The sins of the past cast a long shadow in bestseller Connelly’s superlative second novel featuring detectives Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch together (after 2018’s Dark Sacred Night). After the funeral of former LAPD Det. John Jack Thompson, the man’s widow gives Bosch a murder book that Thompson took when he left the force a couple of decades before. The cold case concerns the unsolved homicide of 24-year-old John Hilton, an addict who was killed in an alley in 1990. What’s unclear is why Bosch’s old mentor stole the murder book—to work the case himself in retirement, or to keep other detectives from working it? Bosch takes the book to Ballard, a kindred spirit; both are outliers with a shared fire for fighting injustice no matter where the trail leads. Meanwhile, defense attorney Mickey Haller enlists Bosch, his half-brother, to assist in defending a mentally ill man accused of murdering a superior court judge. Conflicting DNA evidence and a problematic confession complicate the high profile case. Connelly is without peer when it comes to police procedurals, and once again proves that he’s the modern master of the form. Agent: Philip Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary. (Oct.)
A cold case pulls Harry Bosch back from retirement and into another eventful partnership with Detective Renée Ballard of the LAPD.
The widow of Bosch's retired mentor, Detective John Jack Thompson, has a present for Bosch, and it's a doozy: the murder book for the unsolved killing of ex-con John Hilton, shot to death in his car one night nearly 20 years ago, which Thompson swiped from the archives without authorization or explanation. Bosch, who wonders why Thompson lifted the murder book if he didn't intend to work the case, is eager to take a crack at it himself, but he needs the resources that only an active partner can provide. But Ballard, settled into the routine of the midnight shift after her exile from Robbery-Homicide (Dark Sacred Night, 2018), has just started working her own case, the arson that killed Eddie, a homeless man, inside his tent. As if that's not enough criminal activity, Bosch's half brother, Lincoln lawyer Mickey Haller, faces the apparently hopeless defense of Jeffrey Herstadt, who not only left his DNA under the fingernail of Walter Montgomery, the Superior Court judge he's accused of killing, but also obligingly confessed to the murder. Working sometimes in tandem, more often separately, and sometimes actively against the cops who naturally bridle at the suggestion that any of their own theories or arrests might be flawed, Ballard and Bosch slog through the usual dead ends and fruitless rounds of questioning to link two murders separated by many years to a single hired killer. The most mysterious question of all—why did John Jack Thompson steal that murder book in the first place?—is answered suddenly, casually, and surprisingly.
Middling for this standout series but guaranteed to please anyone who thinks the cops sometimes get it wrong.
" The Night Fire offers more than a few incendiary surprises." Paula L. Woods, Los Angeles Times
"Connelly is without peer when it comes to police procedurals, and once again proves that he's the modern master of the form." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Remarkable narrative legerdemain...Not only has
Connelly created another fully formed series lead in Renée, who has her own fascinating backstory, but he has also forged a fascinating yin-and-yang relationship between the old school Harry and the unconventional loner
Renèe...Master chef Connelly has once again combined familiar ingredients into a new and completely satisfying dish. Connelly is on a roll, with three consecutive number-one New York Times bestsellers. Don't bet against number four." Bill Ott, Booklist (starred review)
PRAISE FOR DARK SACRED NIGHT:
"Spectacular... Dark Sacred Night is ingenious, frantically suspenseful, and very, very bleak." Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post
"Readers know that when they pick up a Michael Connelly novel they will get a compelling and well-written dive into the world of crime and law enforcement...What makes Connelly so much better than most crime fiction writers is that his police detectives are human and real. The combination is quality." Jeff Ayers, Associated Press
"Michael Connelly is superhuman...His hallmark has been his precise, faultless plotting...He's always been especially good when it comes to truly creepy killers, and his denouement here is thrilling." Charles Finch, USA Today
"It was only last year that Connelly introduced Ballard, a fierce and fascinating new protagonist who instantly emerged as a reader favorite. Bosch, meanwhile, is a grizzled veteran by now; Dark Sacred Night marks the 21st novel to center on him. But fans always finish eager to come back for more." David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly
"One of the best and most affecting Bosch novels since Mr. Connelly began the Bosch saga in 1992...It seems as is the vulnerable Harry Bosch has met the sympathetic Renée Ballard just in the nick of time." Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
A fire that kills a homeless man and a cold case left to retired LAPD detective Harry Bosch by his recently deceased mentor bring current LAPD detective Renée Ballard and Harry back together for a roller-coaster crime-solving ride. Master storyteller Connelly manages to top himself with his latest intensely gripping thriller, his 22nd Bosch story and third Ballard novel. He tells a superb tale with an economy of words using a no-nonsense, fly-on-the-wall style of writing. Keeping the chapters short and the Bosch and Ballard sections separate brilliantly aids in the thought process continuity that readers will find necessary for this mystery containing many irons in the fire, a few holy cows, and edge-of-your-seat chills. Fans will also get to catch up with other frequent costars such as Harry's half brother "Lincoln Lawyer" Mickey Haller, and his now college-age daughter Maddie.
VERDICT Fans of this prolific author of crime dramas and either series will find this best-seller-list-bound novel hard to put down. Though it reads well as a stand-alone, this series is best read in order. [See Prepub Alert, 4/8/19.]—Debbie Haupt, St. Charles City-Cty. Lib. Dist., St Peters, MO