A critical thumb's up for crime master

Some writers of popular fiction crave critical respectability, while others don't care and laugh all the way to the bank. I don't know which category Michael Connelly falls into, but he got a nod of approval from novelist and critic Joyce Carol Oates in a recent essay in the New York Review of Books.

In the piece about James Ellroy, she referenced that writer's 1996 memoir "My Dark Places" about his investigation into his mother's slaying in 1958. She wrote: "Ellroy is the inspiration for his fellow crime writer Michael Connelly's Los Angeles homicide detective Hieronymus Bosch a moody and somewhat violently inclined man, whose mother, when he was a child, was brutally raped and murdered, and her assailant was never identified. Connelly's Harry Bosch series - 16 novels beginning with 'The Black Echo' (1992); the most recent in 'The Reversal' (2010) - ranks among the very best police procedurals in contemporary fiction and like Ellroy's more sprawling and more densely plotted novels, aspires to cultural significance far beyond the usual range of the genre."

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

Connelly is responsible for an additional four books in which lawyer Mickey Haller is the main protagonist, two more starring crime reporter Jack McEvoy and a few others such as "Blood Work," which was made into a movie by Clint Eastwood. The 17th in the Bosch series, "The Drop," will be on the bookshelves in November. Of course, the Philadelphian is nowhere near as prolific as the spectacular Ms. Oates. Nobody is.

Scanlon gets another award

As mentioned in this space before, librarian at the Center for Worker Education at City College Seamus Scanlon is an enthusiast of the crime genre, especially the new wave of Irish Noir. He writes, too, and will be presented in Cork in July with a check for €1,000 (that's $1,400) as the 2011 Fish Publishing One Page Fiction Winner. He was the runner-up last year and also the winner of the Over The Edge Writer of the Year. The latter award brings him back to his home place tomorrow evening where he'll be reading at the Galway City Library.

Scanlon, who was a 2009 recipient of the Carnegie Corporation/New York Times award for librarianship, recently authored a paper entitled: "The Taliban: a study of book collections on the Taliban in academic, public and West Point libraries."

McKeon goes on tour

Playwright and Irish Times journalist Belinda McKeon has at age 31 become a published novelist. "Solace" (Simon & Schuster), which is set in Dublin and her own County Longford from 2006 through 2008, was launched at Glucksman Ireland House last week.

McKeon, who now lives in Brooklyn with her Leitrim-born husband, is currently on a book tour that will wrap up with two readings on the East Coast: KGB Bar, 5 East 4th St., Manhattan, on June 9, at 7 p.m., and the New Haven Festival of Arts & Ideas, 1080 Chapel St., on June 14 at 5:30.

For details about her events in Newton, Mass. (June 1), Chicago (June 4) and Winnetka, Ill. (June 6, with Colm Toibín), go to the authors' appearances section at