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Crime Beat

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  3,286 Ratings  ·  239 Reviews
Before he became a novelist, Michael Connelly was a crime reporter, covering homicide beat in Florida and Los Angeles. Here are reproduced narratives of these articles, from initial accusation along path of prosecution. Divided in three sections: Cops, Killers, and Cases.
Hardcover, Little, Brown, 327 pages
Published May 2006 by Hachette (first published 2004)
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In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonThe Manson File by Nikolas Schreck
True Crime
65th out of 434 books — 492 voters
The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael ConnellyThe Poet by Michael ConnellyThe Black Echo by Michael ConnellyThe Concrete Blonde by Michael ConnellyThe Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly
Best by Michael Connelly
27th out of 48 books — 79 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Bill  Kerwin
Feb 23, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime

Sometimes, to appreciate what a book is, it is necessary to be aware of what it is not. Crime Beat is not a collection of true crime essays by a well-known and respected veteran novelist, winner of every prize in the crime writing field. Crime Beat is a heterogeneous collection of old newspaper pieces written by a reporter in his early 30's who has just won a Pulitzer Prize.

"Just-the-Facts-Ma'am" reporting is hard to do, and young Connelly shows his mastery of it in each piece included here. He
Mar 19, 2016 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2non-fiction, 1audio
This was interesting due to understanding the roots of Connelly's writing. Several of the stories covered here are the real events that played out in his novels & the characters contributed a lot, too. That said, it's true crime or newspaper reporting, often done in parts with summaries that duplicate what I had just heard. Yuck. I don't care for true crime & tend to skim newspaper articles on it, so listening to every single repetitious word was painful. Still, I'm glad to understand Co ...more
Apr 06, 2013 Gary rated it it was ok
Let me start by admitting that I am a huge Michael Connelly fan and love almost everything he writes.
This book however was a collection of his newspaper reporting from the '80s and at times was very interesting giving a good insight into his work but generally there was not enough to keep me fully entertained.
Sep 25, 2009 Joyce added it
Shelves: discarded
The ostensible rationale for this collection of stale journalism pieces is to demonstrate Connelly's contention that working the crime beat is a great way to learn the craft of crime novelist. Unfortunately, you guessed it, the book ends up utterly undermining his own argument. It's hard not to conclude that Connelly is one of the rare birds who are simply good at two different crafts -- because the tiny nuggets of anything resembling novelistic interest panned out in Connelly's newspaper pieces ...more
Another great from Michael Connelly!!

I've read the Bosch books, Lincoln Lawyer novels, and now this from his days as a Journalist/Crime Reporter! This was not a bad read.... A little slow at times, but it read like any newspaper piece! It wasn't a jam-packed essay on the topic, it seemed like he was given a word limit and put "just the facts".
It was a great read, I enjoyed it because I see just where he came up with the ideas for ALOT of his books!!(Trunk Music, The Poet, Black Box, and many mo
Rebecca McNutt
Compiled of numerous articles on true cases over the years, Crime Beat is a very basic and technical true crime book.
Apr 02, 2012 Martin rated it did not like it
Connelly of course is the guy who writes the Harry Bosch thrillers set in LA - never a top favourite of mine because his writing is a little drab, but his plots are generally good (except when they're execrable (A Darkness more than Night)). Connelly was/is a journalist, and this is a collection of his crime reporting. And it's a complete waste of time, a pure ego exercise: the writing is very pedestrian, with the stories apparently reprinted as they originally appeared in the papers, including ...more
Jun 15, 2010 Ben rated it it was ok
For Crime Beat, Connelly dug through his archives to serve up a series of articles he wrote for newspapers in Florida and California during his formative years as a writer. Unstructured and repetitive, this pseudo-collection is nothing that would sell were not the Connelly brand stamped on the cover (he must have been gunning for a yacht).

Apart from an unexplored tag line about the influence of his reporting years on his writing and a brief aside about the importance of the "telling detail" in t
Crime Beat by Michael Connelly is a collection of reports and articles from his time as a crime reporter and which provided the inspiration for his novels. It was interesting to read about the various crimes, some of which were never solved unlike in fiction. His novels though are much more exciting and satisfying. Crime Beat although interesting was quite tedious and repetitive in places.
Jan 06, 2016 Marcie rated it really liked it
I thought this was fabulous...anyone else might find it a huge bore, though. This book contains the kernels, seeds, of inspiration, the experiences and sights and sounds that stick with you and then coalesce into a future work. And I am so-o-o-o jealous!

