The LAT scribe-turned-successful novelist was the subject of a Bruce Weber profile in Sunday's New York Times magazine. The piece opened with Connelly sitting with a bunch of LAPD homicide cops who shared the details and curiosities of cold cases.
Connelly, 47, listens with gratitude and amazement; he isn't used to this kind of openness...."I can't tell you how many times I'd approach a guy and introduce myself, say I'm Mike Connelly from The L.A. Times, and he'd say, 'Good for you,' and turn away,'' he says.
To inform those without a weakness for detective stories, Michael Connelly is the emerging star of the genre. He routinely sells about 300,000 copies of his books in hardcover and about a million more in paperback. While that doesn't approach the really heavy hitters like John Grisham, whose legal thrillers sell upward of two million hardcovers, Connelly is an avowed favorite of critics and other mystery novelists, who give him credit for elevating, if not transcending, the genre. He has been called the natural heir of the Los Angeles crime family, which begins with Raymond Chandler and descends through the likes of Ross MacDonald, Joseph Wambaugh and James Ellroy. And others have been more complimentary than that.
''In the old mystery tradition, in which a crime is committed at the beginning and solved in the end,'' says George Pelecanos, whose 10th book, ''Hard Revolution,'' was just published, ''he's the best mystery writer in the world, I think.''
The piece reveals LAPD chief Bill Bratton to be a Connelly fan. There's also a good review of his latest, The Narrows, in the NYT Book Review (he got an earlier Janet Maslin rave review). Connelly was in town last week doing media and bookstore signings with fellow L.A.-themed mystery writer Terrill Lee Lankford, who is newly linked on the left. They are off to Northern California this week.