Monday, November 25, 2019

The Night Fire by Michael Connelly

When Harry Bosch's old mentor dies, leaving behind the murder book for a twenty-year-old unsolved case, the mystery seems to be why the old cop held onto the book for so long. And the answer isn't easy to come by. Bosch asks Renee Ballard to help unravel the mystery and she becomes determined to solve the the murder itself. But two decades on, this presents some obvious challenges. 

Meanwhile, Bosch's help on one of Mickey Haller's cases leads to the acquittal of a suspect in the murder of a California judge. But that also means the real criminal is still out there, something Bosch can't let go. But his digging catches the attention of officers none to pleased to see the retired cop lending a hand as well. And with Ballard's position in the force somewhat precarious as well, it seems neither of them is going to clear their respective investigations without making a few new enemies in the process. 

I'm not sure if I've mentioned, but I've been a bit intimidated by the Bosch series. I love the show—I think Titus Welliver is wonderful and I anxiously await each new season. But breaking into the books has been a bit harder for me to manage. I mean, this is technically number 22 in the series! That's a lot of backlist if you aren't sure starting from the middle will make sense.

But when Connelly started the Renee Ballard series a couple years back, I dove in headfirst. And when Ballard's and Bosch's paths crossed, blending the two series together, I was not deterred in the least! In fact, I even started working my way back through the Bosch books, starting with the audios narrated by Welliver himself! My tally so far this year is 6 Connelly titles, most of them on audio. And the year's not done yet.

Readers, you can safely say I am a fan!

The Night Fire continues a track started in the previous Ballard/Bosch outing, Dark Sacred Night, in which the two decide they'll work cases together. Which is why Bosch is comfortable handing the file left to him by his old mentor over to the Late Show cop. Ballard has the connections to more convincingly nose into the case and Bosch has a couple of fires burning on his end already that require attention.

The two work well together and I love the interplay between them. Bosch tends to take a fatherly role that Ballard bucks every chance she can get. I also love that this book brings Haller in as well, much the way the last handful of Bosch titles have. He's not a main player here, but a vehicle for a couple of the subplots running through the story, including the case Bosch takes on for closure.

If you're interested in diving into Connelly's work, I'd recommend starting with The Late Show at the very least. This is the first in Ballard's series and, while it doesn't involve Bosch, it does give you a chance to get to know Ballard as a character, which makes it easier to understand her motivations moving forward into Dark Sacred Night and The Night Fire.

Connelly is a master of crime fiction and an absolute (new) favorite of mine!

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