We live in a day and age where DVD extras are sometimes twice as long as the movie itself. This is how Crime Beat: A Decade Of Covering Cops And Killers feels to me – a behind-the-scenes look at the inspirations of bestselling author Michael Connelly. If you’ve ever read any of Connelly’s novels, you will know that he is a master storytelling craftsman. They are always well written, well plotted, and very entertaining. This latest release from Connelly is a look at his career prior to being a novelist.
With a thirteen-page introduction (plus footnotes along the way to keep us up to date with the outcomes some fifteen to twenty years later) Crime Beat is a collection of articles from Michael Connelly’s days as a beat writer for the Los Angeles Times and the South Florida Sun Sentinel. This nonfiction outing is broken up into three parts: “The Cops,” “The Killers,” and “The Cases.” Though the book is a bit redundant, longtime Connelly fans might find it interesting to see the real-life inspirations for his novels. There are good moments in each section of the book. One of the most interesting to me was the case that ultimately became 1998’s Trunk Music, a novel featuring Connelly’s best known character, L.A. Detective Harry Bosch.
The book covers a wide range between the three sections. But it’s Connelly’s ability to show the human emotion that makes certain stories shine more than others. Overall, Crime Beat is a decent read that is an exploration of Connelly’s muse for writing the suspenseful mysteries that he does.