Dark Sacred Night (Renee Ballard #2, Harry Bosch #21) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: October 30, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

LAPD Detective Renée Ballard teams up with Harry Bosch in the new thriller from #1 NYT bestselling author Michael Connelly.

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.

Review –

“Harry Bosch, who just can’t stay retired, unwillingly teams up with a Hollywood detective who has reasons of her own for wanting in on his latest cold case.

It may be nine years since 15-year-old runaway Daisy Clayton was grabbed from the streets of Los Angeles and killed, but the daily presence of her mother, Elizabeth, in Harry’s life—she’s staying at his place while he helps her stay clean—makes it a foregone conclusion that he’ll reopen the case. On the night Bosch drops into Hollywood Division to sneak a look at some of the old files, he’s caught by Detective Renée Ballard, who was bounced from LAPD Robbery/Homicide to “the late show,” Hollywood’s third shift, after her complaint about aggressive harassment by a superior went nowhere. Bosch needs to find out who was responsible for what happened to Daisy; Ballard needs to work a case with teeth, even if she’s partnering with a reserve investigator in the San Fernando Police Department (Two Kinds of Truth, 2017, etc.) who’d rather work alone. Before they get what they need, they’ll have to wade through a double caseload as grueling and sometimes as maddeningly routine as you can imagine, from an apparent murder that turns out to be a slip-and-fall to an ancient gang killing whose repercussions flare to sudden life to the theft of some valuable Andy Warhol prints to a missing man who’s not just missing—not to mention Elizabeth’s sudden disappearance and Ballard’s continuing lack of support, and sometimes even backup, from her department. Not even the canniest readers are likely to see which of these byways will end up leading to the long-overdue solution to the riddle of Daisy Clayton’s death.

Fans who don’t think the supporting cases run away with the story will marvel at Connelly’s remarkable ability to keep them all not only suitably mystifying, but deeply humane, as if he were the Ross Macdonald of the police procedural.” Kirkus Review

Five stars!

After reading The Late Show last December I said the Michael Connelly had hit a home run with the new character of Renee Ballard and this book solidly confirmed it. Adding to it, she partners with Harry Bosch on a cold case and together they save each others lives and solve both cases.  Fantastic!!!!

Now, I have to wait another year for the next installment but I know it will be worth it!

 

 

 

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Two Kinds of Truth (Harry Bosch #20) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: October 31, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Harry Bosch is back as a volunteer working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch and the town’s 3-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of pill mills and prescription drug abuse.

Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch’s LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him, and seems to have new evidence to prove it. Bosch left the LAPD on bad terms, so his former colleagues aren’t keen to protect his reputation. He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison.

The two unrelated cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire. Along the way Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.

Review –

Just finished listening to this installment of the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly, and I loved it. As you may remember the character of Harry Bosch is one of my favorites.

In this one, number twenty in the series, Harry Bosch juggles yet another cold case turned flaming red hot with the sort of brand-new case that would be routine for anyone but him.

Thirty years ago, Harry  was sure that Preston Borders had raped and murdered three young women. The district attorney’s office, less confident about two of the cases, still managed to convict Borders of killing Danielle Skyler. A jury gave him the death penalty, and he’s been sitting in San Quentin ever since. Now, however, it looks as if he may get out, and not because he’s been executed. An analysis of the evidence that went unexamined back in 1988 has identified the DNA on Danielle’s pajama bottoms as that of Lucas John Olmer, who died in a different prison and never met Borders. Under the guidance of sharp-practice lawyer Lance Cronyn, Borders has filed a habeas corpus petition, made a new statement accusing Harry of planting evidence against him, and expressed a serious interest in suing everyone in sight. Harry has only nine days before the habeas hearing to defuse this ticking bomb. But how can he possibly find the time to work the case when the murder of José Esquivel Sr. and Jr., a pharmacist and his son, at their family business has swept the San Fernando Police Department—where Bosch, booted off the LAPD, is now volunteering—into a hurricane of fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions and provoked Bosch to agree for the first time in his life to go undercover as an addict and potential drug mule? You have to keep in mind in the forty years that Harry has worked in law enforcement he has never been undercover and he is now over 65. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to watch his performance!

