Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Trunk Music/Michael Connelly

About a year and a half ago, I read through the first four Harry Bosch novels by Michael Connelly in fairly short order and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. I guess I burned myself out on them, though, because I haven't gotten back to the series until now. But earlier today I finished reading the fifth book in the series, TRUNK MUSIC, and with a few minor quibbles, I found Connelly's work as enjoyable as ever.

This one finds Harry Bosch investigating the murder of a minor movie producer whose body is found in the trunk of his Rolls Royce on a hillside overlooking the Hollywood Bowl. The opening scene, where Harry and the other cops are trying to carry on their investigation in full view of an amphitheater full of concert-goers, is outstanding. All the indications are that the killing was a mob hit, but of course things get a lot more complicated than that before Harry untangles everything.

To get the above-mentioned quibbles out of the way, the plot in this novel doesn't seem quite as strong to me as the ones in the first four books, despite some nifty reverses here and there. And for much of the book Harry doesn't seem to have the same intense emotional involvement as before. Most of the time this is a pretty straightforward procedural.

But a Connelly novel that's not quite up to the level of other Connelly novels is still a pretty damned fine book. Reading his spare yet elegant prose is always a great pleasure, and nobody handles the little details of a police investigation better than he does. Everything builds to a nice, satisfying climax, and I finished the book eager to read the next one in the series.

One last note: TRUNK MUSIC is a good example of how this series needs to be read in order, as Connelly brings back a character from an earlier book and reveals several important plot points from that book.

On the writing front, I was only able to work this morning, as the rest of the day was taken up with car repair matters, but it was a nice productive morning. Also, I learned today that a one-book ghosting deal with the possibility of more to come is now a definite three-book deal. As I told the editor, three books is always better than one. While I don't have the amount of work lined up that I did a while back, it looks like I'll have enough to keep me off the streets and out of trouble for a while. Of course, I can always use more . . .

Finally, I got an email today from someone wanting to know if I was from Oklahoma, used to ride a motorcycle, and worked at a newspaper in a small Oklahoma town. I had to answer no, no, and no to those questions (although I did once work as a newspaper columnist, but it was at a paper in a small town in Texas, not Oklahoma). Still, I have to admit that I'm intrigued by the notion of a biker/reporter named James Reasoner roaring around Oklahoma, solving mysteries and fighting crime and such. If you're out there, buddy, drop me an email.


Chris said...

Any chance of finding out what the new books are or is mum the word as usual? When you have to be quiet about the ghost books does it bother you that your fans may be missing out? I'm sure it does but the contracts feed the family. Love the blog and always look forward to the updates. Thanks.

James Reasoner said...

Yes, it does bother me sometimes when I'm writing and I can't tell people what I'm working on. I'll drop hints about house-name books, but things that I ghost under the names of other authors I have to be pretty careful about. For years my standard answer was "I don't care what name is on the book as long as my name is on the check", but the older I get the harder that attitude is to maintain. Luckily I've had quite a few things published under my name in recent years, so that helps.

Juri said...

I'd like to know for sure when something you've written is translated here in Finland! :)

erin said...

Hi, you might want to check out Lost Light. It is for me the best post-The Poet MC book