- Series: A Ballard and Bosch Novel (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (October 30, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316484806
- ISBN-13: 978-0316484800
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 434 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dark Sacred Night (A Ballard and Bosch Novel) Hardcover – October 30, 2018
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An Amazon Best Book of November 2018: Twenty books in, finding new ways to keep a long-running series fresh must be tough. Michael Connelly solves this perfectly in Dark Sacred Night by teaming Harry Bosch with Detective Renée Ballard from last year’s series debut, The Late Show. The new partners meet cute, professionally speaking, when Ballard, still working the night beat (aka “the late show”), catches Bosch rifling through file cabinets at Hollywood Station. The cold case that Bosch is digging into involves a young runaway, and the case triggers Ballard’s empathy as well as her uncanny investigative instincts. Connelly does a masterful job of threading the needle with Ballard and Bosch’s “hobby case” as well as Ballard’s day to day caseload, allowing the fledging partnership and the cold case to build slowly while keeping the action constant. Nobody greases a plot with procedural details better than Connelly, but here, he also uses the mundane personal details of a cop’s life to good effect. When the cold case plot finally comes to a head, Ballard and Bosch, opposites in almost every regard, work together to “take a killer off the board.” Los Angeles has a new speaker for the dead and that is good news indeed for Connelly fans. —Vannessa Cronin
"Dark Sacred Night is one of the best and most affecting Bosch novels since Mr. Connelly began the saga in 1992, underscoring the growing and unsettling ambiguity surrounding its central character."―Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
"Spectacular...Dark Sacred Night is ingenious, frantically suspenseful, and very, very, bleak."―Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post
"Michael Connelly is superhuman...His hallmark has been his precise, faultless plotting...Connelly has always been especially good when it comes to truly creepy killers-he was once a crime reporter-and his denouement here is thrilling."―Charles Finch, USA Today
"LAPD Det. Renée Ballard, first seen in 2017's The Late Show, makes a welcome return in this outstanding, complex police procedural...Bosch and Ballard, both outsiders with complicated pasts, form a perfect partnership in this high spot of Edgar-winner Connelly's long and distinguished career."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Det. Renée Ballard is a formidable character, an insightful and tenacious investigator with an unusual background and a sturdy personality to carry a series...Connelly has achieved success as one of the top mystery writers by continuing to keep his storytelling fresh. In The Late Show, he delivers an exciting police procedural with a unique character."―Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Michael Connelly has earned his place in the pantheon of great crime fiction writers by creating characters people care about and are eager to come back to. In Dark Sacred Night, he brings together two of his best...Here's hoping we don't have to wait long for another Ballard and Bosch novel."―Paul Saltzman, Chicago Sun-Times
"This one needs no introduction...Expect all the dark, brooding LA neo-noir you've come to appreciate from Connelly's superlative procedurals."―CrimeReads
"Superb...Once again, Connelly delivers an exciting police procedural, only this time with two unique characters."―Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Harry Bosch has had plenty of partners, but he might have met his match...Both face complicated challenges to their personal ethics, challenges born not out of greed or fear but of their burning desire to make things right. Through it all, they challenge each other. Ballard brings a fresh perspective, and Bosch brings all the things so many readers love about him."―Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times
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Michael Connelly is a must buy, must read author. This stand-alone is easy to follow and difficult to put down. No editing errors, gratuitous violence or drag-you-down drama.
This compelling storyline skillfully weaves between the works of Bosch, Ballard and their partnership. Descriptive, at times lyrical, writing thst draws the reader into each scene. Realistic procedures, actions and reactions. Believable characters with distinct personalities. Thought-provoking, memorable and real life dialogue.
“What happens when you eat too much alphabet soup?”
"You have a vowel movement.”
'As he drove down the hill he thought about Elizabeth and her fatal sadness. He realized that the long wait for justice had been too long and not enough to keep her alive. And that his effort to help her ultimately hurt her. Getting her sober only made the pain sharper and less bearable. Was he just as guilty as the unnamed killer?'
I will re-read this story and always look forward to, pre-order when possible, new works by this authir.
They meet by happenstance when Ballard finds Bosch snooping through Hollywood’s case files in search of information about the murder of Daisy Clayton, whose mother, Elizabeth, Bosch rescued at the end of Two Kinds of Truth. They strike a bargain and investigate the case together. Along the way, Ballard and Bosch investigate other cases on the side, but it’s the Daisy Clayton murder that drives the plot forward.