The author, Michael Connelly, is a genius when it comes to juggling these two cases and tying up loose ends of another kind to boot. I am not a fan of courtroom scenes but Mr. Connelly has written one that had my blood pumping and standing uptown cheer.

Another great read!!!!!

 

The Late Show (Renee Ballard #1) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: July 18, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

From New York Times best-selling author Michael Connelly, a new thriller introducing a driven young detective trying to prove herself in the LAPD.

Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job, no matter what the department throws at her.

Review –

I love Michael Connelly and his character, Harry Bosch, is one of my favorites so I was a bit surprised to see that he is starting  a new series with a female LAPD detective, Renee Ballard, as the headliner.

Ballard has been banished to the police department’s night shift — the Late Show — because of an ugly incident with her boss. Her Lieutenant made a sexual advance toward her and she filed a sexual harassment claim against him, of which he denied and even denies to her face that it ever happened.  She also feels betrayed by her former partner, and her new partner wants to spend as much time as possible with his wife. So Ballard operates as a lone wolf, Southern California-style.

She doesn’t exactly live anywhere. When her shift ends, she greets the morning by pitching her tent at the beach, changing clothes in her van, getting out her paddle board and hitting the waves, washing away the horrors of the night before. Ballard grew up in Maui. Her father, a surfer raised in California, drowned; her Hawaiian mother wants nothing to do with her. Her closest companions are the grandmother she seldom sees and Lola, her beloved dog.

In the book she  begins by answering an elderly woman’s complaint about credit card fraud. Then she learns of a cross-dresser who’s been savagely attacked. As usual, Connelly relies on his inside-baseball knowledge about police attitudes. “Drag queens, cross-dressers and transgenders were all generally referred to as dragons in vice,” he writes. “No distinctions were made. It wasn’t nice but it was accepted. Ballard had spent two years on a decoy team in the unit herself. She knew the turf and she knew the slang. It would never go away, no matter how many hours of sensitivity training cops were subjected to.”

Then, during the same night, there are “four on the floor in a club on Sunset” — four shooting victims in one booth, and a waitress near the back exit who turns out to be a fifth. This club, the Dancers, takes its name from another in Raymond Chandler’s “The Long Goodbye,” and its drinks are named for Los Angeles literary titles. Connelly doesn’t give Ballard Harry Bosch’s taste for jazz, but he laces the book with noir references. There’s a character who favors brass knuckles that say “Good” and “Evil,” à la Robert Mitchum’s “Love” and “Hate” tattoos in the film “The Night of the Hunter.”

By the end of a highly populated book Ballard will get to the bottom of every aspect of several crimes. And she’ll do a lot more. Smart and fierce, she never stops working. She’s also steamy enough to weaponize seduction if it will help her, and absolutely blunt when she speaks her mind. When a colleague who betrayed her tries to apologize, she responds with an unforgiving tongue-lashing.

The pacing of Ballard’s debut story is breathless. Unless she’s in the water, she never has a peaceful moment: There’s always a lead to follow, a house to scope out, a late-night call to make. One thing she loves about the night shift is feeling entitled to assume a combat stance at 3 a.m., scare some miscreant out of bed and shout: “Police! Let me see your hands.”

Mr. Connelly has hit a home run with this one and I can’t wait for the next installment in the Renee Ballard saga.

Fantastic read.

Five stars!!!!!

 

The Wrong Side of Good-Bye(Harry Bosch #21, Harry Bosch Universe #26) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: November 1, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Detective Harry Bosch must track down someone who may never have existed in the new thriller from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Michael Connelly.

Harry Bosch is California’s newest private investigator. He doesn’t advertise, he doesn’t have an office, and he’s picky about who he works for, but it doesn’t matter. His chops from thirty years with the LAPD speak for themselves.

