Michael Connelly is considered one of the top mystery writers around, but when Hollywood got ahold of his novel "Blood Work," the filmmakers blithely removed one of his main characters: the villain.
Instead, an amiable charter fisherman named Buddy, who provided comic relief in the novel, was turned into the serial killer. Talk about a surprise ending for Connelly's fans -- and Connelly!
In his new novel, "The Narrows," a sort of sequel to "Blood Work," Connelly takes a subtle (and surreal) swipe at Tinseltown by having the characters complain about their portrayals in the movie.
"I don't know if you saw the movie, but they made me a waitress in the movie," says one woman. "That's not right. I'm a nurse." As for Buddy, when his offer to help out on an L.A. murder investigation is rebuffed in "The Narrows," he complains: "It wasn't like in the movie where I was made out to be the creep...."
Then Connelly turns on Buddy. He has his main character, Harry Bosch, remind the fisherman: "They paid you, didn't they?" Poor Buddy just can't seem to win.
Back-to-bad-back businesses: Michael Bird of Calabasas found a mall for those who like to work out a little -- or too much (see photo).
None of the above: Surfers are in a class by themselves, judging from the sign William Harper of San Diego saw at the Christ Lutheran Church in Pacific Beach (see photo).
Thanks for the warning: Marshall Giller of Winnetka noticed a marquee that seemed to be frank about the hazards of shaving (see photo).
Fashion police alert: The crime log of the Huntington Beach Independent carried a complaint from a resident who reported that her ex-boyfriend's girlfriend "ruined her lingerie by stretching it out when she put it on."
Mondegreen of the day (law enforcement division): Our latest exercise in miscommunication comes from Carla Barr of Redondo Beach: "Back when reports were dictated into Dictaphones, a new secretary at the Drug Enforcement Administration dutifully typed up that, for their protection, every agent donned a 'rain jacket' before going out to serve a search warrant. The narcs, of course, had been sporting distinctive raid jackets to identify themselves as police officers."
miscelLAny: Deloris St. John read this item in the Laguna Niguel News: "A woman reported her neighbors constantly order pizza and have it delivered to her residence." Asked St. John: "How's this a problem?"
Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012, and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.