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Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers Hardcover – 8 May 2006

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More About the Author

A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connelly is the author of Harry Bosch thriller series as well as several stand-alone bestsellers, including the highly acclaimed legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer, selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club.
Michael Connelly has been President of the Mystery Writers of America. His books have been translated into 31 languages and have won awards all over the world, including the Edgar and Anthony Awards.
He lives in Tampa, Florida, with his family.

Here are the Harry Bosch novels in series order:

The Black Echo
The Black Ice
The Concrete Blonde
The Last Coyote
Trunk Music
Angels Flight
A Darkness More Than Night
City of Bones
Lost Light
The Narrows
The Closers
Echo Park
The Overlook
The Brass Verdict
Nine Dragons

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About the Author

Michael Connelly is a former journalist and has won every major prize for crime fiction. He lives in Florida. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 104 reviews
59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
The introduction was great but... 26 May 2006
By M&M - Published on
Format: Hardcover was all down hill from there. I bought this book thinking that Connelly was writing about crimes he had covered. That sounded interesting. Instead it appears to be just a reprint of old columns he wrote about various crimes. For each crime, there's a series of stand-alone articles and as a result there's lots of repetition of information from one to the next. I got bored and gave up on it after about 60 pages. It could have been very good if only Connelly had taken the info from each crime and reworked it into one story for each incident.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
"It all comes down to moments." 25 May 2006
By E. Bukowsky - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Michael Connelly's "Crime Beat" is a compilation of previously published newspaper articles that appeared in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel from 1984-1987 and in the Los Angeles Times from 1987-1992. In his introduction Connelly explains, "My experiences with cops and killers were invaluable to me as a novelist." Readers beware! This is not a Harry Bosch novel, nor is it a stand-alone thriller. The book is divided into three sections: the cops, the killers, and the cases. Each chapter is a look at how Connelly the reporter views a crime and its aftermath.

The valid question that some reviewers have posed is: Why should we be interested in true crimes from the eighties and early nineties? After all, Connelly's fans buy his books because they love his delineation of fictional characters, his thoughtful exploration of what makes a homicide detective's life so harrowing, and his intriguing story lines. This book provides a different kind of pleasure: a glimpse at how a good reporter parlayed his considerable talent into successful fiction-writing. In "Crime Beat," Connelly describes misdeeds both horrifying and banal, criminals who are drug-addicted, delusional, or sociopathic, and victims who are sometimes innocent and occasionally just plain foolish.

For example, there is an eye-opening account of criminals who flee to Mexico to avoid standing trial in the United States. Connelly introduces us to two detectives who help Mexican authorities find and prosecute fugitives from American justice. Some civil libertarians believe that it is unfair to subject suspects who commit a crime on American soil to the Mexican justice system, which offers fewer protections to the defendant. However, the "foreign prosecution unit" has successfully survived all legal challenges, and authorities in both Mexico and the United States are satisfied with the unit's performance.

In other chapters, Connelly depicts a wide assortment of miscreants: rogue cops, a serial killer, a brazen bigamist, an inept gang of contract killers, and a vicious twenty-one year old man who butchered his own father. Not all of the cases are closed. Some remain open-unsolved until this day, and the reader's heart goes out to some victims' families who do not even have a body to bury.

Connelly has a gift for understanding and interpreting the criminal mind. He also has empathy for the harried, overworked, and often frustrated detectives whose tedious job it is to run down every lead. Cops love it when a suspect jumps out at them right away; however, perpetrators rarely confess immediately. Usually, detectives must work long hours conducting endless interviews, working the phones, checking computer databases, and following dozens of tips before they are ready to make an arrest. In clear, crisp prose, the author provides not only the bare facts, but he also clarifies the legal aspects of each case and gives the reader insight into the personalities involved.

My one quibble with "Crime Beat" is its excessive length. At a bit under four hundred pages, the book eventually becomes repetitious; there is considerable fat that could have been trimmed. Still, Connelly effectively shows how his keen powers of observation, fluid prose style, dark sense of humor, and understanding of what makes people tick has enabled him to make such a smooth transition from reporting to writing superb thrillers.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing... 18 Aug 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Meh. I was hoping for more in a book of true crime by a well-reviewed mystery author, but this is just an uneditted collection of Connelly's crime-related newspaper stories from his journalist days of the 1980s and early 1990s. The stories are almost all straight newspaper stories, with all the negatives that implies--little nuance, straight facts, lots of repetitions over a series of stories about the same crime. I was hoping for something more like Ann Rule's "Crime Files" books--yes, reprints, but with some perspective and rewriting. A few of the stories were more interesting, in particular "The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight", which is a longer article telling the story of an almost comically inept gang of hitman-wannabes, who unfortunately succeeded in killing a couple of their targets. This story must have been a Sunday feature or magazine article because it had more development and room to breathe without all the repetition of background details.

Okay, but I expected more from someone with Connelly's reputation.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Know what you are buying 6 Oct 2011
By Robert North - Published on
I'm going to be a contrarian voice for those who have slammed this book.

Know what you're buying: These are reprints of Michael's newspaper articles. That means they are written for newspapers and have already been published. If that doesn't interest you, then don't buy it.

That being said, as a fan of his and a corporate writer as well (and thus interested in the man and methods behind the curtain), I found it really interesting to read some of these items and begin to see how the subjects he covered, in some cases, became material in his books. As an added bonus, some of these reiterate the notion that truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

For me, I like to think of this almost as a sort of companion to his DVD Blue Neon Night and his brief bios of Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch. Though they exist on the periphery of his creative work, they provide texture and context to that work and his relationship with place, in this case LA.

Is this work as creatively strong as his books? Of course not. They were written for a different media that operated in a different scope. Don't buy it thinking you're getting great creative production. But "Crime Beat" can be very fascinating and made for a good read on a vacation.

If you're a fan who is interested in more of the fabric from which Connelly's books emerges, then I recommend "Crime Beat." Just know what you're buying.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Lesson in Writing ... 31 May 2006
By Edin Beaulieu - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is like a Master Class for potential crime authors. In fact, for all authors.

What Mr. Connelly does here is show you how he sought "hooks" when covering the Crime Beat in LA and Florida -- angles that made his stories seem alive and human. From the chewed eyeglass frames of his over-worked and near burned-out Detective to the mother of a missing woman who sadly says she cant get her daughter "past the gas station" where she was last seen, Mr. Connelly shows you how he takes the inhumanity of murder and makes it human, bringing it down to a common denominator that shows it can happen to any of us any time.

His insight never wavers when writing about mass murderers who criss-cross the country claiming victims along the way or helping us understand how the Rodney King incident opened a can of worms for every defense attorney in LA to harvest and turn against the very people defending the city.

Then, Mr. Connelly shows you how he takes bits and pieces of these real life incidents and flawlessly weaves them into first class works of fiction. This book is sure to help any aspiring writer to become a better writer. As one of those writers, I have nothing but gratitude. Thanks, Michael.
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