"I can write wherever I'm at," Michael Connelly says, "but I get my best groove in my home in Tampa."
Speaking by phone from Los Angeles recently, Connelly was on his way back to Tampa, not only to finish his new novel, The Late Show — one of two he'll publish this year — but to appear at a screening on Feb. 19 of The Lincoln Lawyer, based on his 2005 book, at Tampa Theatre.
The internationally bestselling author is a busy man these days. In addition to writing two novels this year instead of his usual one, he's deeply involved in the early stages of Season 4 of Bosch, the Amazon TV series based on his 19 novels about Los Angeles police detective Harry Bosch, with its third season set to drop on April 21. He's seeing the DVD release on Feb. 28 of Sound of Redemption, a documentary about jazz saxophonist Frank Morgan that he produced.
And he's hosting The Lincoln Lawyer. The 2011 movie, starring Matthew McConaughey as the title character, LA. lawyer Mickey Haller, "still holds up," Connelly says. He's hosting the showing, part of the theater's "Bestsellers on the Big Screen" series, because a neighbor who is on its board asked him to and, he says, "I love Tampa Theatre."
The Q&A afterward will be a "grand reunion" with local lawyers Dan Daly and Roger Mills, who were among his main sources for Haller's character.
The Lincoln Lawyer was the first book in a series of five novels (so far) about Haller, who is Harry Bosch's half brother. The Late Show, to be published in July, will be Connelly's first new series since then. "It's a new character. It's been a really cool writing experience."
That new character is Renée Ballard, an LAPD detective who has been demoted to the night shift in Hollywood after filing sexual harassment charges against a supervisor.
"She works the midnight shift, not always with a partner," Connelly says. "I like the loner detective, male or female. I like following them from case to case. It's a great way of adding dimension to a new character."
Will Bosch, now retired from the LAPD, show up in Ballard's world? "So far, I would say no. She knows of him, but he's out of the department, and she's much younger. She knows about the TV show."
That would be Bosch, the successful Amazon TV series starring Titus Welliver as Connelly's original loner detective. To ensure its accuracy and keep it true to the books, it's filmed on location, mostly in Los Angeles. "We try to use as many real cops as we can," Connelly says, in the background and as consultants.
One episode in the upcoming Season 3 involves a sniper attack and rescue. He says, "We used the real LAPD intrusion team, their real methods and protocols. That way we get all the little details, like when they park their vehicles, they take the extra bulletproof vests and hang them over the windows. We wouldn't have thought of that. It gives us that higher value of accuracy."
One of the police consultants on the show, an LAPD cold-case detective named Mitzi Roberts, was one of Connelly's inspirations for Ballard. "I'm using some of her experiences as a woman in a male-dominated world, a male-dominated profession, trying to capture that."
Connelly says he expects to finish writing The Late Show in about a month. He'll then turn to working on Season 4 of Bosch — and writing the next Bosch novel.
"I haven't written one page of it," he says, nor does it have a title, but he's confident of making the November publication date. "It will be a continuation of him working as a volunteer for the San Fernando Police Department on cold cases," as he did in Connelly's 2016 novel, The Wrong Side of Goodbye.
"I came up with this idea (for The Late Show) and said, well, I could do two books this year, and my publisher jumped on it.
"In terms of the TV show, it will never be on autopilot, but I have people I trust. So I'll do it this year, but not every year."
Contact Colette Bancroft at [email protected] or (727) 893-8435. Follow @colettemb.