I can’t say I immediately fell in love with HBO’s Harry Bosch. The man looked like a bullet and it took me time to warm up to him. And then one day Bosch was talking to someone, possibly his daughter, and he said, “Closure is a myth,” and from that moment I was hooked. I thought, this is a man of some good sense. Then I went and started reading the Bosch books from the beginning, and now I’m hooked. Here are three things I’ve learned.
- Flaws make a character interesting. Harry Bosch is a mess of flaws. He has issues with authority. He has trouble with intimacy. He’s a violent man. But what I like about him is that he is trying to come to grips with it all. He understands he’s flawed. He wants to resolve it. Some of my favorite scenes in The Last Coyote are when he talks to a psychiatrist. That poor woman has to work so hard to earn his trust, but you can see why she comes to like him. He’s earned his flaws, if that makes sense.
2. Connelly isn’t afraid to throw obstacles in Bosch’s path. Such as the fact that his mother was a prostitute. And she was murdered. That’s a problem, and it’s a lot for Bosch to grapple with. In a lot of ways he is defined by his mother. But it’s also so compelling. It reminds me not to hold back. (I don’t even want to tell you what Maggie Dove is dealing with in the third book.)
3. He makes great use of setting. The novels are set in Los Angeles, and Connelly knows it down to the street. When Bosch goes for a drive, he observes everything. as in the opening paragraph of Trunk Music. “As he drove along Mulholand Drive toward the Cahuenga Pass, Bosch began to hear the music. It came to him in fragments of strings and errant horn sequences, echoing off the brown summer-dried hills and blurred by the white noise of traffic carrying up from the Hollywood Freeway.”