Today's holiday recommendation comes from a long-time friend of mine. George Lichman is the blogger at The Thirty Year Itch, he's a police officer with the Rocky River (Ohio) Police Department, he's Dad to two of the cutest little toe heads you've ever seen (and foster Dad to my dog, Nestle), and he's been my friend since grade school (can you believe he's tolerated me that long?).
He has a book suggestions for those who like Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch. So I'll let George take it from here:
If You Like Michael Connelly, You'll Love Wes Albers
by George Lichman, The Thirty Year Itch
Michael Connelly is one of my favorite authors. This fall, he released his twenty-fifth book, The Black Box; his eighteenth featuring LADP Detective Harry Bosch, a character who made his first appearance twenty years ago!
Mr. Connelly is able to tell a great story, that part is clear. But what he also does, particularly with Bosch, as evidenced by his longevity, is create a dynamic character that grows and changes in time, even taking into account aging. Bosch has certainly changed, but Mr. Connelly has kept what readers likely love about Bosch, too. He is stubborn, willing to go against the grain, do the right thing despite what may be in his best interests, the type of Detective who will work his last case just as hard as his first.
Mr. Connelly's Bosch books are story driven novels, but the character development is very good, and I have yet to tire of Harry Bosch. He's the type of guy I'd like to have a beer with, and the type of homicide dick I would want to be.
Wes Albers is a new author, his first book, Black & White, published earlier this year (my original review of it can be found here), is told in first person from the point of view of veteran San Diego Patrol Officer John Hatch. Hatch, like Bosch, is married to his job and has a relationship with the City he serves. Hatch works for the right things: doing right by the people he serves and the people he serves with, but not necessarily by the bosses he works for. He is an honest man, both about his job and about himself.
While Mr. Connelly's books are about the story first, Mr. Albers' Black & White is the opposite. While there is a mystery in Black & White, the real story is about Hatch. He is an incredibly complex character, and especially interesting because of his ability to reflect on his life, career, and relationships.
So why, if the writing styles and experiences levels of Mr. Connelly and Mr. Albers are so different, would I pair the two? The short answer is because the two balance each other so well. But I don't often stop at the short answer, so I'll explain further.
Both are excellent and entertaining writers, creating an experience that allows me to disappear into the world that is their books. That, after all, is the purpose of reading fiction.
Both bring the setting of their books alive. When I read Mr. Connelly, I feel like I know Los Angelos, like I'm there with Harry Bosch. Mr. Albers was able to do the same thing with San Diego and John Hatch.
Both balance the story and characters well. Even though I think Mr. Connelly focuses on the story while Mr. Albers focuses on the characters, both authors include both in their books, so readers get the best of each.
Mr. Connelly is likely nearing the end of Harry Bosch. The Black Box is, after all, his eighteenth Bosch novel; the character has already retired once and come back to the job, and now is nearing the end of his deferred retirement employment with the LAPD. John Hatch, while not a rookie, is a young policeman by comparison, and Mr. Albers a young author who has years to develop Hatch and his career.
I hope you decide to give Wes Albers' Black & White a try. I'm confident that, if you enjoy Michael Connelly and Harry Bosch you'll love it.
Whatever you decide, please consider giving books for the Holidays.