Tag Archives: Michael Connelly

Book Review: The Night Fire, Michael Connelly

This is another novel from Michael Connelly featuring his new detective partnership, Ballard and Bosch. Renee Ballard is a young woman who, through no fault of her own, works the undesirable night shift at the LAPD. To supplement the drudge work she is assigned, she investigates cases on the side, with some assistance from retired detective Harry Bosch. Now that Bosch is 70 years old, he’s showing signs of wear and tear (his knee is a problem and he walks with a cane). Despite that, his appetite to solve crimes is undiminished and he does a lot of the leg work, whilst leaving the action and limelight to Ballard.

The book starts with the trial of a suspect charged with the murder of a judge. Unusually, Bosch assists the lawyer for the defence (his half-brother Micky Haller) and on examination of the case file, he finds a flaw in the original investigation. Being Bosch, he isn’t satisfied with helping Haller on the case, he revives the original investigation to find the real killer. Meanwhile, Ballard is called to investigate the death of a rough sleeper who burned to death in his tent. Whilst initially not suspicious, this case warrants further investigation because the deceased stood to inherit a fortune.

A further case is featured in this book, after a widow of Bosch’s former mentor passes a murder book to him. This seemingly unpromising case (a drug-related murder in a side alley 30 years ago) reveals much about the mentor and gives Ballard and Bosch the dual-challenge of not only tracking down the killer, but also keeping their investigation legitimate so that it can go to trial.

By coincidence, I read The Overlook just before this one, and that book has the story behind Bosch’s chronic myeloid leukaemia due to caesium poisoning.

As ever, Connelly has written a good page-turner in this book, although not up there with his best.
Three stars

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Book Review: The Overlook, Michael Connelly

This Harry Bosch thriller is more than just a murder case. Public safety is at stake, with a sizeable amount of a radioactive substance having been taken from medical facilities, possibly by terrorists. Whilst Harry Bosch is intent on solving the murder, federal agencies are focussed on chasing the trail of the caesium before it can be turned into a dirty bomb. Tensions mount, with Harry unsure whether he can even trust his some-time lover, special agent Rachel Walling, who is heading up the Tactical Intelligence Unit of the LA FBI office.
Four stars

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Book Review: Dark Sacred Night, Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch continues to investigate the murder of his friend Elizabeth’s daughter, Daisy Clayton. Whilst he’s a volunteer at the San Fernando Police Department, he bends the rules by turning up at the LAPD to go through some old files. There, he meets Renee Ballard for the first time – she subsequently works out which cold case he’s pursuing, and they team up.

Meanwhile, for the ‘day job’, Bosch investigates a gang-land killing. A witness reveals some details of the shooting many years ago and Bosch heads up a forensic examination at a garage which might still harbour clues. This doesn’t go un-noticed by the gang and Bosch finds himself in considerable danger.

With Ballard and Bosch teaming up, the author has plenty of scope to highlight the similarities and differences between them. Both like to work alone and push on with a case even to the point of danger – Ballard was kidnapped in The Late Show, Bosch abducted in this thriller. Yet Bosch needs someone to keep him honest – he strays dangerously close to being a vigilante in this story and Ballard admonishes him for that.
Four stars

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Book Review: The Late Show, Michael Connelly

This detective thriller by Michael Connelly introduces Renee Ballard as his latest character. Ballard has been relegated to the night shift at the LAPD, following friction with her former boss. Her passions are solving crime and surfing/paddle-boarding on the sea – she has an unconventional lifestyle, hanging out at the beach with her dog during the day (often sleeping in a tent) then working at night.

This book follows quite a complex plot across several cases. The primary case is the assault of Ramona Ramone, a sex worker brutally attacked and left with unusual bruising, as if from lettered knuckledusters. Ballard is then sent to the scene of a mass shooting at Dancers Club – this opens a new plot line and Ballard believes that a dirty cop shot the victims to cover his involvement in organised crime. Ballard follows clues to a likely perpetrator of the assault on Ramone at an “upside-down” house – whilst investigating, we find out that Ballard is prepared to break a few rules here and there, much like Connelly’s established detective, Harry Bosch. Bosch is mentioned in this book, but does not appear.

The book covers several different cases and at times it was difficult to keep track. Worth reading, though, as the first in what’s likely to be a number of books featuring Renee Ballard.
Four stars

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Book Review: Two Kinds of Truth, Michael Connelly

This is another excellent thriller in Connelly’s Harry Bosch series – it also features his half-brother Micky Haller.

