My Accomplice(s) – Michael Connelly & Graham Greene by Max Manning

Max Manning, author of NOW YOU SEE picks his two accomplices - Michael Connelly and Graham Greene.

Posted on November 2, 2017 in Guest Author, My Accomplice

The first name that came to mind when asked to pick a crime writing inspiration was Michael Connelly. In my opinion, the creator of Detective Harry Bosch has come as close as possible to writing the perfect crime fiction series.

Happy with my first thought, I was about to plump for Connelly, when another name surfaced; an author from another era, but a writer so powerful he couldn’t be denied. In the end, I decided that two accomplices were better than one.

Both writers were journalists before they became novelists. Connelly worked the crime beat as a reporter in California in the 1980s, ending up in Los Angeles where his Bosch novels are set. My other accomplice joined The Times in London as a sub-editor in 1926, leaving in 1930 to make a living as a writer.

Connelly’s years as a reporter allowed him to witness at close quarters the way the police investigated crimes, how criminals operated, and gave him insight into the way people reacted when faced with violence. His journalistic background is reflected in his writing, including his avoidance of excessively-ornate prose.

The Harry Bosch novels and Connelly’s standalone crime thrillers are beautifully layered. They are not only about the crime, or the twist, or the setting. They dig deep into how people feel when they are touched by the dark side of humanity. Bosch is a classic, but far from cliched, troubled cop, an anti-authoritarian father obsessed with balancing the scales of justice.

My other accomplice, Graham Greene, is regarded by many as one of the great writers of the 20th Century. His less literary works, such as Stamboul Train, The Ministry of Fear and A Gun For Sale would be classed as thrillers. He preferred to call them his entertainments.

Like Connelly, Greene had an unflinching eye for detail and his lean, realistic prose is easy to read, while creating a constant air of menace. His books are the only ones I return to over and over again.

Crime novels need great openings. The first line of Greene’s Brighton Rock, must be one of the best. ‘Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him’.

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