As per usual with Connelly’s novels, this one is a page-turner. I started reading it after dinner and finished it before I went to bed. It held my interest throughout. Even the side plots kept my interest. What I love about Connelly’s novels is the way he moves the plot forward by means of good detective work, rather than an investigator’s flashes of insight. You see Ballard and Bosch working the evidence, piecing the story together bit by bit. This approach keeps you hooked, because you want to follow the evidence wherever it leads.
Additionally, I love the fact that unlike other serial novelists that I love to read—I’m looking at you, Lee Child and Craig Johnson—Michael Connelly is smart enough to realize that Bosch is getting older and simply can’t sustain the pace, the intensity, or the beatings he endured (or gave out) in previous novels. With this novel, Connelly seems to be moving his focus toward Ballard and transitioning Bosch into a lesser role. That’s great, as far as I’m concerned, both because Ballard is an intriguing character and because I still enjoy Bosch.
I’m not giving Dark Sacred Night a five-star review, however. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend reading it, but it’s not at the top of Connelly heap. I have two reasons for this: First, the side cases. One of the side cases is designed solely to introduce a character. Ballard’s side cases (an accidental death, an art theft, and a gruesome murder) are solved too perfunctorily. Bosch’s main side case is more interesting, but it’s difficult to tell whether how it ends is designed to set up a transition in Bosch’s life or to introduce a problem for a future novel. Second, a moment of intimacy between Bosch and another character seems way out of character for him. You’ll know what I mean when you read the novel.
Despite this, I’m happy with Dark Sacred Night, and I look forward to whatever Connelly cooks up next year. My guess is that Renée Ballard will play the leading role and Harry Bosch a supporting one. And that’s okay with me. They’re both great characters.
If I were looking for a story that was written to appease all the key points of interest to me, it would be difficult to find a literary work more on point than the latest novel by Michael Connelly. To be sure, it isn’t perfect, but it is as near the ideal police procedural as I could ever hope to read.
BLUSH FACTOR: This is not a story to share with children or your church prayer group. Street talk includes profanities (eff-words) and the affection of the two main heroes, although not overly graphic, will cause blushing if you read it to others. In fact, the description is tastefully done. This definitely is a crime story for mature audiences. Mature, but not obscene in any way, shape or form. PG-17, not R would be my thinking for a rating.
THE WRITING & EDITING: If you’re not turning away due to the blush factor, I believe you’re going to appreciate the quality of writing and editing – there is a reason the selling price is set as it is. Quality, big-name writers cost big bucks, and editors are well-paid to ensure the text is free of those persnickety typos, grammatical errors and misspellings, then, often, put back in to protect against copyright infringement.
‘…led her out of the cell and back to the door to the Public Works yard.
“You looked at the book and the photos, right?” he said.
“Yes,” she said. “Everything that was digitized.”
They walked into the yard, which was a large open-air square surrounded by walls. Along the back wall there were four bays delineated by tool racks and workbenches where city equipment and vehicles were maintained and repaired. Bosch led Ballard into one of these.
“You saw the mark on the body?”
“Right. But they got the meaning of it wrong. The original detectives. They went down a spiral with it and it was all wrong.”
He went to a workbench and reached up to a shelf where there was a large, translucent plastic tub with a blue snap-on top. He brought it down and held it out to her.
“Twenty-five-gallon container,” Bosch said. “Daisy was five-two, a hundred and five pounds. Small. He put her in one of these, then put in the bleach as needed. He didn’t use a bathtub.”
Ballard studied the container. Bosch’s explanation was plausible but not conclusive.
“That’s a theory,” she said.
“No theory,” he said.
He put the container down on the floor so he could unsnap the S-P reading horizontally and vertically in the center.
“A-S-P,” he said. “American Storage Products or American Soft Plastics. Same company, two names. The killer put her in one of these. He didn’t need a bathtub or a motel. One of these and a van.”
Ballard reached into the container and ran a finger over the manufacturer’s seal. Bosch knew she was drawing the same conclusion he had. The logo was stamped into the plastic on the underside of the tub, creating a ridged impression on the inside. If Daisy’s skin had been pressed against the ridges, the logo would…’
Connelly, Michael. Dark Sacred Night (A Ballard and Bosch Novel) (Kindle Locations 580-595). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
One of the most fulfilling reads I’ve come across in forty years. Easily the best police procedural since Wambaugh.
Five stars out of five.
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