The Dark Hours, by Michael Connelly

The new Ballard & Bosch thriller

Book blurb:

On New Year’s Eve at the end of one of the hardest years in history, hundreds of revellers shoot their guns into the air in time-honoured LA tradition. But as the rain of lead comes down, a man is shot dead in the middle of a crowded street party.

Detective Renée Ballard soon connects the bullet to an unsolved cold case last worked by legendary ex-LAPD detective Harry Bosch. As they investigate where the old and new cases connect, a new crime shatters the night shift.

The Midnight Men are a pair of violent predators who stalk the city during the dark hours, and will kill to keep their identities secret.

In a police department shaken to the core by pandemic and protests, both cases have the power to save Ballard’s belief in the job – or take everything from her…

My review:

Michael Connelly is a master story-teller, and this, the new Ballard and Bosch thriller, is yet another humdinger of a read. I love the partnership between my all-time-favourite detective, Harry Bosch, and (fairly) new kid on the block, Renée Ballard, and couldn’t wait to read The Dark Hours. Once again, the author serves up a fast-paced, gripping and well-plotted story.

In The Dark Hours we get to revisit the fantastic teamwork between Bosch, who’s not getting any younger, and the feisty, straight-down-the-line Ballard. Neither is scared of putting in the hard yards, nor waiving procedure when it gets in the way of hunting down the baddies.

Ballard finds herself embroiled in two investigations. One is the case of a rare, two-man rape team that targets lone women in their homes after midnight. The other is the murder of a former gang member. His death may have been mistaken for a horrendous New Year’s Eve accident, but Ballard recognises it as a murder. Although not really in her bailiwick, she desperately wants to hang on to this investigation. Things have been bad in the force lately, and this big case may just be what she needs to pull her out of her despair. She’s disillusioned with the job, the department and the people around her.

With so much on her plate, she needs the help of her old friend and mentor, and old-timer Bosch is wonderful the way he drops everything to help. Now long retired, he trusts her judgement and is always there for her.

There are plenty of ups and downs for Ballard in this story, and we are given further glimpses into her personal life that add depth. There are also loads of police politics and, as usual, references to current affairs. Connelly doesn’t ignore the fact that the story takes place in the midst of a pandemic, and the January riots at the Capitol play their part as well.

This author is also wonderful with his brief descriptions of all the minor characters that make them spring off the pages (“his years on the job had also wrapped him in a tight cocoon of inertia”). I really got worked up about Renée’s useless colleague who was defeated by circumstances and spent her time trying to skive off. By contract, Bosch and Ballard give their all, with Ballard literally putting her life on the line to catch the Midnight Men.

All in all, a great read.

About the author:

Michael Connelly was born in Philadelphia, PA on July 21, 1956. He moved to Florida with his family when he was 12 years old. Michael decided to become a writer after discovering the books of Raymond Chandler while attending the University of Florida. Once he decided on this direction he chose a major in journalism and a minor in creative writing.

After graduating in 1980, Connelly worked at newspapers in Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, primarily specialising in the crime beat.  In Fort Lauderdale he wrote about police and crime during the height of the murder and violence wave that rolled over South Florida during the so-called cocaine wars. In 1986, he and two other reporters spent several months interviewing survivors of a major airline crash. They wrote a magazine story on the crash and the survivors which was later short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. The magazine story also moved Connelly into the upper levels of journalism, landing him a job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, one of the largest papers in the country, and bringing him to the city of which his literary hero, Chandler, had written.

Michael is the bestselling author of 35 novels and one work of non-fiction. With over 80 million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into forty foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. His very first novel, The Black Echo, won the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. In 2002, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the movie adaptation of Connelly’s 1998 novel, Blood Work. In March 2011, the movie adaptation of his #1 bestselling novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, hit theatres worldwide starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller. His most recent #1 New York Times bestsellers include Dark Sacred Night, Two Kinds Of TruthThe Late Show, The Wrong Side Of GoodbyeThe CrossingThe Burning RoomThe Gods of Guilt, and The Black Box. Michael’s crime fiction career was honoured with the Diamond Dagger from the CWA in 2018.

Michael is the executive producer of Bosch, an Amazon Studios original drama series based on his bestselling character Harry Bosch, starring Titus Welliver. Bosch streams on Amazon Prime Video. He is the creator and host of the podcast Murder Book. He is also the executive producer of the documentary films, Sound Of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story and Tales of the AmericanHe spends his time in California and Florida.

Blog tour:

My thanks to @Tr4cyF3nt0n of Compulsive Readers for my spot on the blog tour. Look out for the reviews by all the other wonderful bloggers featured on the tour. #TheDarkHours #NetGalley

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