Michael Connelly’s Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch character really interests me. (He is named after the 15th century Dutch artist). He first appears in The Black Echo and he’s still going strong 15 novels later. I like Harry because he’s very human. It doesn’t hurt that he also works as a detective in modern-day Los Angeles, so we can picture many of the places in the novels. He’s what we all know about cops – hard-nosed, arrogant, gritty. But he also loves jazz, believes in doing what’s right and fights to bring criminals to justice.
The series takes us through complex, cases and introduces us to Harry’s fellow policeman, some savory FBI agents and shows us the side of police work that will make us wonder about the motives behind their actions. These novels will make you angry at Harry sometimes. At other times, you will want to buy him a drink.
Walter Mosley introduces us to Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress (I also highly recommend the movie with Denzel Washington), who lives in Southern California in the 1940s. An ex-Army man, Easy sees the injustices of being a black man during this time.
By taking an assignment from a white man to find a woman, Easy’s career as a detective is launched. His sidekick, Mouse, is a small man with a taste for violence and death. But we like him. His hilarious commentaries and loyal demeanor endear him to us in a strange way. Every book in this series takes you through a story layered in seduction, murder, suspense and humor. I love this series.
Patricia Cornwell writes a wonderful series with Kay Scarpetta. Post-Mortem, the first in the series, introduces us to Kay, the chief medical examiner in Richmond, Virginia. I really enjoy this character because she is strong, yet very sensitive. Each book takes us through a case from a forensic perspective, while also drawing in the other characters.
We get to meet Detective Marino, who struggles with his feelings for Kay; Lucy, Kay’s brilliant niece, whose character goes through some traumatic and devastating events as the series progresses; and Benton, an FBI profiler and Kay’s love interest. A few books in the series will disappoint, but overall it is well-done.
James Patterson brings Alex Cross to life in Along Came a Spider. His novels tend to be fast-paced and simply written. They’re not what you would call meaty. Although at times I find it a bit hard to believe some of the dialogue, the story lines are compelling. Alex is a Washington, DC, homicide detective and forensic psychologist.
Each novel presents a new case that he must solve, and the series gets most interesting when his family becomes involved – his grandmother and two children. The criminals always seem to be larger than life, but Patterson always manages to make you feel like they could actually be walking amongst us.