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Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  4,769 ratings  ·  376 reviews
Before he became a novelist, Michael Connelly was a crime reporter, covering the detectives who worked the homicide beat. In these vivid, hard-hitting articles, Connelly leads the reader past the yellow police tape as he follows the investigators, the victims, their families and friends—and, of course, the killers—to tell the real stories of murder and its aftermath.
Hardcover, 375 pages
Published May 2006 by Little, Brown and Company (first published December 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.41  · 
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Bill Kerwin
Apr 10, 2015 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
Diane Wallace
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Ok read! Good storyline with some interesting plotlines but the writing could have been better (paperback!) huge Connelly fan!
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I know that I am one of many who thoroughly enjoys the work of Michael Connelly, with his gritty stories of Harry Bosch and others working on solving (or defending, sometimes even reporting) crimes that occur throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Some may know that Connelly began his career as a crime beat reporter, amassing much of the story ideas he would later make popular through the cases on which he reported. This book is a collection of reports, both backgrounds and follow-ups, that Co ...more
Mar 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1audio, 2non-fiction
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 Connelly's ...more
Apr 06, 2013 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.
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Crime Beat is a collection of newspaper reports that Connelly wrote about the stories he covered over the course of his successful journalistic career. There are twenty two cases, all of them consisting a series of articles. All of them are about three decades old and very few of them are interesting. The original articles might have been touched up a bit to resemble something akin to traditional narratives but they betray their origins. Facts are repeated (as is par for the course in follow ups ...more
Jun 15, 2010 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
Sep 25, 2009 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
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: If you like crime news stories!!
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
Apr 02, 2012 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
Jul 18, 2008 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
Nov 07, 2011 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
Nov 04, 2012 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
Sep 14, 2016 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
Grey Ghost
Sep 05, 2011 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
May 14, 2010 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
Jan 10, 2009 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. ...more
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.
Oct 17, 2015 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.
Shea Ivy
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
Rach A
May 17, 2015 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
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Be forewarned that this is not a novel or an autobiography. It is a collection of Connelly's news articles from his time as a journalist at the Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Los Angeles Times. In the articles, you can see the bones and foundation of Connelly's Harry Bosch novels, and I got a sense of Connelly finding the voice that eventually emerged in his fiction work.

Certainly a must for Connelly completists. If your relationship with Connelly and Bosch are more casual, your mileage may vary.
Alan Teder
Connelly Non-Fiction 1984-1992
Review of the Little, Brown & Co. hardcover (2006)

Crime Beat collects a selection of writer Michael Connelly's crime reporting for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and the Los Angeles Times from the time before he began a successful crime fiction writing career with the release of The Black Echo (1992).

The book is organized by themes such as Cops, Killers, and Cases, rather than chronologically. It conveys how Connelly was always building a human & character story
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Very Well written.

This Is a collection criminal news articles spanning 10 years.

They are random.

If you enjoy these types of stories for what they are, you will enjoy this. It’s an interesting selection of different types of crimes, victims and defendants. Some are sympathetic. Some are heartless.

If you enjoy true crime stories, you will like these.

If you want more involved drawn out stories, this may disappoint.

I was fascinated in part because I don’t recall most news articles being this i
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a shame that as a thriller fan I just found out about Michael Connely’s novels. Obviously, I love murder stories, forensics, detectives. I am fascinated with the gripping anticipation and the drama between the victim and the perpetrator. But this is not crime drama, this is all real. The crime cases, the detective jobs, the narration of each story with the victims and the villains, this created a story of each fight for justice. Well-written that I promised myself to buy more of his novels.
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really enjoy Michael Connelly's crime novels. About the best I ever read. I guess that was why I was so disappointed in this book.
Now, I knew going in that this was not a novel but a book based on crimes he had covered as a journalist.
As it turns out, these are mostly just reprinted newspaper articles about crimes committed in Florida and California. Mostly (if not entirely) verbatim.
And to top it off they are not very interesting articles at that.
Even though this book was a disappointment to
Amy "the book-bat"
Due to the nature of the book being a collection of newspaper article collected from Connelly's time as a crime reporter, there is a lot of repetition, which kind of bogs down the flow of the writing and becomes a bit boring. If some of the repetition could have been edited out, it might have been a 4 star read. I thought the cases were interesting overall. ...more
Alice Driscoll
Jan 06, 2021 rated it liked it
It was OK I'm not a fan of real crime though. I like pathological thrillers so to me it was too much like reading a news paper. ...more
David Highton
A selection of Connelly’s journalism - I found bits of this book repetitive as several stories were published on some of the cases, obviously with detail repeated.
Margaret Sankey
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is a collection of Connelly's work for South Florida newspapers and the LA Times on the crime beat--spare, journalistic accounts of human tragedy, a lot of it still unsolved. While the pieces themselves are frustrating in their bare bones, it is easy to see why Connelly finds novelization to be a satisfying closure, and precisely where the inspiration for a lot of the Bosch cases comes from. ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Additional information 1 13 Jan 30, 2020 08:35AM  

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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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