Sunday, November 14, 2021

The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly

Good morning, everyone! Today I am super excited to be part of the Compulsive Readers tour for Michael Connelly's latest, The Dark Hours

It's New Year's Eve 2020 and Renée Ballard is working her usual night shift when a call comes in about a possible shooting. 

Ballard was actually already working a case, that of the Midnight Men, a pair of rapists who'd already established an MO of attacking on holidays. But as the night detective, it's Ballard's job to respond to any calls where a detective is needed. 

And that's why she finds herself at a car lot where a neighborhood celebration has apparently ended in a death. And while it's commonplace for the midnight shooting in LA to cause damage, Ballard immediately suspects this is something much worse. 

Her suspicions are soon confirmed and the case is labeled a homicide. And when Ballard learns that it's tied to an old case worked by Harry Bosch, she's determined to keep it. Except the Midnight Men did indeed claim a victim that night as well. And Ballard is on thin ice working both cases, especially when she brings the retired Bosch into the fold. 

But at a time when the department is under so much pressure and scrutiny, Ballard doesn't have the faith that her colleagues can, or will, actually do either job justice. 

I love this series so much! 

To be very clear, this is book 4 in the Renée Ballard series and technically book 23 in the Harry Bosh series—and (deep breath) book 35 in the Harry Bosch UNIVERSE. It's a lot, I know! (Mickey Haller is Bosch's half brother, so those books are tied into the official series, but all of the characters live in the Bosch universe, which means there's a lot of cross over.)

And I was actually super intimidated to dive into the Bosch series itself given the massive backlist. But I was, admittedly, already a HUGE fan and supporter of the show.  So when Connelly debuted a new, at the time, standalone featuring a detective relegated to the night shift, I was all in. And when it expanded into a series that also included Bosch...well, that was all I needed to dive wholeheartedly into Bosch's world!

If you fall into that same conundrum, I would highly recommend starting with Renée to bring you into the world. And I do suggest reading the books in order. They are:

Dark Sacred Night (I read this one with a newborn in tow and didn't actually get around to doing a post)
The Dark Hours

Ballard is fantastic! She's dogged and determined. And she really does not take any shit. Which is kind of why she's on the night shift already. Except that she actually likes it. 

But it means she usually has to hand over any cases to the actual investigating departments once day comes. Understandably frustrating for a cop who likes to see things through to the end. 

The book is set mid pandemic and Connelly acknowledges, in more than one way, the current happenings. The department is seeing the effects of the protests and Covid, and Ballard both understands and bucks the fatigue many of her colleagues are feeling. But it's frustrating for her, too. 

She's supposed to have a partner in the Midnight Men investigation, something odd for the detective who usually works solo. And she's stuck handling it alone when said partner decides too soon that their perps took a break for New Years. 

Which is another reason she ends up leaning on Bosch. And while Ballard fully recognizes that Harry is the kind of mentor she both wants and needs, his own history with the department and the fact that he's retired means it could land her in a lot of trouble. 

But Ballard and Bosch make a truly excellent team. And it's a great way for the retired detective to remain in the game. Especially considering he has so many cases that still gnaw at him!

Be sue to check out the remaining stops on Connelly's virtual tour here

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