Saturday 22 November 2014

Bish, bash, Bosch! Connelly's LA cop hits the big time

Published 25/11/2012 | 06:00

With more than 45 million copies of his books in print and translated into 39 languages, Michael Connelly is one of America's most successful mystery writers.

The Black Box is the 19th thriller to feature his most enduring and critically successful character, the oddly named and prickly LAPD detective Hieronymous 'Harry' Bosch – yet the curious fact is that Bosch has not yet made it to the silver screen.

Two other Connelly characters have, Terry McCaleb in Clint Eastwood's Blood Work in 2002, and Mickey Haller, played by Matthew McConaughey, in last year's hugely successful The Lincoln Lawyer.

But that may be about to change. Twenty years ago, shortly after the publication of his first novel, The Black Echo, Connelly sold the film rights for it to Paramount Studios. Unfortunately, he also sold them the rights to the Harry Bosch name. For two decades Paramount sat on the project until an exasperated Connelly last year spent $3m of his own money buying back Bosch.

The news in Hollywood is that Connelly is now in talks with successful TV writer Eric Overmeyer, whose credits include Law & Order, Treme and The Wire, to bring Harry Bosch to television, where Connelly believes the best drama is currently being produced.

In The Black Box Harry Bosch, now working in the LAPD's Open Unsolved Unit and within two years of retirement, finds that a bullet from a recent crime brings him back to a case he investigated 20 years ago.

In May 1992, after four LAPD officers were acquitted after the savage beating of Rodney King, Los Angeles was in flames. Looting and violence had taken over the city and law and order were swept away in a tsunami of violence.

Despite the threat to their lives, homicide detectives like Bosch were still stubbornly trying to do their jobs. Escorted from crime scene to crime scene by National Guard troops, Harry and his colleagues were only able to do the bare minimum in terms of collecting evidence.

For Harry that was and never has been enough, and one unsolved case in particular from those fraught days, that of a young female journalist from Denmark executed with a single gunshot in a seedy back alley, had always haunted him.

When he matches the markings on the bullet that killed Anneke Jesperen two decades ago with a slug from a current killing, it raises very awkward questions about where the gun has been since then, and as the past comes crashing back into the present it brings real danger to him and his family as he realises that some of his superiors would prefer to have him silenced than to see justice done.

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