Michael Joseph Connelly is an American author from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He specializes in detective novels and crime fiction and is most well known for his series of books that feature LAPD detective Harry Bosch as the lead character.
Connelley began his career in writing as a crime-beat writer after graduating from the University of Florida in journalism and creative writing. He reported on various crimes, including the Florida cocaine wars.
It was his work interviewing survivors of a plane crash that won him a Pulitzer Prize and got him a job as a crime reporter at the Los Angeles Times. Connelly moved to California, and three years later published his first novel – The Black Echo.
This award-winning debut novel kick-started his career as an author, and after writing and publishing two more books he decided to pursue creative writing as his full-time career. He has now published a total of 31 novels and one work of nonfiction.
His books have sold over 74 million copies and have been translated into 40 different languages. Some of Connelley’s work has been adapted for film and television, including the Harry Bosch book series.
Connelly was credited as a producer on the Amazon television series ‘Bosch’, starring Titus Welliver, which ran for 7 seasons between 2014 and 2021. He is also the producer of the spin-off series, ‘Bosch: Legacy’ which began streaming in 2022.
About The Harry Bosch Book Series
The main character of the book series is Harry Bosch, an LAPD detective. He has a tough start in life – his mother was a prostitute who was murdered when he was 11.
His father was a defense attorney, but Bosch didn’t meet his father until much later in life. He ended up in foster care, then joined the army as soon as he could.
After serving several tours in Vietnam, Bosch is honorably discharged from the military and joins the LAPD. The novels begin when he has reached detective level. He works in the robbery and homicide division and eventually moves into homicide.
Later in the book series, he retires from the LAPD and becomes a private investigator. Bosch is a relentless detective with a strong sense of right and wrong.
His passion for justice often outweighs his respect for authority, which gives him a reputation for being quite confrontational.
The book series takes readers along with Bosch’s life both inside and outside of work – though the lines between them often get blurred. He has ups and downs in his career, various love interests, and personal tragedies.
Michael Connelley takes some inspiration from his personal life when writing the Harry Bosch novels, and not always intentionally. Some of the books feature real-life events such as the Los Angeles riots in 1992 and the terrorist attacks on September 11.
Other storylines are more inspired by Connelley’s personal life – relocating across the country, having children, etc. The books are predominantly told in third person narrative with Bosch being the main focus.
The attention will sometimes switch to other characters to further the story, but the reader learns about most things at the same time that Bosch is discovering them. This creates an interesting pace and a gripping style.
The Harry Bosch Book Series In Order
This is the recommended reading order for the Harry Bosch book series.
This is the first book in the series that introduces you to LAPD detective Harry Bosch. He is a bit of a loner and likes to work the night shift. When a body turns up in a drainage tunnel it looks like an overdose – a simple case.
But Bosch recognizes the victim as someone he served alongside in Vietnam. A fresh puncture wound amid the old scars on the victim’s body suggests that this is more than just an overdose.
Bosch still carries the guilt from the last time he let this man down, so he is determined to find the killer and bring him to justice. His search for the truth will test his survival instincts to the limit once more.
When he comes up against enemies within the LAPD, will he choose justice or vengeance?
- This book is filled with excitement, with an underground criminal heist and a blind maze
- Some of the Vietnam scenes are quite upsetting
Black Ice is a new drug that has made its way into Los Angeles from the Mexican Cartel.
When the body of a missing narcotics officer is discovered in a hotel the police are keen to rule it as a suicide, assuming that they gave into temptation and ended up on the wrong side of the law.
He has a bullet wound in his head and a suicide note in his back pocket – it looks straightforward enough. Harry Bosch doesn’t agree. There are too many facts that don’t add up and too many questions left unanswered.
He follows his gut and begins his own maverick investigation that takes him down a dark path. He uncovers a string of connected murders and must navigate borders, fake identities, and police politics to uncover the truth.
But all this digging around paints a target on his own back – will he solve the case before it is too late?
