Rediscovered: Michael Connelly’s Earliest John Hancock

In a book of his crime fiction, that is.

Welcome to Autograph Hound Super-Sunday the Second!

A couple of months ago I stopped into the book-haunted quarters in the American Southwest where Dennis McMillan currently is making his lair. Probably most of the books are signed. A large group of Ed McBain. Every Don Winslow. Hillerman. Truluck. So many, come to think of it, it kind of makes me tired just remembering digging around in the shelves and boxes.

But surely one of the primo items was an autographed and dated copy of the first edition of The Black Echo. The first book by Michael Connelly.

Not only that, but a copy of the novel from Connelly’s first-ever signing in a bookstore, in L.A.

Dennis told me he’d been kidding Connelly about bringing in the book to claim the $5 consumer rebate blurbed on the blue wraparound cover band.

Connelly told him getting the fin back depended on having bought two copies of the novel.

Would it be worth it to a collector to tear off the band? You know, to double-check Connelly?

I think we can answer with confidence, Hell no.

I was quite interested to see that Connelly’s full signature isn’t that much more refined than the quick “MC” he’s been doing lately. I felt kind of sorry for him back when a bunch of us signed copies of Measures of Poison at the Austin Bouchercon, thinking that his once elegant holograph had been reduced by years of long, relentless signing lines to the jotted, jagged MC.

No, Connelly started off with a squiggle.

But wouldn’t a few of you love to have this copy with that squiggle in your collection?

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