's kind of machine, and and it's a machine I trust we have very little turnover in our writing room, and in our crew, and in our actors and everything so the further long, we go the more were United is a family, and it's not like I wasn't there. But I don't feel the need to actually write strips. I'm involved in outlining scripts. I'm involved in outlining the season, I sit in the writing room, and then of course, scripts go through me when they're written. And I have a say about it. And that's really all I need to know. I'm not trying to build a career as. Screenwriter? I'm I'm a novelist who's kind of moonlighting in TV at the moment. You know to a high degree, but at the same time at the end of the day. I am not hoping that I've written twenty Harry, Bosch rips or something. I'm hoping I've written twenty or thirty Harry, Bosch novels, and this latest novel is just terrific. It's beginning tons of praise. In fact, I think the last time I checked it was number four on the New York Times fiction list. It's called dark sacred night. And it brings together your best known character. Harry Bosch with your newest character Rene Ballard. This is not your first time that you've brought together characters from two different series into one novel. Is that something that you do for the fans or what do you get from that? I do it for myself and for the fans, but you know, it's it goes back to the Ron splash paintings. There's always all kinds of stuff going on different parts of these paintings yet. But it's one painting, my kind of you all my writing is, you know, because it's basically LA sense. Trich? It's it's contemporary. The books are set in a year. They're published that and we're like in the Justice system. So it's pretty clear that these people could know each other across pass and so forth. And so I think it's a natural thing to do. I really liked doing it. And you know, for most of my career are most my books, I write about Harry Bosch. But in a book like this where the narrator is split between riding with Bosch and riding of Ballard. When you have Bauer you get another angle Bosch. So from the writing standpoint that is fun. And I believe that what happens in the writing happens in the reading. So when I think that's cool to write a take on what Renee season, Harry, I think when the reader comes to that take they're going to smile as well. And so it, you know, I do it for myself. But I, but when I if I'm doing something for myself in means, I'm doing something for the reader as well and Rene Ballard is based on. On one specific person. You know, tell us a little bit her. That's the big difference. Harry Bosch is come from. You know, my many years of police report are knowing lasted detectives. And so and then lots of the influences of books and TV, you know, feel Marlow so on so forth. I put all that into a swirling, you know, blender kinda and out came Harry, Bosch Rene Bowers completely different one of the detectives, I know, and who has helped me of my Bosch books, and is a consultant on the Bosch show is a woman. They Mitzi Roberts in in. The course of knowing her over the last six or seven years, she told me about how earlier in our career before she was a homicide detective she worked midnight shift the late show as they call it. And in kind of anecdotally told me really interesting stories, and what I really was drawn to was the idea that when I write about Harry Bosch. He's a homicide detective so. A murder case if you work on the late shift, you might get a murder case. But you might also get a burglary or you might also get a missing persons or a domestic dispute, and so it's a it's a nice variety. And so after doing this for whatever twenty nine books, or so I decided I want to go in that direction and try to write a book that had doesn't have a murder in it. No. But has but still has of using you need like tension and high stakes and so forth. And so that's where the late show cane. So that established Rene in was written with a lot of help from the text of Roberts. And now we go forward, and they cross pass with with Harry Bosch and having one detective that I can go to and say, you know, what would Rene do here. Have you had this experience yourself any any stories? You can tell me is just been fantastic. It's been. I think really what makes the character. Connect with people. Yeah. Definitely frees you up and gives you a lot of places that you can go with that. And I believe the real life character as well. As Rene worked the late show in Hollywood of all places, which must have all kinds of crazy stories from midnight to seven A M has she told you things that were just too crazy to believe in fiction. I i've. Yeah. In a way, she has something in there is it's weird when you write fiction you have to be more believable than real life. And we all know, especially in place like Hollywood after midnight a lot of weird stuff happens. And you know, I she's told me stories where I kinda make them more believable in in fiction, and that's not just this. That's happened to me over the many years of writing about cops in LA some of the anecdotes. I get that the cops are give them to me swear, really. Happened. I remember I mean, it all came home to me on one of my early books where I had a. I put in a true story where the cops had gotten a tip about a sum of money and drugs, and they went to check it out and knock on the door and someone said come in. So they went in there where drugs and guns zone on display, and it turned out at a parrot in the room had said come in. And then it became a legal challenge about whether they really had thority to enter and I put that on book, and my editor said wanted me to kite it, and I and I said that really happened. And she said, it doesn't matter. It has to be believable. I believe that Rene was your first woman character, I main character that was a woman was that challenging to write a woman I actually wrote one long long time ago. But this first time I wrote one is a cop the one before was a burglar. But you know, I it's it's a common question. I get about this book and and writing about Renee that but I mean writing in itself is a challenge. Writing about Harry Bosch is a challenge. So I'm not going to say it wasn't a challenge. But at the same time, it's not prevalent in my head home writing about a woman. What would a women think what's I write about people who are who have a certain craft and have