- This is an exhilarating race against time
- This book is quite long and could have been edited to make it more concise
When Harry Bosch tracked down ‘The Dollmaker’ – a bizarre serial killer – and shot him, he thought the case was closed. 4 years later, the man’s widow is suing Bosch for killing the wrong man.
Nobody believes her until Bosch receives a chilling note that is just like the one he used to get from the Dollmaker himself. Is the killer still at large? Or is this the work of a copycat out to damage Bosch’s career and reputation?
- This is a fast-paced and exciting read
- The twist at the end leaves a lot of questions unanswered
Harry Bosch has a run of bad luck at the start of this book – his house is damaged in an earthquake, his girlfriend leaves him, and he has been suspended for attacking his commanding officer at work.
The suspension is indefinite and he is forced to see a shrink. At first, he doesn’t take the sessions seriously, but then he realizes that there is something playing on his mind. Something he has never talked about before.
Bosch’s mother was murdered when he was 11, and the killer was never found. Harry decides to use his free time during his suspension to open the cold case and see if he can track down his mother’s murderer.
A once-over of the files leads him to suspect a cover-up. As he delves deeper into past events, he realizes that his mother was not the only one.
- This case is very personal for Bosch which makes it more emotive
- The mystery is less gripping and has a slower pace
Harry Bosch is thrown straight in the deep end when he returns from disciplinary leave, with one of his toughest cases yet. A body is found in the trunk of a Rolls Royce, shot twice in the head at close range.
This is a tell-tale sign of a mafia killing called ‘trunk music’ when the target is shot inside their own vehicle. But something doesn’t add up – the victim is a film producer, and the mafia wasn’t his only enemies.
Harry follows the victim’s trail of gambling debts which takes him to Las Vegas, where he runs into an ex-lover. She is able to offer a new perspective on the case, but mixing business with pleasure never ends well.
- This book is well-written and planned out like the rest of the series
- Fans of Bosch’s rogue attitude won’t like that he plays by the rules in this case
When a hotshot lawyer is killed the night before a big trial, Harry finds himself working a case that is outside of the jurisdiction and riddled with complications.
The lawyer was Howard Elias, and his client was Michael Harris, accused of raping and murdering a 12 year old girl. Elias had vowed to expose the real killer during the trial, and bring to justice the racist cops that beat up his client during interrogation.
With a list of suspects made up of LAPD officers, Bosch must figure out which one of his colleagues had the means to murder Elias, as many of them had the motive. But Elias might not be the only victim connected to this case.
- This case is very poignant and deals with issues faced by many Americans
- The pace of the story is slowed down by overcrowded subplots
This is a crossover between Harry Bosch and one of Michael Connelly’s other characters – Terry McCaleb, an FBI agent who was the lead character in the novel Blood Work (also made into a major motion picture starring Clint Eastwood.
A series of ritualistic killings brings Terry out of retirement to investigate. He begrudges swapping his quiet, reclusive life for a gruesome and disturbing case, but there is a homicidal maniac on the loose who must be stopped.
The case becomes even more challenging when Terry’s profile for the killer seems to fit none other than infamous LAPD detective Harry Bosch. Everyone knows that Bosch has a dark side, but is he capable of this?
- Fans will get to meet a new character from a different book series
- Bosch has less of a main role in this story
When the bones of a 12 year old boy are found scattered in the Hollywood hills 20 years after he was killed, Harry Bosch is keen to find the killer. The case is cold and there are limited new leads to follow up, but Bosch is not put off.
He sets to work identifying the boy and piecing together the fragments of his short life. Meanwhile, a budding romance with a fellow officer seems to be going well, until it lands him in hot water with his case.
As the mystery of the murder is uncovered, Bosch is left with a very difficult decision to make.
- This is a quick and gripping read
- Bosch’s love interest character is not very likable
Harry Bosch has retired from the LAPD, but he took one last case with him- a case that was taken off him 4 years earlier by the FBI but never solved.
The body of a production assistant was linked to the theft of two million dollars, which was thought to be used to finance a terrorist training camp.
