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The Late Show Hardcover – July 18, 2017
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Renee Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, also known as the Late Show, beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns everything over to the day shift. A once up and coming detective, she's been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.
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Connelly does his own homework and we are the benefactor.
In his latest novel "The Late Show," Connelly has once again created a memorable a character like Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller with the introduction of Renée Ballard. If you are a fan of strong, well-defined characters in the vein of Patricia Cornwell (Kay Scarpetta) or Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone), then Renée Ballard might have you hooked from the start.
Renée Ballard does not listen to Jazz like Bosch, she surfs and is a California Girl. She has a partner like Bosch but has to work her way up the ranks beginning at the deplorable midnight shift, hence the book's title 'The Late Show." Like Bosch, she has her character flaws, foibles and demons which makes her relatable. Connelly is best at weaving multiple cases to keep us engaged which is authentic to real life police and detective work. Their days are anything but routine.
What I enjoy best about Connelly's writing, and is consistent in "The Late Show," is the great Los Angeles geographical descriptions from the streets, freeways, Hollywood and beaches like Venice. I live in L.A. so the visuals come to life on the page. Connelly characters are rebellious and always carry the anti-authority seed of "Dirty Harry."
Ditch your cell phone. Close your office or bedroom door. The Late Show is for late nighters, insomniacs and early risers. Connelly Never Fails to keep us continuously interested in his writing. I look forward to the next one.
I hope you found this review helpful.
© Michael P.
It is plodding, there is so much detail about non-plot-relevant stuff that one loses track of the plot itself -- which chair a detective sits on and why, and lots of minute details on how Renee Ballard changes her clothes, to name but two examples in a long long list. The main character is like an unfeeling piece of cardboard moving through the story -- there is nothing that makes her memorable and she just seems like a cold, obsessive, uninteresting person with no sense of humor or self-knowledge or emotional ties to anyone. This made it very hard to care about anything she said or did. Her decisions to circumvent the system are dumb and lack any explanation of WHY she is going out of channels. Conclusion therefore is that she is stubborn and dumb.
There is so much procedural information that it is as if Connelly had been on a few "ride alongs" and sat in the police bureaucracy for awhile and was just writing it down. None of it adds to the plot; there is NO reason for all the detail. I had to conclude it was just there to help the author reach his word count.
And then there is the plot: very very improbable. The fun thing about Connelly’s other books is that one doesn’t have to suspend one’s disbelief too much. But in this one the whole kidnap plot line was absolutely ridiculous.
I could go on picking this book apart but the essential is to know it is nowhere near the level of Bosch or Haller books. In previous reviews of recent Bosch books I thought it might be time for a new detective/main character: if this was the start of a Renee Ballard series, count me out. It was just too hard to get through and I won't be plodding through any others.
Two other nitpicks: Mr. Connelly you really don’t need to advertise the Bosch TV series. In a book with more rapid pace, more humor and a better story this ad might not have stood out so much and even been a cute reference. In this boring tome it sticks out and looks desperate.
Finally, if having the dog and having “rescued” it was supposed to make Renee more likable, she should have spent some time with it instead of neglecting it!! I kept worrying about who was taking care of the dog. It certainly wasn’t her owner!
To sum up: this is a book to pass on!