certain, dedication and are good at their jobs and are dug into their jobs. So that they know how to do it. They know the shortcuts they know the shorthand, and I just think that if I can establish that and with a high degree of accuracy, you know, we are similitude. We can get to gender next, you know. And and and it's been very helpful. Having Mitzi Roberts. Be someone who can read early drafts of chapters and books, and so forth and say, you know, at this point, I would be doing this. And and it's a very female point of view, and I can get that in there, and and it works so. Reading a book is a challenge. I didn't think this was a greater challenge or anything like that. Then writing a Harry Bosch Booker Mickey Haller book, Harry Bosch is now a cold case detective what kind of person goes into that line of work. Somebody like Harry Bosch. Okay. You know, it's you know, what that comes out of his the big thing that was difficult for me when I left journalism in went into crime writing trying novel writing was the leaving of reality, you know, the clearance rate in LA runs around seventy five percent on murder. So that means one out of every four people kill someone gets away with it. That is sad. And it's not and it's awful. And then I moved into this world where every murder resolved. You know? It's it it it plays with me. And so by plays with me is not dry where it plays. On me, or you know, it works on me that even though I sitting here bragging about how I try to be so accurate and so forth. That's like a big societal accuracy that I don't have. You know, I can't write books where every every fourth book that person gets away with it. I really have to tie things up. But if you go into kowcase is you're you're going into cases that were not solved for like twenty thirty whatever years. And so you're in a way is a way for me to remind myself as well as readers, and so forth that people get away of murder in our society and. You know, here's one guy who cares about that. And who is relentless in pursuing some of these cases, and these are cups that, you know, cold case. Detectives yet you Roberts was on a cold case squad, most of his detectives that helped me now they might not be on inculcate squat now, but have spent time on it. You're also about to launch your own podcast. It's a true crime show. There's been this explosion of true crime both in television indefinitely within the podcast medium. Have you been wanting to dip your show back into true crime for a while now a little bit? I mean, I listened to a lot of podcasts and enjoyed them. And you know, a couple of things have happened one is I've been the beneficiary of amazing consultation anecdotal stories and so forth from real detectives. And I have found universally. They tell their great storytellers in themselves. And so I. On one hand. I was thinking like I could be a podcast where I could be the hosts, and I could ask the questions and people could hear the voices of the people that helped me create Harry by in and Rene Ballard, and they can tell their own stories. And and so that was one aspect of it. When aspect is what's going on in the country now where where reporters are in from some segments society and politicians are called enemies of the people. And that would I guess that would include me because that was my career for a long time. And that that has kind of fired up my reporting genes, I guess you would say, and I'm not in a position where I can just go back to the new newspaper and start writing store at crime story. So I think, you know, the podcast is is a new form of media, that's burgeoning and being more and more important to people. And so that was the other aspect I. That made me kinda stop thinking about it and doing it, and what's the name of it. 'cause people can subscribe now, right? Yeah. You can subscribe. Now, there's it doesn't come out till January fourteenth. It's called murder book murder and murder book. That's a reference to at least with the LAPD and the local LA county sheriff's I don't I can't say this is police universal. But when they investigate a murder, they put all their documentation their photos or transcripts and so forth into a binder that they call the murder book. And they they're they're log they all keep, you know, chronological record of the investigation, which is a major tool and in the case that's always friends center in a motor book. And so that's why I call I call the debt and what we're trying to do is. It's going to be a ten episode season. All about one case it spanned thirty years in Los Angeles. With involves three detectives that are I'm pretty close to and have helped me if my books for a long time, and and they carry the case at different times and made significant advances in the case at different times. Well, then let me be the first of welcome. You to podcasting, sir? Thank you, sir. I hope a minute as long as you are. Well, folks, go subscribe to murder book and definitely check out his new novel dark sacred night. Michael Conley, thanks for sitting down with me. Thank you. Thanks again to Michael Conley. For coming on the podcast order, his new book dark sacred night on Amazon audible or wherever books are sold. Watch all five seasons of Bosch available on Amazon prime TV now and subscribe to his upcoming podcast murder book on apple podcasts or wherever you like to listen keep up with Michael at Michael Connelly dot com or on Twitter at at Connolly books. The flat iron school will teach you everything you need to get a job in code data science or design, but the law also prepare you for the jobs that don't even exist you go to flat iron school dot com slash podcast and read about graduates new careers, salary ranges upcoming courses and explore these exciting new careers. You can start building your own career in coding, data science or digital design at one of flat irons. Local we work campuses where you can take courses online. Go to flat. School dot com slash podcast, read, the reviews and sign up for a free. Intro course enrollment is open. Now, if you haven't already be sure to subscribe to kick ass news on itunes and leave us a review, you can follow us on Facebook or on Twitter at at kick ass news pod. And as always, I welcome your comments questions and ideas at comments at kick ass, news dot com. I'm Ben Mathis. And thanks for listening to kick ass news. Gas news is a trademark of Mathis entertainment Inc.

Coming up next