Writing crime: Fla. to L.A.
Novelist and former News-Journal reporter Michael Connelly never forgets a mystery
By LAURA STEWART
Fine Arts Writer
At his first job, former Daytona Beach News-Journal reporter Michael Connelly covered only one major crime. But it was enough to spark the interest of the 1980 journalism graduate from the University of Florida, who for a year was half of the N-J's Deltona bureau.
"Deltona wasn't a hotbed of crime, but the murder qualified as a real whodunit, and later was solved as the work of (serial killer Gerald) Stano," said the Philadelphia native who grew up in South Florida.
Connelly, 50, moved on to the police beat at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and then the Los Angeles Times, writing thrillers about Harry Bosch and others.
He moved back to Florida about four years ago to be near family, and now lives in the Tampa area.
Connelly's latest novel, "Echo Park," which was released in October, is still a New York Times best-seller.
Q. How did you become interested in crime fiction?
I read all the Hardy Boy books and was reading mysteries because my mom read mysteries. I wanted to write like Raymond Chandler, who also got me interested in Los Angeles -- I never went there until I started working for the Times. And then, when I was about 16, I was a witness to a crime. I saw a man with a gun and spent the night in the police station, looking at lineups and getting involved.