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Investigating a city of his past

Bestselling novelist Michael Connelly’s latest Harry Bosch thriller, “9 Dragons,” just came out in October, but he’s already got the next release lined up.

“I don’t have a title for it yet, but I’m shooting for next fall. I’m writing it now,” he said from his office in the Tampa Bay, Fla., area.

The ex-L.A. Times crime reporter still frequents these parts, however, and he had plenty of ideas on how he’d spend some time away from his computer -- although Bosch and Co. are never far from his mind.

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Wild about Harry

I like hanging out in the old part of the Farmers Market and walking around downtown L.A. Physical locations can lead to character development. Harry Bosch is an L.A. native, and I like to build memories for him, like recalling when he rode Angels Flight with his mother when he was 12.

I call it physical research. I can remember walking through Grand Central Market and looking down and finding this pile of cigarette butts. I finally figured out that this is where the employees come out to smoke, and that ended up being a detail in a book.

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Crack of dawn

Lately I’ve been staying at the Casa del Mar, right on the beach in Santa Monica. I like it because it’s a beautifully restored old building, and I love the beach area when it’s almost deserted in the early morning. A good day would start with a long walk down to Venice Beach. Some days I’ll go north to the beach off Channel Road. You see the homeless camps break up, the street vendors unfolding their tables, the area just starting to come alive.

On the way back, I’ll cut over to Main Street in Santa Monica and eat at Joe’s, a really good breakfast spot. It’s a fried-eggs-and-bacon type of place. It’s got a long counter and maybe six booths, a real diner feel.

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SoCal style

For a real L.A. experience, I’d probably go to Philippe’s. If I was looking to impress someone with food on the high end, I might try the pizza at Mozza. And if I was going low-end, I’d go to Papa Jake’s in Beverly Hills for a steak sandwich.

For dinner, I would go to Giorgio Baldi in Santa Monica. But before dinner, I’d get there early and go through the tunnel across PCH and down to the beach. A fantastic restaurant and my favorite beach.

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His hideaways

For a quiet, contemplative spot in the middle of the city, there’s a bench in the back of the Bradbury Building lobby, next to a statue of Charlie Chaplin, that’s perfect. The Bradbury is a fantastic building, a piece of art, and I love just sitting there.

The wonderfully old stuffed leather chairs over at Union Station are also great. But while you might not see another person while you’re at the Bradbury, the chairs at Union Station are marvelous for people-watching. I remember once seeing a little girl’s balloon come loose and slowly rise up to the wonderfully designed ceiling, and I ended up putting that in a book. It’s like osmosis; if you put yourself in these wonderful places, things come into your creative process when you’re in front of your computer.

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mark.sachs@latimes.com


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