Lost Light, number nine in Michael Connelly’s Bosch series has Harry a year into retirement, a newly licensed private detective investigating a cold case that ‘keeps him awake at night.’
First thing I notice is point-of-view – first person, which I find curious since all the previous books are third person. Harry’s doing the talking in this one. What’s up?
A lil bit of research reveals that private eye novels are generally first person narratives. Tradition goes way back… to Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe.
A piece by Peter Lewis on Medium.com (A Brief Guide to Private Eye Novels) counts Marlowe as the ‘definitive private eye,’ suggesting that ‘hundreds of other private eye characters since have been more or less the same guy.’
Aside from age and stature, Lewis’ take on the ‘Marlowe-esque’ PI character fits:
He’s frequently a veteran and nearly always an ex-cop, cast off the force for some type of principled insubordination, but retaining a trusted friend or two on the inside who can get him out of trouble and trade information. He’s sarcastic and provocative towards police captains and mob bosses alike; compelling to women but generally unmoved by them, and probably divorced. A mild and functioning alcoholic, frequently needing a drink but never needing ten. Not overly educated, but a little more educated than people expect. He lives and works in a big city with a corrupt overclass and a seamy underbelly.
Do ya think maybe Peter Lewis has Michael Connelly’s number on this one?