First Line: Ballard and Jenkins rolled up on the house on El Centro shortly before midnight.
Renée Ballard works the late show out of LAPD's Hollywood division. Once an up-and-coming detective, she's now on permanent night shift as punishment for filing an unsuccessful sexual harassment complaint against a superior officer. To her, the downside of night shift is beginning many investigations but never finishing them-- that honor goes to the overworked day shift.
But one night Renée catches two assignments she doesn't want to turn loose of-- the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a shooting at a nightclub. Against orders and her partner's wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shifts at night.
This isn't just a matter of working on practically no sleep. These cases soon have Renée facing some of her personal demons, and they also make her realize why she will not give up her job-- no matter what the department throws at her.
If there's one book I've read this summer that I would recommend everyone read, it's Michael Connelly's The Late Show. The character of Renée Ballard blew me away. She's from the same mold as Harry Bosch: Everyone counts, or nobody counts. She's intensely private and spends many of her mornings when she's just gotten off shift paddleboarding with her dog Lola. Renée graduated from the University of Hawaii with a degree in journalism, but the first time she had to cover a crime scene, she realized that she didn't want to write about crime, she wanted to catch the bad guys.
Her journalist's background means she's fantastic at mowing through the mounds of paperwork every police officer has to deal with, and she's become a pro, not only with paperwork but with her timing as well so she can work the cases that will get short shrift by the overworked day shift. (Everybody counts....) As a result of what she continues to deal with after her unsuccessful sexual harassment complaint, Renée has no time for people who won't stick up for her when they know she's right. But she's not all sharp edges and hostility; she can be thrilled to find a bookstore she didn't know existed when walking in downtown Los Angeles-- and there are her grandmother and Lola, too.
As you can tell, I did fall hard for Renée Ballard, but it wasn't just the main character that makes this book so special. The story itself is compelling, and Michael Connelly absolutely blindsided me with whodunit. Yes, The Late Show is so darned good that I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series. Write faster, Mr. Connelly!
The Late Show by Michael Connelly
Little, Brown and Company © 2017
Hardcover, 448 pages
Police Procedural, #1 Renée Ballard mystery
Source: Purchased at The Poisoned Pen.