LAPD detective Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch team up to hunt the brutal killer who is Bosch’s “white whale”—a man responsible for the murder of an entire family.
A year has passed since LAPD detective Renée Ballard quit the force in the face of misogyny, demoralization, and endless red tape. But after the chief of police himself tells her she can write her own ticket within the department, Ballard takes back her badge, leaving “the Late Show” to rebuild and lead the cold case unit at the elite Robbery-Homicide Division.
For years, Harry Bosch has been working a case that haunts him—the murder of an entire family by a psychopath who still walks free. Ballard makes Bosch an offer: come volunteer as an investigator in her new Open-Unsolved Unit, and he can pursue his “white whale” with the resources of the LAPD behind him.
First priority for Ballard is to clear the unsolved rape and murder of a sixteen-year-old girl. The decades-old case is essential to the councilman who supported re-forming the unit, and who could shutter it again—the victim was his sister. When Ballard gets a “cold hit” connecting the killing to a similar crime, proving that a serial predator has been at work in the city for years, the political pressure has never been higher. To keep momentum going, she has to pull Bosch off his own investigation, the case that is the consummation of his lifelong mission.
The two must put aside old resentments and new tensions to run to ground not one but two dangerous killers who have operated with brash impunity. In what may be his most gripping and profoundly moving book yet, Michael Connelly shows once again why he has been dubbed “one of the greatest crime writers of all time” (Ryan Steck, Crimereads).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Retired L.A. police detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch has had it up to here with unsolved cases and old age. When Bosch jumps in to help his erstwhile partner Renée Ballard close a particularly horrific crime he wasn’t able to crack the first time around, he’s dragged into another unsolved murder that leads to the discovery of a serial killer, not to mention lots of red tape and politics. Michael Connelly is at the top of his game with Desert Star. His crisp prose propels the action and takes us through the gritty L.A. streets and the starkly beautiful desert. Whether or not you’re already a fan of the Ballard and Bosch books, this is a must-read with a heart-wrenching final twist.
In bestseller Connelly's thrilling fifth outing for Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch (after 2021's The Dark Hours), Ballard invites the retired Bosch to volunteer for the LAPD's newly revived Open-Unsolved Unit, which she's running, enticing him with the prospect of finding the man responsible for the 2013 slaying of an entire family. She also wants to reopen the 1994 murder of 16-year-old Sarah Pearlman, sister of the L.A. city councilman who helped resuscitate the cold case team. Ballard and Bosch work at the department's new homicide archive where the unsolved murder books are stored: "hallowed ground to Bosch. The library of lost souls." Both cases require deep dives into the past; both lead to great action scenes; and, as always, Connelly displays his encyclopedic knowledge of the latest forensics, such as "Investigative Genetic Genealogy." Bosch, however, takes a low-tech approach and follows leads in the field with his trademark intensity, driven by his desire to restore order in a violent world ("The dark engine of murder would never run low on fuel. Not in his lifetime"). This entry, the 24th Bosch novel, may not be as expansive as The Dark Hours, but it ranks up there with Connelly's best. Agent: Philip G. Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary.
Bosch is slowing down
Characters are great as usual. The cold cases are interesting but a little slow. Liked Idaho panhandle references as I am a transplant from California. Indeed many retired police officers live here. Always a fan. Hope to read future Bosch books. Like to see more Lincoln lawyer also.
You won’t guess what’s going to happen. You won’t guess how it’s going to end. And you won’t stop reading until you see it through.
But once it got rolling… hold on tight!