Renée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger. Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice.
I should say from the outset that I have never read any other Michael Connelly books. So, when I saw Dark Sacred Night on NetGalley thought here was an opportunity to put that right.
Michael Connelly has written a lot of books so I was pleased that Dark Sacred Night was just the second in the Renee Ballard series. The first book, The Late Show, has set the scene for Renee working nights for LAPD in Hollywood and that is where we find her in this second book. She gets called to a murder scene one shift and when she returns to base to write up her report she finds a stranger rifling through the files of a colleague. Renee Ballard has just met Harry Bosch – and so have I!
He’s looking into a cold case. It’s not long before they are working the case together. Renée in her spare time and Harry on his own time. Daisy Clayton was abducted and murdered nine years before but it’s become personal for Harry and he’s determined to find her killer.
We alternate between Bosch and Ballard as we learn about their day to day cases and how they fit in and investigate the Daisy Clayton case. This is a fascinating police procedural which feels very real with regard to workload, action and attitudes.
I liked the main characters of Renée and Harry they both have history, they both want to find the bad guys and put them away. Mind you Harry does have his moments and at one point only just comes back from the brink of overstepping the mark.
There is a steady pace to the book which picks up when Harry’s life is threatened and then he goes missing. The storyline with Renee also picks up as it develops along with the tension when Harry disappears and when following up leads.
This was a really interesting read with regard to the police procedural element and I enjoyed the latter part of the storyline as things came to a conclusion. It felt realistic with regards to workload and relationships, interesting how being without her normal partner (away on bereavement leave) was handled on the night shift and how Renée was able to pick up the ‘hobby’ case and work with Bosch. Also, with Harry how he is working ‘part-time’ and investigating Daisy’s case on his own time. I suppose working cold cases gives more of an opportunity to take time. The working of different sections of police and different areas also played well into the storylines. I liked Renée’s character although her personal lifestyle seemed somewhat unusual and it would be interesting to explore that further as the series goes on. Harry was more difficult to get a handle on. No doubt fans of the Bosch series would be more familiar nevertheless I liked him just not everything he did but, again, this could certainly become a part of further books especially given what was hinted at in the epilogue.
I enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend reading it. It gave a different feel to other American crime fiction so a welcome change.
My thanks to Orion via NetGalley for an eCopy of Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly.
Publisher: Orion (Hardback and eBook: 30 Oct. 2018) (Paperback: 16 May 2019)
Author: MICHAEL CONNELLY is the author of thirty-two previous novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Dark Sacred Night, Two Kinds of Truth, and The Late Show. His books, which include the Harry Bosch series and the Lincoln Lawyer series, have sold more than seventy-four million copies worldwide. Connelly is a former newspaper reporter who has won numerous awards for his journalism and his novels. He is the executive producer of Bosch, starring Titus Welliver, and the creator and host of the podcast Murder Book. He spends his time in California and Florida. To find out more, visit Michael’s website: http://www.michaelconnelly.com or Facebook: MichaelConnellyBooks or follow him on Twitter: @Connellybooks
Renée Ballard Series
The Late Show (2017)
Dark Sacred Night (2018) (also featuring Harry Bosch)
The Night Fire (Coming October 2019) (also featuring Harry Bosch)