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Author Michael Connelly juggles new novel, TV pilot

Michael Connelly is shown at a Tampa book signing after The Lincoln Lawyer movie came out.
Published Nov. 27, 2013

When I spoke to author Michael Connelly by phone from Los Angeles recently, he was on "Day 10 of 13 days" of shooting the pilot for Bosch, a new television series for Amazon Prime based on his novels about L.A. homicide detective Harry Bosch, played by Titus Welliver.

"It's going really well," Connelly said, "but it's kind of weird. I'm used to long writing days, but these days are all 14 hours, and a lot of it is watching paint dry."

Connelly has a home in Tampa, but as soon as the shoot was finished, he would be embarking on a book tour for The Gods of Guilt, his latest thriller about Bosch's half-brother, criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller, that would take him to the United Kingdom and across the United States. "We finish shooting at dawn next Thursday, a shot of Harry welcoming the dawn. Then I have an 11:30 a.m. flight to England."

The Gods of Guilt is your fifth novel about Mickey Haller, who debuted in The Lincoln Lawyer, and he seems to have become less brash, more thoughtful and mature. Is that something you planned from the beginning?

I wouldn't say at the beginning I thought to myself, I'm going to make this character deeper. But if you have the desire to keep a character going, keep writing about him, you have to add layers and make him more complex. Having written a few books about him, you start learning what's important to him.

How is Haller affected by his estrangement in this book from his daughter, Hayley, who has cut him out of her life because a client he defended on a DUI charge later killed her friend and the friend's mother in a drunk driving accident?

I was focusing on his daughter, even though she's not really on the page. We just see her at a distance, in a few pictures and texts. She really is a controlling factor in everything that happens.

Before this, Mickey was like a great white shark. He could move forward and not feel much conscience. Losing his daughter changed that. He did his job and did it well and got somebody out of trouble, and they went out and killed some people. If Mickey didn't have a family, he might have just moved on. But his daughter couldn't shake it off.

Are there any plans for another movie about Haller after the success of the movie The Lincoln Lawyer?

The movie people want to make a sequel. Hopefully all the stars will align. They gave this book to John Romano, the screenwriter for The Lincoln Lawyer, and he really likes it.

Of course, the trick would be getting Matthew McConaughey again. He has said he'd like to put Mickey's shoes back on. I think the resuscitation of his career started with The Lincoln Lawyer, and I think he realizes that.

Will you be making any appearances for The Gods of Guilt in the Tampa Bay area?

Hopefully. I've been so jealous of my time with the TV program. But maybe early next year I'll do something.

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