We follow two storylines. In the first, Bosch is haunted by a murder case that is under review. The convicted killer now claims that a vital piece of evidence, a necklace belonging to the deceased, was planted in his apartment by Bosch. In the second, Bosch is part of an investigation into a ‘live’ murder case of father and son pharmacists. A gang are organising wholesale distribution of prescription drugs, sending addicts to fraudulently obtain the drugs with the necessary paperwork provided by unscrupulous medics. Someone must infiltrate the gang by going undercover – but Bosch is torn because he also needs the time to clear his name for the case under review.
Four stars

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Book Review: The Closers, Michael Connelly

I bought this book from a charity book shop, so it could have come anywhere in the timeline of the Harry Bosch series. I was quite amused that this one heralds Bosch coming out of retirement to work in the Open-Unsolved Unit of the LAPD – the last book that I read in this series was when he came out of retirement after he’d left the Open-Unsolved Unit!

Bosch and partner Kiz Rider are assigned to investigate the murder of a schoolgirl many years before. The case is being reviewed in the light of DNA evidence – they hope that blood on the murder weapon will lead them to the killer. As might be expected, they witness the devastating effect the crime had on the girl’s mother and father. The mother’s life is on hold years later, waiting for resolution. The father has lost his career and is homeless – but Bosch tracks him down. He finds that the man blames himself for letting his daughter down, having been scared off from asking questions about the investigation by senior members in the LAPD.

Whilst the investigation necessarily follows the car mechanic whose blood was found on the gun, the investigators know that he may not be the killer. They need to link him to the girl somehow – probing attendance at the same school or overlapping social circles in the town. Yet, none of the girl’s friends recognise the man.

Four Stars

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Book Review: The Wrong Side of Goodbye, Michael Connelly

This book is from the Harry Bosch series by Connelly and comes at a critical time. Detective Bosch has left the cold crimes unit in the LAPD, so how can the author continue to provide him with a stream of crimes to investigate? Take on some private investigator work and volunteer for the San Fernando Police Department – that’s how. This gives an interesting mix and new dilemmas – Bosch is forbidden from using police resources (such as databases) for his private work, but will he abide by the rules?

In this thriller, Bosch investigates whether a billionaire industrialist has an heir to his fortune (a private assignment) and is hot on the tracks of a serial rapist he calls ‘The Screen Cutter’ (police work). Meanwhile, his daughter Maddie has started at university, giving a glimpse of Bosch ‘the man’ as well as the detective. I loved his attempts to improve her security by putting a dog bowl (full of water) outside the kitchen door. There’s also a cameo for Bosch’s half-brother, Micky Haller, on the inheritance case.

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Book Review: Nine Dragons, Michael Connelly

This Harry Bosch thriller starts with an investigation into the murder of a Chinese convenience store owner. It happens that this very man gave shelter to Harry in his shop during a riot, so he resolves to do everything he can to track down the culprit. During the investigation, the author answers a lingering question – how did Harry suddenly find himself looking after his teenage daughter, in later books in the series? The daughter, Madeline, was living with her mother Eleanor Wish in Hong Kong – they become an integral part of this story when a Triad gang decide to ward off Harry’s murder investigation by kidnapping Maddie.

The book has plenty of plot twists to keep the reader’s interest, but I found it too far-fetched. Identify the location of the kidnapping from a fleeting, blurred view out of the window in the ransom video? Find Maddie in the middle of Hong Kong, a city Bosch hardly knows, given just 24 hours? No problem, and why not leave a trail of destruction behind when Bosch catches a flight home with Maddie? A nice touch is when another of the author’s characters, lawyer Micky Haller, steps in to defend Bosch from any awkward charges from the Hong Kong police.

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Book Review: The Burning Room, Michael Connelly

theburningroomThis is another in the Harry Bosch series. He teams up with a rookie detective Lucia Soto to investigate the death of a mariachi band member (who succumbed to complications from being shot ten years earlier). We later discover that Soto has connections to the area and a background investigation runs in parallel into a horrific fire that killed a number of children (and from which Soto escaped).
Three Stars

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Book Review: Angel’s Flight, Michael Connelly

AngelsFlightThis is another Harry Bosch thriller by Michael Connelly. This one is set at a period of time when Harry is married to Eleanor, but the marriage is in trouble. A bad time, then, to be assigned to a highly sensitive case which could trigger riots in the discontented city if handled injudiciously.

Bosch has to handle inter-departmental politics and work with a team headed by Chasten, his sworn enemy who has investigated his own conduct in the past. The case centres on the death of Elias, a celebrity lawyer known for taking, and usually winning, cases against the LAPD.

Harry is assisted by Kizmin Rider and Jerry Edgar, but has to watch out for a high-level leak from within the case. It’s a good read, though the background case of a murdered young girl is rather harrowing.
Three Stars

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