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The Dark Hours: A Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch Novel


The Dark Hours: A Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch Novel

“Ballard would be left alone to work in the dark hours. It was exactly the way she wanted it.”

Don’t talk to LAPD Detective Renée Ballard about doing anything but the midnight shift, where she could mostly work alone and have less bureaucracy to get in the way of doing her job. At one point in THE DARK HOURS, Michael Connelly’s latest thriller, Ballard’s lieutenant tries to reward her with a transfer to the day shift. She promptly rebukes the offer, letting him know that she is perfectly happy staying on the dark side and would prefer simple praise for a job well done over anyone messing with her schedule.

There is perhaps no author working today who writes a police procedural quite like Michael Connelly. His language is just gritty enough to provide the right amount of credibility needed for readers to believe that they are listening to actual discussions that might take place both on the street and back at the squad room. He also is a master of dialogue who infuses his characters with enough straight talk, most likely taken from his years as a reporter, that it instantly creates three-dimensional, realistic figures on the page.

"THE DARK HOURS is an outstanding book for loyal readers of Connelly’s work and viewers of Amazon Prime’s sorely missed 'Bosch' series."

However, THE DARK HOURS is a different animal from anything Connelly has previously written. The pandemic, which unfortunately still exists in our world, has posed a great quandary to authors. Do they deal with the elephant in the room and write about it, or do they completely ignore it and give their readers an escape from their day-to-day worries? Connelly has chosen the former, and it plays well. We get to see a police force that is barely respected by the public. We also witness a mix of PTSD and lack of enthusiasm from the squad itself, which makes the matter of expecting assistance from your colleagues yet another river to cross.

The action begins on New Year’s Eve when law enforcement is already on guard for problems all over the map. Ballard believes that what goes up must come down, meaning that every new year in the City of Angels begins with risk. This year kicks off with the murder of local business owner Javier Raffa, a hard-working auto mechanic. Ballard finds instant evidence of his affiliation with a local street gang, Las Palmas, which made him a target for death at any time.

A bunch of homicides that occurred on or about the same time may or may not be related. An elderly couple was robbed and set on fire in West Hollywood, and a couple of home break-ins involved rape. This makes Ballard and everyone in her department think about the Midnight Men, a fiendish pair of serial rapists who have been terrorizing women and leaving no trace. As part of the investigation, Ballard calls up an open cold case from now-retired Detective Harry Bosch, with whom she already has a working relationship.

As Bosch assists Ballard in her current cases, they spend time following up with the home break-in/rape victims to see what common threads they can put together. This will involve going back to the first known victim of the Midnight Men, Bobbi Klein. Every time it seems like Ballard and Bosch make any headway, someone on the inside ends up working against them. For instance, Ballard’s lieutenant is not at all pleased with Bosch’s presence. At one point, he claims to be angered enough at Ballard and her “dark hours” mode, which seldom involves following all procedures, that he temporarily suspends her.

But not even a suspension will stop Ballard. She and Bosch discover that the guilty party may have been hiding in plain sight the entire time, and they may be putting themselves in greater danger the more they pursue the truth. THE DARK HOURS is an outstanding book for loyal readers of Connelly’s work and viewers of Amazon Prime’s sorely missed “Bosch” series.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on November 12, 2021

The Dark Hours: A Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch Novel
by Michael Connelly

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1538708477
  • ISBN-13: 9781538708477