We’re thrilled to announce that veteran LAPD detective Mitzi Roberts is the special guest for our gathering on April 21 with author Michael Connelly and host John Freeman. Roberts is the real-life detective on whom Connelly modeled his fictional detective Renée Ballard, the protagonist of our April California Book Club pick, The Dark Hours. As Connelly told novelist and critic Charles Finch, Ballard was crafted as an “exaggeration of Mitzi’s personality.” Ballard is fierce and determined and relentless, traits that are dramatized to impressive effect in the course of her gripping investigation of rapists and predators dubbed the Midnight Men in The Dark Hours.
Roberts’s career is no less exciting. She has served on the LAPD for more than 25 years. She started out investigating gang crime in the San Fernando Valley and then worked the graveyard shift at the LAPD. However, she soon cracked the glass ceiling and moved up the ladder, becoming a detective in the department’s elite Robbery-Homicide Division. She is currently in charge of the LAPD’s cold case unit.
In 2012, Roberts’s investigation of a cold case led to the apprehension of disturbing serial killer Samuel Little. While Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy may be more familiar names, the FBI has declared Little the most prolific killer in United States history. Before dying, he confessed to killing 93 women across the country, many of them unidentified, many of them living on the margins.
Like Ballard, Roberts has a love of surfing and animals and is quick on her feet. And Roberts has also been a consultant, writer, and actor on the television show Bosch, based on Connelly’s classic detective character of the same name—though not as Ballard, who is not a character in the series.
Whether you’re a longtime fan of Connelly’s novels or you discovered The Dark Hours by reading along with us this month, you know that one of Connelly’s virtues as a writer is his curiosity. He strives to get detective work right on the page, not only in terms of procedure but also in terms of his characters’ motivations and thought processes. Roberts is one of the detectives who informs his understanding of how successful detectives think while solving mysteries. This month’s CBC gathering to discuss The Dark Hours will be a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse into writing crime novels as well as the dangerous and challenging real-life detective work that inspires them. •
Connelly will join the California Book Club on April 21 at 5 p.m. Pacific time to discuss The Dark Hours with host John Freeman and special guest LAPD detective Mitzi Roberts. Join us in the Alta Clubhouse to discuss this page-turner’s themes and characters. Register here for this fascinating conversation.
INSIDE A PI’S LIFE
Music journalist Jim Ruland’s Corporate Rock Sucks: The Rise and Fall of SST Records is a narrative history of an iconic punk and alternative-rock record label. —Alta
L.A. TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS
Visit the Alta booth (#111) at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 23 and 24 to meet 12 of our phenomenal California Book Club authors and contributors. —Alta
Alta contributor Vanessa Hua’s third book, Forbidden City, about a woman who dances in a troupe that performs for Chairman Mao, will be coming out in May. Publishers Weekly calls it “magnificent.” —Nob Hill Gazette
BOOKS, BOOKS, AND MORE BOOKS
Peruse an everything guide to literary Los Angeles that includes the stories of beloved indie bookstores, writers on post-pandemic hangouts, and 49 authors on people, places, and passages that inspire them. —Los Angeles Times
PAEAN TO POP SINGERS
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