Bosch can’t get the image of Angela’s crumpled body out of his mind, and he is determined to get to the bottom of her murder and bring her killer to justice.
As Bosch begins his own private investigation, he comes across some familiar faces in the FBI that are not too pleased to see him.
He struggles to make progress without his badge and ends up face-to-face with a powerful and ruthless enemy. Will he be able to take them down without the resources of the LAPD behind him?
- This book touches on important themes like terrorism
- With Bosch not being in the LAPD the book lacks some pace
Harry Bosch is adjusting to his new life in Las Vegas working as a private investigator and raising his daughter. When a friend from the FBI dies, Bosch receives a call from his widow.
Her husband’s death may have been connected to his work trying to track down The Poet, a disturbing serial killer who weaves lines of poetry into his crimes. Harry travels to California to join forces with the FBI as they uncover bodies in the desert.
He meets Rachel, an FBI agent who has her own chilling connection to The Poet. Bosch and Rachel may not have much in common, but they both want to catch The Poet, and they will need to work together.
- Fans get to see Bosh interacting with another new character which keeps the story fresh
- This story is connected to a standalone book published years earlier which some fans might not have read
Harry Bosch returns to the LAPD after working as a private investigator for 3 years. He is assigned to the ‘Open-Unsolved’ unit, the closers of the LAPD who use their experience to spot things other detectives may have overlooked and solve tricky cases.
His first case is a politically charged powder keg – a white supremacist is connected to the murder of a mixed-race girl that happened in 1988.
- Bosch comes across old friends and old enemies as he works this case to its conclusion
- The racial themes may be upsetting for some readers
When a man accused of two murders is willing to confess to more in order to avoid the death penalty, the case becomes much more personal for Bosch.
One of the victims he will confess to murdering is Marie Gesto, a missing person that Bosh investigated 13 years ago and never found. When he re-opens the old case file, he realizes that a mistake he made all those years ago cost innocent lives.
- This is an easy read and is enjoyable
- The outcome of the mystery seems quite improbable
Harry Bosch must once again join forces with FBI agent Rachel Walling, along with homeland security, in a murder case that is a race against time.
When a body is found on the Mulholland overlook, it comes to light that the victim turned over a concerning quantity of a lethal chemical to the killer before he died.
More lives are at stake if they don’t recover the chemical and stop the killer before it’s too late.
- This is an exciting thriller that will keep you hooked
- This is one of the shortest books in the series
When Harry Bosch was caught up in the shooting of a Chinese liquor store owner during the Rodney Riots in LA in 1992, he was given sanctuary by a stranger.
Years later, it is time for Bosh to repay the favor, but it takes him down a path he was never expecting, with unimaginable consequences.
As he pieces together clues overlooked by the cops who investigated the original shooting, Harry follows the trail out of LA and out of the US, far away from anyone who could back him up or help him solve the case.
- Bosch’s professional and personal lives overlap like never before
- Some of the plot points seem quite implausible
When new evidence connects a 1989 murder to a convicted rapist, Clayton Pell, it seems pretty simple – Pell’s DNA was found on the victim. The only problem is that Pell was only 8 years old when the murder took place.
Meanwhile, Harry’s nemesis, Councilman Irving, is coming to him with a favor. He wants Bosch to investigate the death of his son. Does Bosch want to help the man who has tried to ruin his career for years?
The young man appears to have jumped out of a window, but Irving is convinced that he was pushed. How are these two cases connected? And will Bosch be able to uncover the dark secret that ties them together?
- The last sections of the book are very exciting and the outcome is satisfying
- This story is quite slow to get started so you need to push through the first few chapters
20 years ago, Bosh reluctantly handed a case to the Riot Crimes Taskforce. He knew that the murder of the female journalist found dead in an alley would never get solved by the task force, but he had no choice.
When new evidence comes to light that her death was targeted and not a random act of violence, the case is reopened.
