There seems to be an unspoken rule among mystery writers that once the author has created a successful character, the obligation to fans demands regular installments in the hero's life history, whatever the author's literary aspirations. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was famously unsuccessful at killing off Sherlock Holmes and resurrected his detective in response to public outcry. Michael Connelly's police procedural series featuring Harry Bosch has garnered numerous top mystery awards, including the coveted Edgar. But, strangely, it is his deviations from Bosch, including The Poet
and Blood Work
, that have drawn the biggest readerships--and have won awards of their own to boot (The Poet
was honored with the 1997 Anthony Award). Now, once again, Connelly follows up the success of a Bosch book, Angels Flight
, with a non-series tale that pushes Connelly's already impressive body of work into new territory.
Void Moon traces the path of Cassie Black, a gifted thief who struggles with the temptation of "outlaw juice" (the burning desire to live the fast life of crime and payoffs) even while she regularly attends her probation meetings. It's not that hawking Porsches to newly flush young Hollywood males isn't satisfying, but... well, it isn't. After years away, she returns to her old striking grounds in Las Vegas for one last big mark hoping to pave her way into a new life. But Cassie discovers that her old Las Vegas is a new town with a new skyline and new (and more deadly) bad guys; it is also a place haunted by the ghost of her lover-partner Max. When her take proves to be 10 times larger than she imagined, her road to freedom runs afoul of the Mob while a morally questionable--and openly vicious--PI sniffs her trail.
With its attractive central character, meticulous plot, and glitzy packaging, Void Moon seems perfectly poised for the New York Times bestsellers list. That is not to say, however, that Connelly has "dumbed down" his usual presentation. The novel displays Connelly's stunning ability to breathe reality into his fiction with the subtle details that can only come from careful research and his years of experience reporting on crime for the L.A. Times. What other author has so lovingly described the aftermath of crime? The jail sentence, recidivism, the numbing visits to the parole officer where "she held the plastic cup she would have to squat over and fill while an office trainee, dubbed the wizard because of the nature of her monitoring duty, watched to make sure it was her own urine going into the container." While we Connelly fans are always eager to read the next Bosch, once again we're not disappointed with Connelly's "vacation." --Patrick O'Kelley
From Publishers Weekly
Cassie Black, a resourceful ex-con, plans to burgle the Las Vegas casino's high roller suite where, five years before, a previous attempt resulted in her arrest and the death of her lover. It's an intriguing premise, and L.J. Ganser delivers a mesmerizing and nuanced performance. In creating Jack Karch, the bon vivant Vegas private eye who moonlights as a hit man, Ganser settles on a genial, almost charming delivery, underplaying the character's sinister psychopathology and adding to the suspense. As hunted and hunter race across the twists and turns of the novel's shadowy landscape, author and reader combine to make all the right moves. A Grand Central hardcover.
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