Just finished up The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly. This is the fourth book in the Renée Ballard series. Harry Bosch is part of this story, but in a more limited role than the two prior books. This story is built around two different cases. As the story opens, Ballard is investigating multiple rapes that appear to have been perpetrated by the same pair of men. While she is working on this case, she is called out to investigate what at first appears to an accidental death. As the evidence unfolds, it becomes clear it was a murder. The murder is also linked to an old case that Harry Bosch investigated.
Like he has in previous books, Connelly intertwines the two story lines. The pace and prose are also classic Connelly. Connelly has always grounded his stories in current events. Like he has in the past few books, he has pushed these themes to the forefront of the story. He was much more subtle and used these things more deftly in his earlier novels. Throughout the Bosch series, Harry always ran close to the edge. With Ballard, Connelly has taken this up significantly. It almost makes you want to scream “no” at what she does, rather than root for her. Connelly is also clearly struggling to complete the Bosch story arch. Rather than enhancing the story, the inclusion of Bosch almost gets in the way.
Here is Connelly’s introduction for the book.
The next book comes out this fall. Not sure yet if it will make my reading list…
The Dark Hours
By Michael Connelly
There’s chaos in Hollywood at the end of the New Year’s Eve countdown. Working her graveyard shift, LAPD Detective Renée Ballard waits out the traditional rain of lead as hundreds of revelers shoot their guns into the air. Only minutes after midnight, Ballard is called to a scene where a hardworking auto shop owner has been fatally hit by a bullet in the middle of a crowded street party.
Ballard quickly concludes that the deadly bullet could not have fallen from the sky and that it is linked to another unsolved murder—a case at one time worked by Detective Harry Bosch. At the same time, Ballard hunts a fiendish pair of serial rapists, the Midnight Men, who have been terrorizing women and leaving no trace.
Determined to solve both cases, Ballard feels like she is constantly running uphill in a police department indelibly changed by the pandemic and recent social unrest. It is a department so hampered by inertia and low morale that Ballard must go outside to the one detective she can count on: Harry Bosch. But as the two inexorable detectives work together to find out where old and new cases intersect, they must constantly look over their shoulders. The brutal predators they are tracking are ready to kill to keep their secrets hidden.
Published November 9, 2021
401 pages (print)