Friday, April 22, 2011


David Edelstein on detective fiction and the film version of "The Lincoln Lawyer" -- which he likes.


Tulkinghorn said...

Does anybody really group Connelly with Pelecanos and Lehane?

Compared to Pelecanos, especially, he seems a bit of a hack, even accepting Edelstein's praise (which I do).

David Chute said...

I know what you mean. Edelstein makes me want to revisit Connelly and reassess. The line about "process" (a classic preoccupation of naturalistic fiction) is true of the Bosch novels, also, and puts C. rung or two above Lehane, in my book, who's recyling the old myths..

Tulkinghorn said...

They're all recycling the old myths... I've always thought teh notion that Connelly is the modern master of LA fiction is a bit wishful... Nothing in his books especially resembles MY LA. But maybe that's LA's problem.

He's no Zola.

David Chute said...

"But maybe that's LA's problem?"

On balance, probably not.

Christian Lindke said...

The wonderful thing about Connelly's LA is that it highlights the "classic" LA. The Pacific Dining Car, Musso & Frank, Phillipe's all play a role in his fiction.

For non-Angelinos, it give the books a sense of place -- and shares some of the interesting locations in town -- but Angelinos wonder just what kind of person eats at Dan Tana's on a regular basis.

My problem with the Connelly books is invariably the final act. His stories are so engaging and often unique, until you get to the ending. So often those final chapters seem very familiar, almost as if you were re-reading the last Bosch or Haller book.

Tulkinghorn said...

Unpacking my earlier too-cryptic remark: It's the Phillipe's-Musso-Pacific Dining Car-Hollywood-Hills-centric view of LA that so little resembles the messy-elegant-undefinable-chaotic place that I think of when I think fondly of Los Angeles. That could be simply reflective of the area -- that everyone who lives here claims a different hunk of it -- rather than a flaw in Connelly's writing.

David Chute said...

This I agree with. And the touristy aspect of his work has become more pronounced since he's moved to Florida. He now makes only occasional research trips back to LA -- though at least he does his own research, unlike Elmore. ("Djibouti" is a pile of notes published as a novel.)

However: I went right on from "Started Early..." to "9 Dragons," and think it's worth pointing out that the graceful orchestration of details in Connelly's kind of writing is harder than it looks. He's not Zola, and Zola isn't Balzac, but they all do certain things well. Different things.