Soon one of Southern California’s biggest moguls comes calling. The reclusive billionaire is nearing the end of his life and is haunted by one regret. When he was young, he had a relationship with a Mexican girl, his great love. But soon after becoming pregnant, she disappeared. Did she have the baby? And if so, what happened to it?

Desperate to know whether he has an heir, the dying magnate hires Bosch, the only person he can trust. With such a vast fortune at stake, Harry realizes that his mission could be risky not only for himself but for the one he’s seeking. But as he begins to uncover the haunting story–and finds uncanny links to his own past–he knows he cannot rest until he finds the truth.

At the same time, unable to leave cop work behind completely, he volunteers as an investigator for a tiny cash-strapped police department and finds himself tracking a serial rapist who is one of the most baffling and dangerous foes he has ever faced.

Review –

Everyone familiar with the Harry Bosch series know of  Harry’s on-again-off-again relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department. (He won a lawsuit against it for forcing him into early retirement. Still, hostilities persist.) But now Harry  has a new police job, working for the City of San Fernando. San Fernando is a 2.3-square-mile enclave inside Los Angeles, but it has its own small police force, which makes it the perfect hide-out for a loner like Harry. Since Harry works for no pay, he can also take on private investigations.

He takes a commission from a very old and wealthy recluse, Whitney Vance. Harry has an audience with Vance at the older man’s Pasadena estate and is treated to an eerie story. Fifty years ago, Vance was in love with a Mexican girl named Vibiana. She became pregnant, and the Vance family separated him from her forever. Now in his mid-80s, Vance has no known heirs and would like Harry to discover whether there are unknown ones.

There must because the book begins with a Vietnam-era prologue in which a young man, shot down in a helicopter, inexplicably cries out the name “Vibiana!” But Harry quickly discovers that Vance’s teenage sweetheart committed suicide not long after her baby was born and given up for adoption. So where do he and the book go from there? Leave it Harry, he is like a dog with a bone when faced with what seem like impossible odds. Does he find the child and he is dead or alive and did they have heirs?  Not telling. You’ll have to read the book.

The other case in the book, which he is working for the City of San Fernando, is that of the “Screen Cutter”, a rapist who gains access to homes by cutting open window screens. Does Harry find the culprit and will it happen before another innocent woman is violated” Again, not telling.

Harry drives a LOT in this book and the author is very descriptive with the routes and landscape and they come to life for the reader, which makes for a very enjoyable read on its own.

Excellent read for fans of Harry Bosch and those who just love a great “who-dun-it”.

Five stars.

 

 

 

Lost Light (Harry Bosch #9) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: March 1, 2004

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The vision has haunted him for four years–a young woman lying crumpled in death, her hand outstretched in silent supplication. Harry Bosch was taken off the Angella Benton murder case when the production assistant’s death was linked with the violent theft of two million dollars from a movie set. Both files were never closed. Now retired from the L.A.P.D., Bosch is determined to find justice for Angella. Without a badge to open doors and strike fear into the guilty, he’s on his own. And even in the face of an opponent more powerful and ruthless than any he’s ever encountered, Bosch is not backing down.

Review –

I’ve read or listened to most of the Harry Bosch series but every once in a while I will come across one that’s I’ve missed. This was one and when I found it available on OverDrive I checked it out.

Writing in the first person for the first time, Connelly finally gets us inside Bosch’s head and it really gives us an insight to how his mind works. Great job on the author’s part.

Recalling the opening of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, Bosch shows up at a rich movie executive’s home in his best suit. He has gone to ask about a woman who was murdered when Bosch was still on the police force. You see, when Bosch retired, he took his unsolved case files with him, and some of the untouched cases still haunt him.

The woman Bosch is asking about was killed at the movie exec’s studio and the case was eventually overlooked, when an armored truck delivering two million dollars as a movie prop was hijacked. But Bosch never forgets, and after asking around, he gets warnings from some of his old co-workers, namely Kiz Rider, who asks him to stay out of the case.

