Sunday, November 18, 2007

Addicted....addicted, I say...

Yeah. It's happened again.

I found a new author.

Well, not new, but new to me.

Back in July I was in the grocery store and happened to steer up the aisle where the books are kept. I usually don't even bother, because they usually have a lousy selection. If there are five books that look interesting, it's a good day...and I've ordinarily read all five of them.

But on that day, I saw a book called Echo Park, by Michael Connelly. I'd heard of him, vaguely, and I knew that Echo Park is a section of Los Angeles, and having grown up in Southern California, I adore books that take place there. So I picked the book up and took it home.

Well, I bought it, but you know...

Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. And once I was done with it, I had to find more of the adventures of Hieronymous (Harry) Bosch, LAPD detective. I picked up the first book in the series, The Black Echo, and it was wonderful as well. The next one I was able to find (while I've been advised that it is better to read this series in order, I've been reading them as I can find them) was The Closers, which happened to take place in parts of L.A. County that I am very familiar with. Connelly even got the street names right. If I hadn't been hooked already, that would have done it.

So, now I've read nine of the thirteen Harry Bosch mysteries and I'm in the middle of another. Well, two more...but that's a weird story. One night I was in bed reading The Black Ice and happened upon a specific reference to the cemetery in which my father and much of his side of the family are buried. Kind of freaked me out. I had to put that book down and haven't managed to finish it yet. But I will.

I haven't devoured a mystery series in big gulps this way since I discovered Travis McGee in the late 1970s. By the time I had found my way to John D. MacDonald's knight errant, all but three of the books in that series were already in print. I likely would have done the same with Faye Kellerman's Rina Lazarus/Peter Decker mysteries when I discovered them, but I think there were only two or three of them in print when I happened on The Ritual Bath at the library.

Even in my preferred genre, science fiction/fantasy, I've only rarely been driven to search out all the books in a series immediately a few times. I read the first two Thomas Covenant trilogies, by Stephen R. Donaldson (which were all that existed then), one after the other in the space of about a month when I first discovered them. And I was entranced by Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality and Bio of a Space Tyrant series when I found them (even though I thought that the last couple of the Incarnations of Immortality books weren't quite up to the quality of the earlier volumes). After I came upon the first volume of Kage Baker's Company series, In the Garden of Iden, I pestered the library ladies until I got hold of all of those, even to the point of insisting that the library system order one of the volumes when it turned out they didn't have it in their holdings. To my surprise, they actually added it to the collection. There have been other sff series that I've read in their entirety, but in a much more leisurely fashion.

Which is a really long way around of saying that I've been spending my free time (what free time?) lately reading rather than blogging.

And also a long way of saying, if you like mystery novels and haven't read Michael Connelly, you really should make his acquaintance. that you've read this...Go. Read. A. Book.

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