Michael Connelly and I were both working as newspaper reporters at the exact time...his press pass shows a goofy, curly headed kid who gets to ride shotgun with the cops for a week, the homicide division no less. Meanwhile mine shows a girl with
Sep 14, 2016 Jan rated it liked it
For me no one beats Michael Connelly for writing the absolute best police procedural/crime novels. I can't get enough of his Harry Bosch series, and eagerly await each new book in the series-which I usually read within days of its publication. But this collection of Connelly's columns from the 1980s that covers crimes in Florida and Los Angeles were, if I'm going to be honest, pretty dry and a bit boring. These columns are nothing like a Harry Bosch novel. Just the facts ma'am, as Detective Joe ...more
Dec 01, 2011 Jenni rated it it was ok
The author’s purpose for writing this book was to tell his story as a journalist. He also wanted to make the stories he covered as a journalist known to anybody who reads this book. He probably felt like these stories needed to be told in the way he saw them, rather than the way they are told in a newspaper. Newspapers tend to shorten stories and leave out details about crimes that are truly important. I think the author’s purpose for writing this book was to make sure these were told in their ...more
Nov 24, 2012 Kurt rated it it was ok
This is a collection of some of Connelly's journalism in Florida and Los Angeles, from a time before he started writing novels. For devoted Connelly fans, it holds its curiosities (I've read all four existing Lincoln Lawyer novels and the first three Harry Bosch novels), as many elements of real crimes and characters surface in Connelly's novels. On the whole, though, it is rather mundane, one article after another of someone getting robbed or murdered with enough words to cover the facts and el ...more
Grey Ghost
Sep 05, 2011 Grey Ghost rated it did not like it
I got this one as an audio book, which did not add to my enjoyment. A great disappointment, as this book is basically a reprint of Connolly's old newspaper articles about each of these cases, with little or no new information or insight. In addition, that fact means that there is a lot of repetition in each chapter as it appears that Connolly hasn't bothered to edit out the redundancies inherent in news articles printed about the same case on different days.

To add insult to injury, the guy who r
Mar 06, 2011 Shea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall I liked this collection, but one qualm I did have was with the choice to include multiple pieces on the same subject (whether it was a particular crime, incident, offender, etc.) in one chapter, which made reading very similar information over and over again a little boring.

Often when journalists cover a crime story, the "facts of the case" (can we tell I work in a legal setting yet?) remain fairly consistent, and all of the back story is rehashed up to the point of reporting. It was in
May 23, 2010 Ally rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Having read most of Connelly's fiction books and loving them, I was initially quite excited to find out more about Connelly as a reporter, and hoped to gain some insight into how he started and where he got his insipiration. In some respects I suppose this book met that aim, in that you can see some brief glimpses into how Connelly uses his experience as a crime beat reporter to develop his characters and plots in his novels. However I really struggled to finish the book, and only really carried ...more
Rachel Arnold
May 20, 2015 Rachel Arnold rated it it was ok
The book is very, very repetitious and plain in text, as it is non-fiction and written by a reporter. So if those styles do not suit you, I suggest skipping this book. However, the insight to the 80s/90s of police work and battles they faced are similar to what are current in times.

It did not take me more than a few days to finish this book and I would suggest reading it if you picked it up at a library or from a discount retailer. Keep an open mind and don't expect an award winning masterpiece
Apr 28, 2013 Mike rated it liked it
Only took a few hours to breeze through this one. Mainly just repeats of his newspaper stories when he was a crime reporter in FL and CA. (I'd be ticked off if I had paid retail for the book--I'm a fan but not a fanboy) Still, I found it interesting to see elements of his real life crime stories show up in his novels. Some stories are really interesting and some not so much. Worth a read if you can check it out from a friend or library. Not so much if you have to buy.
Jan 24, 2015 Annie rated it did not like it
Review deleted.
Sep 19, 2011 1KimberlyBA rated it it was amazing
In the book Crime Beat by Michael Connelly the main character is Michael Connelly. He is the main character because this is the story of how he decided to become a crime reporter. He talks about many detectives he worked with when he was a crime reporter. those detectives come and go because Michael Connelly gets different journalist offers. he is always talking about different cases that he has published during the time he worked for the papers.
The main key plot event is how he realized he wa
Cynthia Corral
Aug 22, 2013 Cynthia Corral rated it it was ok
I may just set this aside and read some other books I would rather be reading.