As Bosch begins to sift through the murder, the FBI, a paraplegic ex-cop, productions studios, his former wife, and Hollywood clubs become involved. When one of the marked dollar bills from the robbery turns up with a suspected terrorist, Bosch becomes entangled with the newly created Homeland Security division of the FBI. This is where Connelly begins to shine. He ratchets up the suspense as Bosch becomes more and more involved with the Feds, who are trying to keep him off the case. But in true private investigator tradition, Bosch only becomes more stubbornly determined to solve the case.

Particularly enjoyable are those scenes when we follow Harry as he tries to interview suspects and find clues, and the difficulty he has making the transition from an insider to an outsider. The interactions with characters, the paraplegic especially, have a very dark and moody feel.

The ending of the story is a surprise and a tear-jerker (at least for me), but works with Connelly’s theme of balancing the light and darkness of his mission, and the last third of the book is absolutely riveting.

I’m going to re-check my list to see if I have missed any other Harry Bosch gems and find them if I can.

 

The Crossing (Harry Bosch #23 and Mickey Haller #6)) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: November 13, 2015

Six months ago, Harry Bosch left the LAPD before they could fire him, and then hired maverick Defense Attorney Mickey Haller to sue the department for forcing him out. Although it wasn’t the way he wanted to go, Harry has to admit that being out of the game has its benefits. Until Mickey asks him to help on one of his cases, and suddenly Harry is back where he belongs, right in the centre of a particularly puzzling murder mystery. The difference is, this time Harry is working for the defense, aiming to prevent the accused, Leland Foster, from being convicted. And not only does the prosecution seem to have a cast-iron case, but having crossed over to ‘the dark side’ as his former colleagues would put it, Harry is in danger of betraying the very principles he’s lived by his whole career.

Review –

The character of Harry Bosch is one of my favorites, but Mickey Haller, not so much. I don’t know why but Mickey Haller gets on my nerves, but I think having Matthew McConaughey star as the Lincoln Lawyer might have something to do with it. I hate, with a passion, Michael McConaughey and now whenever I think of Mickey Haller I see Matthew’s face. (Not fair)

Anyway, I overlooked Mickey’s role in this book, the latest in the Harry Bosch Series, and concentrated on the crime solving bravado of Harry.

This is the first time Harry is no longer a member of the LAPD and he is helping Mickey, who is a defense attorney, with a case. Harry knows that by helping the side of the defense goes against all he has ever done and will put him in a bad light with a lot of people. But Harry being Harry does it anyway.

It’s a great story, as always, and Harry comes out on top.

I HIGHLY recommend this book and the entire series.

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The Burning Room (Harry Bosch #19) by Michael Connelly

Book Description

November 3, 2014
In the new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly, Detective Harry Bosch and his rookie partner investigate a cold case that gets very hot… very fast.

In the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet ten years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but any other clues are virtually nonexistent. Even a veteran cop would find this one tough going, but Bosch’s new partner, Detective Lucia Soto, has no homicide experience. A young star in the department, Soto has been assigned to Bosch so that he can pass on to her his hard-won expertise.
Now Bosch and Soto are tasked with solving a murder that turns out to be highly charged and politically sensitive. Beginning with the bullet that has been lodged for years in the victim’s spine, they must pull new leads from years-old evidence, and these soon reveal that the shooting was anything but random.
As their investigation picks up speed, it leads to another unsolved case with even greater stakes: the deaths of several children in a fire that occurred twenty years ago. But when their work starts to threaten careers and lives, Bosch and Soto must decide whether it is worth risking everything to find the truth, or if it’s safer to let some secrets stay buried.
In a swiftly-moving novel as relentless and compelling as its hero, Michael Connelly shows once again why Harry Bosch is “one of the most popular and enduring figures in American crime fiction” (Chicago Tribune).
Review –
I love the character of Harry Bosch and I loved this installment in the series but I’m afraid of what’s going to happen to Harry in the next one because his time with the LAPD is nearing the end. He is in the DROP program, that is the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, and will be forced to retire in less than a year. Police work is all he knows and loves. I hope the author, Michael Connelly, has great plans for my favorite character.
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The Gods of Guilt (Mickey Haller #5) by Michael Connelly

Book Description

December 2, 2013
Mickey Haller gets the text, “Call me ASAP – 187,” and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game.When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow path, he knows he is on the hook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life. Far from saving her, Mickey may have been the one who put her in danger.

