When he isn’t writing novels, Connelly is the executive producer of Bosch, the Amazon Prime Original series starring Titus Welliver. He is also the creator and host of the brand-new true crime podcast, Murder Book.
It should come as no surprise that Connelly has excellent taste in crime fiction, so we’re thrilled to share what he told us about his five favorite mysteries and thrillers of all time.
I have to go with this as my top choice because this was the book that really inspired me to want to be a writer of crime fiction. It perfectly integrates character and city. Marlowe is Los Angeles and Los Angeles in Marlowe. Chapter 11 is a classic piece of prose in which Chandler uses the crime novel to say what he feels about the city and society. It’s perfect.
I know what you’re thinking, that this is on the wrong list. This is the great American novel, not a mystery or a thriller. But I beg to differ. To me it is mystery with a message, perhaps the best legal thriller ever. It, of course, is a study in courage and social reflection on race and justice, but it also pushed me to the edge of my seat when I read it the first time about 50 years ago, and every time since.
This book to me is the classic police novel. It has a through story about a crime and investigation but it is so layered and so full of what it means to take on the job of law enforcement. I think it could only have been written by an author who had spent time on the police beat.
I have to go back to Chandler again because he’s the master. I almost put a Ross Macdonald book here but at the last minute went this Chandler. This is probably his most accomplished novel. I read it after seeing the movie. Loved both and soon I was on the road to writing about L.A.
I think this is possibly the most influential crime novel in the last 40 years. It is totally absorbing and thrilling and it brought all the advancements of technology, psychology and law enforcement into play in a masterfully constructed story. All of that and throw in one of the greatest literary villains and a damn good hero and you have one of the best books of any kind.