- Harry gets a second chance to find the killer, and must step back into the past to do so
- This book feels a bit formulaic and similar to his other books
Bosh finds himself investigating an unusual case – a man has died from complications connected to a gunshot wound from 10 years ago. His body is fresh, but all of the clues about his killer are not.
Bosch is paired with a rookie detective to solve this high-profile, politically charged case. Tensions run high as they desperately search for new leads, starting with the bullet that had been lodged in the victim’s spine.
- This book introduces a new character for Harry to work with
- Bosch seems to be losing his edge as he grows older
Bosch leaves the LAPD before he can be fired, then hires defense attorney Mickey Haller to sue the LAPD for forcing him out. Haller asks for Bosch’s help with a case, and he finds himself back in the middle of a murder investigation.
This time, he is working for the defense, and the prosecution seems to have a very strong case.
- Bosch is on the other side of the case which is an interesting twist
- Some parts of this book are quite unrealistic
While working as a part-time detective, Bosch is asked to track down an old flame of a billionaire. She disappeared decades ago after getting pregnant. Bosch is dubious about taking on a case for someone so powerful, with such a high budget.
But the more he discovers about the woman the more determined he is to find the truth.
- This is a well-written book with a good pace
- Some of the plot points are a bit unbelievable
Bosch is working cold cases for the San Fernando police department but is called to assist on a double murder as the most seasoned detective on the force.
When Bosch is accused of framing a death row inmate, he must fight to clear his name and keep the criminal behind bars. He enlists the help of defense attorney Mickey Haller.
- Bosch is acting as a mentor to a younger detective in this book
- The storyline is quite convenient and not as challenging for Bosch
Other Books Featuring Harry Bosch
Harry Bosch also features in another series written by Michael Connelly – The Renée Ballad series. The first book in the series, The Late Show, is set within the LAPD but focuses on a different character – Ballard.
In the second book, Dark Sacred Night, Ballard and Bosch must work together to solve a murder. Both characters appear in the other 3 books in the series – The Night Fire, The Dark Hours, and Desert Star.
Michael Connelly has also written a book series called The Lincoln Lawyer, following a main character called Mickey Haller. Harry Bosch appears in this series, and his appearances vary from brief to substantial.
The books in this series are The Lincoln Lawyer, The Brass Verdict, The Reversal, The Fifth Witness, The Gods Of Guilt, The Law Of Innocence, and Resurrection Walk which is due to be released in November 2023.
The Harry Bosch book series was written and published in chronological order. This makes it easy to read the books in the correct order. Whilst each book focuses on one particular event or investigation, it is difficult to read them as individual novels.
Some storylines continue across multiple books, and characters that are recurring throughout the series. Harry Bosch is a complex character, and the reader learns more and more about his backstory as the series progresses.
It is best to read the full Harry Bosch book series before moving on to the Ballard series and the Lincoln Lawyer series. This will give you a better understanding of Bosch’s character and of the setting of the LAPD.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Harry Bosch book series.
Are The Harry Bosch Novels Based On True Stories?
The Harry Bosch novels are fictional and are not based on true stories. Several real-life events are used within the series, and the writer draws on his experience as a crime writer for the Los Angeles Times to help him write with authenticity.
Do You Have To Read The Harry Bosch Novels In Order?
It is best to read the Harry Bosch book series in order as this will give you the best reading experience. Some storylines span across multiple books and characters that pop up repeatedly which makes it hard to read the books at random.
Which Harry Bosch Book Is The Best?
The first book in the series, The Black Echo, has the highest ratings on Amazon and is a fan favorite. However, all of the books in the series are very popular.
Is The Harry Bosch Television Series True To The Books?
The Bosch tv series takes plotlines from the whole book series to create a television that represents the character and his life. The events do not necessarily occur in the same order as the books, but it is a good adaptation.
Will Harry Bosch Be Appearing In The Lincoln Lawyer Television Series?
Whilst the character of Harry Bosch features in the Lincoln Lawyer book series, there are no plans for him to appear in the TV adaptation.