Haunted by the ghosts of his past, Mickey must work tirelessly and bring all his skill to bear on a case that could mean his ultimate redemption or proof of his ultimate guilt. The Gods of Guilt shows once again why “Michael Connelly excels, easily surpassing John Grisham in the building of courtroom suspense” (Los Angeles Times).

Review –
I normally don’t read a lot of courtroom drama but in the case of the  Mickey Haller series I make an exception. Courtroom proceedings can sometimes come across as boring and dry but author, Michael Connelly does it without causing the reader to lose interest or to skip pages.  This is another great book in the Mickey Haller  series and I’m looking forward to the next one.
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Switchblade by Michael Connelly

18360158Product Description:

Published: January 14, 2014

LAPD Detective Harry Bosch seeks justice for the forgotten in this original
short story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael
Connelly

An anonymous tip puts Bosch on a case that has remained
unsolved for decades, the vicious stabbing of a teenage boy whose body was found
in an abandoned Old Hollywood restaurant.

Cold cases are often the
toughest: With no body, no murder scene, and no fingerprints, Bosch nevertheless
gets lucky when DNA evidence from the murder weapon points to a known killer.
But the DA insists that science alone is not enough – he needs the case to be
bulletproof before he’ll take it to court.

Determined to speak for those
who can no longer speak for themselves, Bosch has one chance to wrench a
confession out of a cold-blooded killer, or risk letting him walk free for
good.

In this gripping, never-before-published story by “master of the
crime thriller” (Huffington Post) Michael Connelly, Detective Harry Bosch
quenches his thirst for justice and shows why he is “one of the most popular and
enduring figures in American crime fiction” (Chicago Tribune).

Review –

This is an orginal story by Michael Connelly in E-book and audio form only.  I had the audio version and I was totally let down at the end. I knew it was a short story ( 50 minutes, give or take) but I at least thought that it would END but it left me hanging. This makes me think the author is using it as a vehicle to another full length novel and that’s fine but tell the readers if that is the case.  If not, why not add ten more minutes to the story and give it a final ending?

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The Concrete Blonde(Harry Bosch Series #3) by Michael Connelly

49350Product Despcription:

Published: 1994     Series: Harry Bosch

They called him the Dollmaker…

The serial killer who stalked Los Angeles and left a grisly calling card on the faces of his female victims.  With a single faultless shot, Detective Harry Bosch thought he had ended the city’s nightmare.

Now, the dead man’s widow is suing Harry and the LAPD for killing the wrong man — an accusation that rings terrifyingly true when a new victim is discovered with the Dollmaker’s macabre signature.

Now, for the second time, Harry must hunt down a death-dealer who is very much alive, before he strikes again.  It’s a blood-tracked quest that will take Harry from the hard edges of the L.A. night to the last place he ever wanted to go — the darkness of his own heart.

With The Concrete Blonde, Edgar Award-winning author Michael Connelly has hit a whole new level in his career, creating a breathtaking thriller that thrusts you into a blistering courtroom battle — and a desperate search for a sadistic killer.

Review –

It’s hard to believe that this was just the third in the series because I’ve read so many of them (not in order as you can see) and this one seems like it should further down in the list.

I had the audio version of the book and the reader was Dick Hill and he did a superb job.  If you follow this blog or are familiar with my pet peeves, you will know how I believe a reader (narrator) can make or break a book.  Dick Hill is one who has a natural knack for audiobook work and makes everything I have listened to with him as reader a pleasant experience.

There is a surprise twist near the end that I did not see coming and it was great and I count this as one of my favorite Harry Bosch books.

You really should give it a try.