This is what I call a lazy book. It's an easy way for a known author to bang out a book that people will buy just so the author can make a quick buck. There is no thought put into this, and there is not much of any value. It is just a collection of articles that Michael Connelly wrote when he was on the crime beat. Many of the crimes are not even that interesting, but there are two bigger flaws.

First, some of the crim
Apr 17, 2014 Helen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: aspiring journalists, Michael Connelly fans
This is a collection of nonfiction crime stories written by Michael Connelly in his first life as a newspaper reporter. They are very good newspaper crime stories, but collections of stories are by their very nature limited--you just don't get the depth of a book and as a result, you don't travel through somebody else's real or imagined world.

What you do get out of this is some insight into Michael Connelly and his wonderful crime fiction. I can't think of a better training ground than being a
Feb 17, 2013 Kenneth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never read any of Michael Connelly's novels but when I saw Crime Beat (2006) - a collection of Connelly's newspaper reporting from the '80s - in the bargain bin for a few bucks, I couldn't say no. Although the writing bears some of the stylistic weaknesses that come with employing the newspaper's voice, Connelly nevertheless followed some interesting cases in his days on the beat, so whatever these stories may lack in grace they gain in energy. Putting the writing aside and viewing these as ...more
I love Connolly's fiction and it was fun to see many true events here that I recognized as also occurring in his fiction, or at least influencing it.

I would have rated this book much higher if not for one glaring irritant. Connelly included full newspaper articles of the same event over and over, instead of editing to include only what was new. It's typical for a news article to include new information along with a rehash of previous reports on the same story. That's helpful in a newspaper where
Jan 07, 2008 Spenser rated it it was ok
Still reading this one. I bought this one because I was fascinated by the idea of getting some insight into how Michael Connelly got his start.

From that perspective, honestly, the book delivers as advertised. But other than an introductory chapter, the book is strictly a collection of articles that he wrote over time. I had thought that this would be a book ABOUT his time as a writer, but instead it's the articles themselves.

Again to be fair, most of the articles are very interesting, if not ri
Aug 11, 2014 Joshua rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not what I expected. I thought this was going to be a book about his experiences as a reporter, and instead it is the literary equivalent of the clip show - a selection of newspaper articles covering his career writing about crime. Some of the selections are chilling, for sure, and it was disturbing getting a picture of some of the events which occurred in the wake of the Rodney King verdict. I can see this being of interest for local(LA and Fla) historians, reporters or budding mystery writers. ...more
Oct 17, 2015 William rated it it was ok
The very early days of Michael Connolly as a reporter.

This book only for die-hard fans who want to see his development from hack to adequate writer. The good stuff comes much later than you see in this book though.
Nov 07, 2011 Sidna rated it really liked it
This book is for Michael Connelly fans. I'm not sure that anyone who has not read at least some of his books would enjoy it.

For me, the best part of this book was the Introduction in which he tells about how he became interested in crime reporting. When Connelly was 16 he worked as a night dishwasher in a hotel restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, FL. On his way home from work one night he witnessed a man escaping after robbing a nearby store and shooting a man in the head. His experience in working
Jun 10, 2016 Brian rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Michael Connelly
As a big fan of Michael Connelly's novels, I was very interested in reading this collection of newspaper pieces that he wrote when covering the crime beats in South Florida and Los Angeles. It is clear, as Connelly says in his introduction, that everything he observed and everything he learned as a crime reporter has found its way into his fiction. So this collection is an interesting and valuable look at some of the experiences that informed and shaped the fictional world of Harry Bosch, Mickey ...more
Mary Overton
The crime story that intrigued me most ... the case where a murderer is convicted, but the identity of the victim is never discovered.

from pg. 249:
"The grave at Hollywood Memorial Gardens has no name on it. There simply isn't one to put there. The identity of the man who is buried there is a mystery.
"He was murdered March 11, 1985, in a Fort Lauderdale motel room. He was strangled. Authorities have since solved the mystery of who killed him; one man was convicted and sentenced to life in prison
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads' database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Michael Connelly decided to become a writer after discovering the books of Raymond Chandler while attending the University of Florida. Once he decided on this direction he chose a major in journalism and a minor in creative writing — a curriculum in which one of his teache
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