A Wall Street Journal and South Florida Sun-Sentinel Best Book of the Year
“A masterpiece”—LAPD detective Renée Ballard must join forces with Harry Bosch to find justice in a city scarred by fear and social unrest after a methodical killer strikes on New Year’s Eve (Publishers Weekly).
There’s chaos in Hollywood at the end of the New Year’s Eve countdown. Working her graveyard shift, LAPD detective Renée Ballard waits out the traditional rain of lead as hundreds of revelers shoot their guns into the air. Only minutes after midnight, Ballard is called to a scene where a hardworking auto shop owner has been fatally hit by a bullet in the middle of a crowded street party.
Ballard quickly concludes that the deadly bullet could not have fallen from the sky and that it is linked to another unsolved murder—a case at one time worked by Detective Harry Bosch. At the same time, Ballard hunts a fiendish pair of serial rapists, the Midnight Men, who have been terrorizing women and leaving no trace.
Determined to solve both cases, Ballard feels like she is constantly running uphill in a police department indelibly changed by the pandemic and recent social unrest. It is a department so hampered by inertia and low morale that Ballard must go outside to the one detective she can count on: Harry Bosch. But as the two inexorable detectives work together to find out where old and new cases intersect, they must constantly look over their shoulders. The brutal predators they are tracking are ready to kill to keep their secrets hidden.
Unfolding with unstoppable drive and nail-biting intrigue, The Dark Hours shows that “relentless on their own, Ballard’s and Bosch’s combined skills…could be combustible” (Los Angeles Times).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In Michael Connelly’s intense crime thriller, real-world turmoil ups the pressure to find a killer. When the body of a former gang member is found on the streets of downtown L.A., authorities initially blame a riotous, pandemic-crazed New Year’s Eve celebration. But tough-as-nails LAPD detective Renée Ballard’s meticulous forensics investigation links the shooting to one of legendary retired detective Harry Bosch’s cold cases, leading Connelly’s popular protagonists to team up. Suspense superstar Connelly brilliantly lays out the details of police work with an urgency that puts us on the dark streets where a killer from the past—as well as a mysterious crew of nocturnal predators known as the Midnight Men—is terrorizing the community. Using ripped-from-the-headlines details around COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests to up the suspense, Connelly delivers a page-turning thriller that feels as real as the nightly news.
In bestseller Connelly's stellar fourth novel featuring LAPD Det. Ren e Ballard (after 2019's The Night Fire), Ballard leads the way on two separate cases: the shooting death of Javier Raffa, a former gang member, and the search for a pair of serial rapists dubbed the Midnight Men. A recovered bullet connects the Raffa shooting to an old case of Connelly's main series lead, Harry Bosch. Though Bosch is retired, he willingly helps out and ends up playing a key role in investigating both cases. Meticulous about actual police procedure, Connelly makes the fundamentals of detective work engrossing while providing plenty of suspense and action, including one genuinely shocking scene of violence involving Ballard. He also excels at imbuing his narratives with social commentary, a talent showcased in this entry, which opens with Ballard and her reluctant police partner, Lisa Moore, parked near a homeless encampment on New Year's Eve 2020 ("It had been a bad year with the pandemic and social unrest and violence"). Along the way to a surprising, even hopeful ending, Connelly avoids polemics while exploring such issues as internal disaffection among the police (including Ballard's ambivalence about her career), misogyny and domestic violence, and the political divide that resulted in the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. This is a masterpiece. Agent: Philip Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary.
Refreshing to read a well written book again.
The Dark Stumble
Connelly got away with creating a starring unlikeable character in Bosch by creating sympathetic supporting actors around him, not to mention his writing skills that capture the reader no matter how uncomfortable they may become as the kidnapping drags on.
Ballard is as deplorable in her antisocial behaviors as her 'mentor' Bosch. And a predictable ending using the 'smart-detective-turns-stupid' trope didn’t do her any favors.
Drizzled with a defund-da-police attitude also takes any possibility of an enjoyable read.
Perhaps that was Connelly's theme. Or perhaps he just never really like cops to begin with—fool me once, shame on you…fool me 19 times and I wipe my hands.
Great Detective story! Put Ballard in LAPD management and Bosch as her
Specialist. What a team!