cover image Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers

Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers

Michael Connelly, . . Little, Brown, $25.95 (369pp) ISBN 978-0-316-15377-5

The many fans of perennially bestselling mystery author Connelly will certainly lap up this collection of his articles written during his former life as a crime journalist in Florida and California. In three sections, "The Cops," "The Killers" and "The Cases," Connelly presents a wide variety of stories from the 1980s and early '90s, ranging from local crimes to national sensations such as the serial killer Christopher Wilder, one of the FBI's Most Wanted. With Wilder, for instance, readers watch Connelly build a portrait of a man who gained access to women in the Florida modeling and fashion scene by posing as a professional photographer with "cunning charm, smooth talk and money." Connelly tells tales of double lives, failures of the criminal justice system and the shooting death of a 245-pound L.A. prostitute. The format of the book may disappoint some, as the inclusion of multiple reports about the same crimes often contain repetitive language. The author is strongest bringing quiet moments to life, such as the despair of parents hoping that a missing child will still turn up, or the patient, resigned professionalism of weary detectives. Devotees of Connelly's fiction will enjoy tracing the real-life roots of some of his plots. (May 8)