Book Review – The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly – Addictive Stuff
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary (Storyline) – The Dark Hours
Harry Bosch has aged, retired from the LAPD, but his shadow lingers, his legacy lives on through his motto – ‘Everybody counts or nobody counts’. His protégé, Renée Ballard – who surfs during the day and mans the graveyard shift for LAPD, Hollywood Division, carries that legacy forward. In this edition of the series, Connelly touches upon all that is pertinent to our times – the pandemic, lockdown, vaccination, masks, change in the US’ political climate, and even the Capitol Riots! Ballard is the outcast, for having taken on her supervisor for sexual assault and won. But, like her mentor, she is singularly focused on solving homicides, and her performance has never been in question, while her methods may have been unorthodox.
Typical of administrations worldwide, the LAPD is also keen to preserve its public image and be seen on the right side of internal politics, Ballard has thus been banished from Homicide to the night shift in the Hollywood division, much to her liking. She is a loner and the graveyard shift gives her the desired independence (somewhat) and time away from any kind of limelight. As long as she gets justice for the victims, she’s happy being the pariah. Cut to New Years’ eve, 2020 – Ballard and her new partner, Detective Lisa Moore of the Hollywood Division Sexual Assault Unit, are on patrol duty near Cahuenga Overpass – waiting for the mandatory shootings in the air.
Read my Review of Michael Connelly’s Fair Warning here
The falling lead causes damage every year, even death. They are soon called away to one such incident, where apparently car body shop owner, Javier Raffa, has been killed by one. As Ballard investigates, it becomes clear that this is probably a homicide and not an accident. The recovered shell casing links to another murder 10 years ago of Albert Lee – a case then worked by Harry Bosch. An intrigued Ballard reaches out to Bosch, to pick his brains. But Bosch being Bosch, becomes the unofficial part of the investigation and they start working together. Raffa had many years ago bought his way out of the street gang Las Palmas with borrowed money.
His only link with Albert Lee had been that they’d both borrowed money from the same source and landed with a partner from the same consortium. As the investigation into this progresses, Ballard cannot forget the other case she was handling with Lisa. A pair of serial rapists – dubbed the Midnight Men – have severely assaulted two women at their homes on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve. They leave no clues and their modus operandi is similar – one of them breaks into the house, overpowers the woman and blindfolds her, and then lets the other one in. There is no apparent connection between the victims and their social circles are also different. This would require all of Ballard’s investigative skills.
Read my Review of Michael Connelly’s The Law of Innocence here
Ballard’s partner, Lisa Moore, whose primary case was that of the Midnight Men, skips town to spend time with her boyfriend for the New Year weekend, leaving Ballard with both cases. But Ballard doesn’t mind as she loves working alone, even on her own time – without expecting any overtime pay – because justice has to be delivered. She also has Bosch helping out on the Raffa shooting case and though that is unofficial, it is better than any that could have come out of her politics-riven department. In masterly fashion, Michael Connelly hurtles through the parallel investigations at breakneck speed towards its exciting finale!
Read my Review of Michael Connelly’s The Last Coyote here
Conclusion – Book Review of The Dark Hours
It is sad to wait for a Harry Bosch novel – even in its current truncated form (in terms of Harry’s role) – for a whole year then finish it in 48 hours! Thus begins the wait for the next one in another 360 odd days!! Typically, this is detailed police procedural (with the current sentiments of Police being reactive rather than proactive in mind) with all its associated power struggles, backstabbing, and intrigue. Connelly takes you right into the middle of it and it is as enjoyable as ever – maybe a teeny bit less so than when Harry Bosch was the solo lead.
But Bosch is not timeless so he had to age and retire but as his fans, we are grateful that he still makes a contribution. A must-read for fans of Harry Bosch and crime fiction lovers, while we all wait for the 2022 edition.
*I hope you have enjoyed reading this book review as much as I have enjoyed writing this! Do watch this space for more such reviews and navigate through the links below for more… Thank you!! *