In his latest book "Nine Dragons," author Michael Connelly sends his signature character Harry Bosch to Hong Kong to hunt for his own missing daughter. Now, in a piece posted today at CNN.com, Connelly explains that shooting video on his last research trip to Hong Kong led to his involvement in a real-life mystery about the disappearance of a young Canadian woman who was visiting there. Some details creepily mirror those in his book.
Ani Ashekian was a veteran traveler who enjoyed solo journeys from Toronto, Canada. She came to Hong Kong after visiting mainland China and stayed in a hotel at the Chungking Mansions. In Nine Dragons, Bosch's daughter is only 13 and a whole different set of circumstances take her to the same building.
But the crossroads of fiction and reality still leaves a pit in my stomach. Nobody really gets hurt or vanishes for good in fiction. But it's been almost a year now and nobody has heard from Ani. Her passport and credit cards have not been used. The very last sighting of her is on November 10 on an ATM camera in Causeway Bay across the harbor from Kowloon. The very last communication is a text she sent to her niece in Toronto on the same day. She offered Happy Birthday wishes.
YouTube plays a role in Connelly becoming aware of Ani, and the hundreds of faces appearing in Connelly's video have been scrutinized for clues. More in his piece and at the website findani.com.
Previously at LA Observed: LAO inspires a twist in Connelly book