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LAPD Detective Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch come together again on the murder case that obsessed Bosch's mentor - but was this flame kept alive, or a secret that was meant to be snuffed out?
Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective, he had an inspiring mentor who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case. Now that mentor, J.J. Thompson, is dead, but after his funeral his widow hands Bosch a murder book that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD 20 years before - the unsolved killing of a troubled young man in an alley used for drug deals.
Bosch brings the murder book to Renée Ballard and asks her to help him find what about the case lit Thompson's fire all those years ago. That will be their starting point.
The bond between Bosch and Ballard tightens as they become a formidable investigation team. And they soon arrive at a worrying question: Did Thompson steal the murder book to work the case in retirement, or to make sure it never got solved?
The sins of the past cast a long shadow in bestseller Connelly's superlative second novel featuring detectives Ren e 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.