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Dark Sacred Night (A Ren¿e Ballard and Harry Bosch Novel) Paperback – April 30, 2019
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"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
About the Author
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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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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.
It is sad to have to report that this latest book is a disappointment. It reads very much like one of those continuation books, written by ghost writers, that come out after an author has died. The writing is flat and tedious, the story not particularly gripping, and the characters shallow. Either Connolly has lent his famous name to someone else’s inferior product, or he has completely lost interest in the terrific world that he created, and is just producing stories mechanically, to meet his contractual obligations. Such a shame.
Top international reviews
If you DO, I suggest you have a quick read here.
I’ve bought and read every single Connelly book.
The whole Bosch series, the Haller series etc.
In the later, ‘The Gods of Guilt’, ranks in my all time best reads.
It’s incredibly well crafted, beautifully written and hugely thought provoking.
I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is working on a screen play to bring it out as a film sometime soon.
Now, the same can be said for the rest of the books.
Personally I have no problem giving them all 5*.
I would urge you to start of a series and work through.
There are some good offers in the Amazon store Via a search ‘Michael Connelly book Collections’, In the Bosch series UK store will get you going with Ten Paperbacks for ~ £20 - £25. Currently Nineteen are available for £40.
Amazing Value for what you are getting.
There’s an e book collection of fifteen for £55......
Library’s seem very Connelly friendly, I avidly dip in to find new writers, a search of my local, shows several Bosch in and all of them seem available via computer to order in, so I suppose you could go that way.
So where’s the review on this book????
What on earth is this reviewer going on about, urging you to spend and read this authors work and generally raving about how good they all are and yet...
‘Dark Sacred Night’, Is been given a measly one star??
Well, the problem is that if you wish to read it, saying anything about it would ‘give it away’, ‘spoiler alert’, etc
And that’s the problem.....
If you read a lot of this genre (or even if you don’t), you’re looking for all the usual associated with great books, then cunning twists and turns, misdirection, false trails and that final ‘Ah Ha’ moment when it all becomes clear and you didn’t get it (or where close but there’s some shocker etc).
You close you book, or shut down you kindle.
And reflect how great a read you’ve just had.
That doesn’t happen here.
If this is the first Connelly book you’ve ever read, I suspect it would be your last and would move on.
The book does nicely introduce Renée Ballard.
Great back story, strong and intriguing character.
And fans (like me) do want to see how she gets on and where it all goes.
And then the less said the better.
Michael Connelly is a brilliant author and quite rightly deserves all the plaudits and success.
Many don’t agree with me on this book it’s currently nearly five stars in the review section here.
However if you DO, take a breath, don’t be put off.
This probably isn't the best Connelly novel ever. However, within the genre it is a standout read. I recommend it.
I thought this latest book was great until the end, which was very disappointing. Ballard breaking the rules and taking such dangerous and non-sensical action stretches belief too far. And Harry being unable to decide on the right or wrong course of action, and doing both, also seems a little contrived and lazy and out of character. One of the things that I like the most is how Bosch bends the rules to help put bad people away, but just breaking the rules/law in such a major way lacks integrity.
As I say, I hope things will improve through this collaboration.
Having read The Late Show, where Ballard was the central character, I was intrigued to know how she would fair in this book and how the interaction with Bosch would play out, however I found myself wanting more of the old Bosch and less of Ballard. Dark Sacred Night was introduced at the end of The Late Shift with this preface "At the end of a long night, Detectives Renee Ballard and Harry Bosch cross paths for the first time"... I only hope this was the last time!