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New Year ramblings

Oh, that felt good.

I stayed up much of the night reading Michael Connelly’s latest Harry Bosch novel, Dark Sacred Night. This one is a Bosch + Ballard tale, in which Connelly teams his dogged retired cold-case detective Bosch with a young, female counterpart introduced just a book or two ago, Renee Ballard.

I suspect all the Bosch books are likely to be Bosch + Ballard from here on, and I’m going to make a wild guess that the author might eventually kill Bosch off. Someday. In, I hope, the far-distant future. Way distant. Meanwhile, his books are just getting better, even though Bosch does some not-admirable things in his pursuit of justice for the thrown away and forgotten. And Connelly’s an impeccably good writer, which is refreshing.


Even while being awake most of the night, I still managed to miss the turn of the new year. And that was fine with me.

Sigh. New Years is for twentysomethings.

And what’s the point of January 1 as “new” year, anyhow? It’s not a solstice or an equinox. There’s no big astronomical conjunction or anything. It’s not even a “cross-quarter” day between solstices and equinoxes. What is it? Just an arbitrary line in time, formerly marked by a two-faced Roman god and more commonly now an aid to otherwise uninspired writers of advice and year-end wrap-ups.

Piffle. New years. December 21 should be the start of the new year.


Still, this was a fine opportunity to take some down time — and to read your advice on my thought of slicing the living room in half to create a bedroom. I still haven’t responded to a couple of comments that came in late yesterday or today. But I’ve read everything. Thank you for the good questions, suggestions, and pointers in new directions. I’ll try to respond to those newer comments tomorrow.


The new year, as it happens, brings a whole lot of old works into the public domain. For once “the mouse that roared” (aka Mickey) and his corporate and estate friends didn’t even try to finagle yet another extension of copyright in their own favor. So look what all’s going public domain in the next few years. The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, zillions of songs, photos, old films — and soon, even Mickey Mouse himself.


Anyhow, after devouring the book until about 10:00 a.m., I shook myself out of bookfog with a chilly, but sunny dog walk along the water and didn’t set eyes on the computer until around noon.

So yeah, that felt good.

Then I treated myself to fresh veggies and nice, big, fat shrimp for lunch.

It’s a tough life.


I apologize to people who emailed me links in the last week or so and in some cases didn’t even get a response. Because of the holidays, I haven’t blogged as many links as I normally would. I’ll get to some of those links soon, but others may just never make it.

Thank you for sending new material my way. I’m never able to use everything you send, but I usually do better than this.


Don’t forget: You can win these prep/survival/adventure books. Just enter by January 10, 2019.


  1. Unidentified Victim
    Unidentified Victim January 2, 2019 2:58 am

    RE: the Bosch books. I’ve read ’em all, and even Connelly’s earliest efforts were pretty good, and have steadily gotten better. The Bosch books are among the best in police procedural fiction. One thing I find irritating, though, is his insistence on using “clip” where “magazine” should be. He does it so consistently, however, and gets everything else correct, that I assume it must be deliberate, and probably done because he believes, or has data to support, the majority of his readership expects that terminology.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp
    Thomas L. Knapp January 2, 2019 4:59 am

    Connelly’s Bosch novels are among my guilty pleasures as well. The Amazon “TV” series made from them is pretty damn good, too. Of course, they updated him from a Vietnam veteran to (IIRC) Desert Storm, etc., but in my opinion they get the character, the feel, etc. correct.

    Spend my own Lazy New Year Time with a collection of “the best” western short stories.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Joel
    Joel January 2, 2019 10:37 am

    The “It’s a magazine, not a clip” thing is relatively recent, really. When I was young everybody called them clips and nobody got all righteously pedantic. So if Bosch is an older man – and I haven’t read the books so I don’t know – it might actually be Connelly’s way of presenting him as authentic.

  4. Claire
    Claire January 2, 2019 10:55 am

    Yes, Bosch is an older man — a Vietnam vet. I’ve noticed the use of the word “clip” in the books and wondered why it was there despite Connelly’s almost obsessive realism in describing everything from LAPD internal politics to guns to mariachi musician culture. Good observation, Joel. (And BTW, I think you might like the books.)

    TLK — “Guilty pleasure,” indeed. And not only because the Bosch books (and related Lincoln Lawyer books) are potboilers; but also because Bosch uses some cop tactics that rightly raise freedomista hackles. Of course, he’s portrayed as using those tactics only against scumbags and only in the most noble causes. But every time he resorts to some dirty thing I think of the real-world cops who — inspired and enabled by movies and books? — use similar tactics against any hapless schlub on the street in really crappy causes.

    Oh well. The books are still outstanding — probably the best police procedural mysteries ever written. And it’s impossible not to like Harry Bosch. The belief that drives him to solve crimes (“Everybody counts or nobody counts”) and his defiance of stupid, bureaucratic Authoritah certainly put him on the side of the angels.

    The books really are a great pleasure. I liked what I saw of the Amazon series, too, though my ‘Net connection is marginal for streaming and I eventually had to give up both streaming and the Prime membership that enabled it.

  5. jed
    jed January 2, 2019 1:39 pm

    I might have to add the Bosch to my reading possibilities. It’s difficult for me to read as much as I want, but I won’t go into that. Just keeping up with SciFi is a challenge by itself. I recently discovered Sandford’s “Prey” series, by way of a loan from the landlord. If you like police procedurals, then you’ll like Sandford’s writing. I just started MHI, and another series by Joe Nobody.

  6. John Wilder
    John Wilder January 2, 2019 5:28 pm

    I was going to comment on the room slice, but found every suggestion I had was already there, so I didn’t want to waste electrons . . . oops . . . too late.

    Happy New Year!

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