In this first installment of the Renée Ballard series, #1 bestselling author Michael Connelly introduces a "complicated and driven" young detective fighting to prove herself on the LAPD's toughest beat (The New York Times).
Renee Ballard works the midnight shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing few, as each morning she turns everything over to the daytime units. It's a frustrating job for a once up-and-coming detective, but it's no accident. She's been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.
But one night Ballard catches two assignments she doesn't want to part with. First, a prostitute is brutally beaten and left for dead in a parking lot. All signs point to a crime of premeditation, not passion, by someone with big evil on his mind. Then she sees a young waitress breathe her last after being caught up in a nightclub shooting. Though dubbed a peripheral victim, the waitress buys Ballard a way in, and this time she is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her partner's wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night.
As the investigations intertwine, Ballard is forced to face her own demons and confront a danger she could never have imagined. To find justice for these victims who can't speak for themselves, she must put not only her career but her life on the line.
Propulsive as a jolt of adrenaline and featuring a bold and defiant new heroine, The Late Show is yet more proof that Michael Connelly is "a master of the genre" (Washington Post).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We’d bet that Michael Connelly—creator of veteran Los Angeles detective Hieronymus Bosch—counts Midas as a distant relative. His romping police procedural The Late Show—a timely reimagining of the hardboiled detective novel—really is pure gold. After being relegated to the LAPD night shift, tenacious investigator Renée Ballard stumbles upon three intertwining cases that force her to fight institutionalized dirty politics and rampant gender inequality while trying to get justice for female victims. Equal parts emotional and technical, this masterfully crafted novel owes its magnetic qualities to its offbeat, delightfully flawed heroine.
The title of this excellent series launch from bestseller Connelly (The Wrong Side of Goodbye and 20 other Harry Bosch novels) refers to the midnight shift at LAPD's Hollywood Division. Det. Ren e Ballard has landed there in retribution for filing sexual harassment charges against her former boss, Lt. Robert Olivas. Two major crimes soon concern Ballard: the vicious beating of a woman, who says she was assaulted in the "upside-down house" but passes out before she can explain, and a nightclub shooting that kills five people. Though most "late show" cops hand off cases to their day shift counterparts, Ballard personally investigates the assault (with official approval) and the nightclub shooting (without). Olivas, who's leading the latter investigation, wants her nowhere near the case. What follows is classic Connelly: a master class of LAPD internal politics and culture, good old-fashioned detective work, and state-of-the-art forensic science plus a protagonist who's smart, relentless, and reflective. Talking about the perpetrator of the assault, Ballard says, "This is big evil out there." That's Connelly's great theme, and, once again, he delivers.
I kept guessing who the perpetrator was.
Ballard is an admirable character.
The late show
Not up to his normal standards.
A good read
I buy Connolly's books without bothering with reading any reviews - there aren't any crime novels any better than Harry Bosch and, lately, Mickey Haller. But neither are represented in this latest by Connolly.
That is not to say this isn't a good read - it is and I give it 5-stars. But it is not in the class of the best Bosch books.