Monday, December 13, 2021

The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly

 
First Line: It was supposed to rain for real and that would have put a damper on the annual rain of lead.
 
New Year's Eve finds Renée Ballard and her partner sheltering from the annual rain of lead as thousands of revelers in Los Angeles fire their guns into the air. Minutes after midnight, she's called to the scene of a street party where an auto shop owner has been fatally hit by a bullet. 
 
It doesn't take Renée long to see that the bullet didn't fall from the sky. In fact this shooting is tied to an earlier case first investigated by Harry Bosch. She's also on the trail of the Midnight Men, tag-team rapists who leave terrorized women, but no evidence, behind.

Determined to solve both cases, she finds no help in a police department hard hit by the pandemic, social unrest, low morale, and inertia. Her best resource is Harry Bosch, and Renée doesn't hesitate to accept his offer of help.

~

Sometimes there's not much to say when a book is as good as The Dark Hours. This is vintage Connelly, plain and simple. Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch are cut from the same cloth. They're characters a reader can always depend on: focused, dedicated, and determined to bring bad guys to justice even if it means coloring outside the lines a bit.

There are four main characters in The Dark Hours: Ballard, Bosch, Los Angeles, and the pandemic. Connelly does a superb job in showing readers the harrowing effect the pandemic has had on LA's police department. It has, in effect, been defunded because of all the overtime spent on trying to contain all the social unrest. Many officers don't care any more. They keep their heads down and do the bare minimum to warrant receiving a paycheck. They are the antithesis of Ballard, who refuses to stop until justice is done.

The story unfolds inexorably, and leaves Renée with a huge decision to make concerning her future. I'm fairly certain which path she will choose, but as long as she continues to work with Harry Bosch in any capacity, I'll be happy because I consider these two characters to be family.

Marvelous characters, excellent story, and the audiobook was a treat to listen to. You can't ask for more.

The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly
Narrated by Christine Lakin and Titus Welliver
ASIN: B08WRKY4Z7
Audiobook. 11 hours, 4 minutes.
 
Police Procedural, #4 Renée Ballard mystery
Rating: A+
Source: Purchased from Amazon.

13 comments:

  1. Connelly is, quite simply, one of the finest writers out there, in my opinion, Cathy. As a writer, I learn so much from him, and as a reader, I get pulled into his world. You can't ask for more than that, and I'm very glad you felt the same way about this book.

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    1. I like listening to him talk, too. A very interesting man.

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  2. I have about 70 pages to go and it is a 5 star read. It is always nice to end the year with a 5 star read. Last year I ended the year with Blacktop Wasteland which was a best read of 2020 for me. I have read all the Ballard/Bosch books. Like them all very much. This one might be my favorite.

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    1. I think it might be my favorite Ballard & Bosch, too.

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  3. I liked this one a lot. It's been interesting to see how writers are dealing with what's happened in the last couple of years. Connelly includes the pandemic and social unrest, but, in my opinion, doesn't beat the reader over the head with it. The storyline is still the focus and the interactions between Ballard and Bosch. I was glad of that. I've started a couple of other books that felt like 'too much' and 'too many' opinions and 'too little' story. Now just waiting for the next, right?

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    1. I don't think I'm quite ready to get into fiction dealing heavily with the pandemic. You're right-- Connelly doesn't beat us over the head with it, and I think that's the best way to go.

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  4. Michael Connelly is money in the bank, so I've put this one aside until early next year. I do still have a few of his earlier books to read, but it feels good to have a new one waiting for me already. Bosch and Ballard make an amazing team, and I wish they would make the books into a TV series the way they've done the other two Bosch series. Seems like a natural, to me.

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  5. Yes! I agree with the 5-star rating. I gave this book a five in my rating system, the highest rating.
    I was so happy to be reading a riveting, interesting book after a few so-so books.
    May Renee Ballard grow with Harry Bosch's unobstrusive help.
    I (we) need a lot more books featuring this duo.
    I just read a book where one needed a master's degree in genetics, cyberterrorism, law, astronomy, etc. A strong woman protagonist. It was good, but getting through all of the explanations was hard at times.
    But reading The Dark Hours was such an easy to read book, but with a substantial plot which was interesting, but didn't lead us to read up on various topics. It wasn't a tiring, taxing read, but just right.

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  6. I haven't read any of Connelly's Renee Ballard books...yet. But they're high on my list for next year. :)

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    1. They should be very high on your list, Lark. :-)

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  7. I second that statement. Renee Ballard is shown to be so smart and capable and fearless.

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