Michael Connelly will soon be going around the world with The Night Fire, his 21st novel about Los Angeles investigator Harry Bosch and the second to team him with LAPD Detective Renée Ballard. The tour for this book, which will be published Tuesday, will take Connelly all the way to Australia and New Zealand — par for the course for an author who has sold more than 74 million books worldwide, translated into 40 languages.
The Bosch books have been turned into a TV series starring Titus Welliver as the detective. Bosch, now in its fifth season, is the longest-running drama on Amazon Prime. The author has been hands-on in its production, which keeps him shuttling between homes in Los Angeles and Tampa.
RELATED: Read a review of The Night Fire.
Connelly, 63, was in Tampa on Oct. 10 to accept a lifetime achievement award from Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts at a gala at Armature Works. We caught up with him a few days later by phone from Los Angeles, where he was back at work on Season 6 of Bosch.
What’s happening with Bosch?
We’re using (material from) The Overlook and Dark Sacred Night for Season 6. Right now we’re filming Episode 7 of 10. (Season 6) will probably be out in April; they haven’t picked a date yet. We haven’t heard yet about (renewal for) Season 7, but it’s a little early for that.
I wrote Episode 10 for this season. It’s interesting. I had kind of pulled back to just being someone who oversees and suggests. But for various reasons they asked me to write this one. It’s so different from writing books, so I do have fun. It’s an economy of words, so I can write it faster than I write probably even a chapter of a book.
Your next book will return to a character readers haven’t seen for a while.
Yeah, Jack McEvoy (the newspaper reporter who was the main character in his novels The Poet and The Scarecrow). It seems like about every 10 years I pull Jack out and take a look at the status of the media, the newspaper business, journalism in general. There’s a lot going on in this era of “fake news.” Being a former journalist myself, I like to have a venue to make observations about that.
He’s in a different spot, a different world. Now he works for an online investigative site, based on one I’m kind of involved with. It’s called Fair Warning. The stories are about consumer protection and so forth. It was started by a friend of mine who was a consumer reporter at the Los Angeles Times. He took a buyout and started the site. I’m on the board of directors, so it’s kind of a weird melding of real and fictional. That will be out in May. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a title yet. I’m hoping in the next few weeks one comes to me.
Tell us about your second 2020 novel, which is connected to the upcoming second TV series based on your books.
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Mickey Haller hasn’t had his own book for quite a while. He’s showed up in some of Bosch’s books, but he hasn’t had his own. It will come out in the fall and will probably coincide with the CBS show (The Lincoln Lawyer, based on Connelly’s books about a Los Angeles defense lawyer).
Will you be as involved in this as you are in Bosch?
No, I’m not too involved because I trust the people doing it. You know, David E. Kelley (who has made Big Little Lies, Boston Legal and Ally McBeal, among other shows). He was already familiar with the books. When CBS ordered 13 episodes, he went off and re-read the books.
Has the series been cast? It seems unlikely that Matthew McConaughey would reprise his role from The Lincoln Lawyer movie as Haller.
No, we’re far away from (casting). I think David Kelley wants to be a little more literal to the books. I know everyone thinks McConaughey is Haller. But in the books, he’s half Latino; his mother is Mexican. I think Kelley is interested in that.
Are there plans for a second season of your recently completed Murder Book true-crime podcast?
We’re trying to decide what to do next. Mitzi (Roberts, an LAPD detective who is a consultant on Bosch and the inspiration for the character Renée Ballard) was the one who first arrested Sam Little for three murders in Los Angeles. (Little is now believed to be the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history, with more than 90 possible killings.)
It was a real cat-and-mouse game. At one point she came to Tampa looking for him. I took her and her partner to Bern’s. I’d love to tell that story.