A big fan of Michael Connelly—and his fictional crew, Harry Bosch and “Lincoln Lawyer” Mickey Haller—I was eager to study his selection of “ Books that Changed My Life” on Audible.com. Connelly is one of more than 50 authors from whom Audible has gathered this information—everyone from Philippa Gregory to James Patterson to another of my favorites, Alan Furst. The authors were asked to name the smallish number of books, generally two to four, that fit the life-changing rubric.
Connelly’s picks are Neely Tucker’s first novel, The Ways of the Dead, because of the way that, despite the fast-moving Washington D.C.-based story, Tucker “always takes the time for wry observation of the humanity of the streets.” Washington Post review here. He also singled out Alafair Burke’s All Day and a Night (New York Journal of Books review here). For both of these choices, one of Connelly’s main criteria was how well the authors conveyed a sense of their cities, for example, saying Tucker “knows the turf inside and out.” Much like Bosch and Haller know Los Angeles, I’d say.
His third selection is Michael Koryta’s Those Who Wish Me Dead (NPR review here)—“full of surprises,” Connelly says. The funny thing about these three choices is that they were all published last June. Either Connelly has an attention span similar to mine, or June was a epochal month for him. At least, he seems to have a different definition of “life-changing” than Audible’s mavens intended.
As it happens, Koryta is another author asked for life-changers, and his picks are Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (“rhythm and word choice”), King’s The Shining (“a clinic in suspense”), and Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, with its “peerless prose,” which in the audio version is narrated by Brad Pitt. The three novels are All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing (my *****review), and Cities of the Plains.
As a postscript, I note the perennial difficulty of finding a review of the one book written by a woman, an issue that helped launch a great organization, Sisters in Crime.