Tuesday, January 23, 2018


by Rick Blechta

My wife and I have been enjoying the Bosch series on Amazon. I’ve read pretty well all Michael Connelly’s Bosch novels over the years and enjoyed most of them immensely. Being a former LA Times crime reporter, his prose has real immediacy. Or would it be better to use the word “impact” to describe Michael’s prose style?

If you haven’t read any Connelly, his prose is rather sparse. With only bare bones description — just enough to set a scene — a lot is left to the reader’s “mind’s eye” to flesh things out but because he’s writing about Los Angeles and the surrounding area most of the time and we’re all familiar with that from a myriad of TV shows set in that city, this is no great handicap.

His dialogue is crisp and again pretty sparse. He’s certainly got the cop lingo down, even in his earlier books. I would guess this is a result from being a crime reporter. I also never get the feeling he’s showing off how much he knows. All those “cop details” come out in asides or they’re organically woven into the plot. I know for a fact how tough that is to do!

Anyway, getting back to the Amazon series, I’m finding it really quite superb. The cast is well-chosen — especially Titus Welliver as the title character — and more than get the job done. Production design is excellent and the writing uniformly terrific.

What’s interesting about that is numerous screenwriters have been employed — Connelly among them. You’d expect a dog’s breakfast of styles and colliding interpretations of characterization. None of that happens which is really quite surprising. If I hadn’t noticed the screenwriting credits, I never would have suspected that most of the episodes have different writers.

But the real takeaway from watching these episodes — we’re halfway through the second season — is the fact that I find myself constantly thinking about what I’ve seen. I’m not talking about mentally rehashing the most recently watched episode, either. Before sitting down to write this post, a couple of things that happened back in series one was going through my feeble brain.

To me, that’s the gold standard of impact. We’ve all read books or seen movies or plays that have stuck with us for a long time. What is it about those that causes them to stick with us? Why do these have such an impact?

The really interesting thing is that Bosch is having the same effect on my wife, so it’s not just me and my likes and dislikes that is causing a reaction. To be fair, she also enjoys reading Connelly, but I think something else is at work past that.

One last thing, Bosch is not retellings of the Bosch novels. Yes, they freely use characters and  situations but combine several books in each series to create something wholly new. I don’t believe I’ve seen that done to such an extent before.

But at the end of the day I’m left with this: How the heck can I accomplish this in my own writing?

Okay, Type M readers, if you’ve watched Bosch, what did you think of it? Am I correct about its impact?


Sybil Johnson said...

Absolutely love the Bosch series on Amazon. I freely admit that I have never read any of the Connelly books, though the husband has. We both enjoy the Amazon show very much. And it's making me want to read Connelly, though I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Rick Blechta said...


I can't recommend Connelly enough. My favourite of the Bosch books is The Concrete Blonde. He had me hooked with just the title, but the novel delivers big.

Sybil Johnson said...

That is a great title. I'll look for it if I ever finish the book I'm writing!

Marianne Wheelaghan said...

I am a fan of the Bosch Amazon series now - very clever screen plays and great acting. The Concrete Blond is a fantastic title. I feel a visit to the library coming on!

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

I'm a fan of both Michael Connelly's books and the Bosch series. I agree, Titus Welliver is terrific. I've even hooked my husband on both the books and the TV show. That makes life easier, doesn't it?

Rick Blechta said...

Here's a curious thing I've noted about the Bosch series, every time Harry is standing on his deck looking out over LA during the daytime, you can hear a helicopter overhead. I wonder why they're doing that? Surely there can't be that many helicopters flying around LA!

Anyone else notice this?