Michael Connelly knows a thing or two about justice and murder. The writer/creator has been writing about those very things for decades and is showing no signs of slowing down. Connelly is probably best known as the creator of the hit show Bosch, which is in its seventh season.
The films Blood Work and The Lincoln Lawyer are based on Connelly’s books. It was recently announced that Netflix had ordered a series based on The Lincoln Lawyer with famed television showrunner David E. Kelly. With all that going on, Connelly has still found time to write and make podcasts (Murder Book), and now The Wonderland Murders & The Secret History of Hollywood, which is available on Audible.
AOTN: What got you into writing about crime and mystery?
MICHAEL CONNELLY: It’s almost like all these dominoes of faith had to fall. And then again, but one of the key things was when I was 16, I witnessed a witness in a case where I saw a guy hiding a gun and using it to shoot somebody. And so I spent a night with detectives in the detective Bureau. Wow, that really, and you know, and I just was not my background. And it was just unusual that I happened to see this while looking out the window of my car. And so it’s an immersion into a, you know, one-night immersion into kind of an alien world I found interesting. And then I started reading the newspaper to see, you know if there’s any news about the case, and whether they caught someone or whether the person who was shot, that kind of thing. I kind of got hooked on reading crime news, and that led to true crime. Yes. And then that led to crime novels, which led to me majoring in journalism in college because I wanted to get into that world and learn.
AOTN: Wow. What’s your writing schedule? How long do you spend a day writing? Do you outline?
MICHAEL CONNELLY: Not now, I don’t outline. I can’t carry it around in my head. I know, two really important things. Before I start writing a book, I know where it will start and where it is heading. It’s the end of the tunnel and the middle stuff. I kind of make up as I go. That’s the fun part.
AOTN: How did the Wonderland Murders become a podcast?
MICHAEL CONNELLY: Well, I did a few true crime podcasts over the past couple of years, and one of the retired LAPD homicide detectives had been involved in both podcasts. So this detective, his name is Rick Jackson. He was the one that arrested Scott Thorson for a robbery. And then he wanted to deal his way out of the robbery. So he agreed to tell the cops what he knew about the Wonderland case. He ended up being the primary witness. He had stayed in touch with a force over the years, and Thorson had stayed in touch with Jackson, Jackson and treated him fairly. And about a year ago, Jackson said, you want to talk to this guy? He’s an interesting character. His reliability is questionable. But there might be something in it that you’ll find interesting and want to do a story about it so that that’s what happened. That’s what happened. I found him pretty fascinating. I call him the unreliable narrator in the podcast because everything he says, you know, we have to try to check.
AOTN: People are loving the true-crime stuff. It seems like my wife and I are watching a new case every night. Stuff that’s on ID channel and podcasts. It’s crazy people’s fascination with true crime.
MICHAEL CONNELLY: Yeah, I can’t explain that. The serialized documentaries on the streaming channels.
AOTN: Oh, yeah, there’s, there’s so many, we just watched one two nights ago on Netflix. When I was growing up, you would hear about cases in the United States, cold cases, and stuff from all over the United States. Now, it seems to be coming from overseas. They’re bringing their cases over for the world to hear about and see.
MICHAEL CONNELLY: Well, most of the things that, you know, end up in documentaries and so forth. Have a conclusion. I mean, there’s obviously some like that. But I’d say 80 to 90% of them are about cases that are solved. And so there’s some kind of reassuring factor.
AOTN: Kind of like a night light?
MICHAEL CONNELLY: Yeah, I mean, it’s about restoring order. You know, a murder is a moment of chaos. These detectives and forensic experts, and so forth, come in figuring out the rest. And who the bad guy is, and order is restored. And so there’s probably subliminal or subconscious. But there is reassurance. Yeah, I think that’s part of what makes these things so popular. So I think that is, in part, you know, why I do them and why hopefully, this podcast we’re talking about will be of interest to people.
AOTN: Most definitely, I look forward to listening to it.
The Wonderland Murders & The Secret History of Hollywood and so much more is available on https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Wonderland-Murders-the-Secret-History-of-Hollywood-Podcast/B0979PRBF3
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