Some crime novelists whose early work is not accompanied by a great fanfare nevertheless seem destined for success, so conspicuous are their story-telling skills. Of course, sometimes, for whatever reason, fame and fortune eludes them forever. In other cases – Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, Andrew Taylor and Ann Cleeves spring to mind – they write for many years, well and truly paying their dues, before they hit the jackpot. With Michael Connelly, it seemed almost certain to me from the outset that he would make it big – and he certainly has. Yet this, his first Harry Bosch novel, attracted little attention when Headline first published it in 1992, and the print run was tiny.
Fast forward almost ten years and Connelly was a megastar in the crime world. I met him when he was a guest of honour at the late lamented Dead on Deansgate convention in Manchester, where I was also appearing together with other members of Murder Squad. When I asked if he would inscribe my copy of The Black Echo, he suggested I would be better off with a signature, because the re-sale value of the book on the second-hand market would be higher. After I explained that I meant to keep it in my own collection, he inscribed it with a brief summary of his writing philosophy: ‘They say writin’ is fightin’. I think it’s true. Here’s to your giving it a continual fight!’