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robtwinem

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I live in Bristol UK literary fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run

A little uneven and disappointing

Dark Sacred Night - Michael Connelly

Bosch and Ballard together solving crimes in downtown LA, sounds a recipe for success, unfortunately my original enthusiasm was not realized. Ballard is the new kid on the block, first introduced last year in the excellent "The Late Show". She has a lot to prove, riding the night shift, surfing in the morning accompanied by her faithful dog Lola. It's tough working as a female detective always open to criticism and ridicule and constantly under the watchful eye of her male colleagues just waiting for disaster to strike.

 

Bosch of course is the grizzled vet, working out of the San Fernando police dept on "cold cases" that still remain unsolved after a number of years. Daisy Clayton was murdered nine years ago, her body found naked and bleached clean to hide all trace of DNA. Ballard discovers Bosch working on this unsolved murder and she decides to help him in her downtime. So up to a point this story is full of potential and hope. However this is not the only case the detectives are involved in and that's where the narrative comes undone. When I read a detective story I want the author to concentrate and build the storyline one theme or murder (or numerous murders as in the case of a serial killer) This gives the reader time to become acquainted with the various issues raised and characters introduced. By running a number of sub plots/storylines the main theme, which in this case is the killing of Daisy Clayton, becomes diluted and loses its impact and effectiveness. Harry at the same time is involved in a crime case with gangland connections that goes terribly wrong. Ballard has her own heavy work load including a potential rape case that becomes something different entirely.

 

Having said that a Michael Connelly novel always contains some great moments with Harry Bosch at the centre. He is a maverick investigator refusing to admit that he could ever be a target, but on this occasion he is wrong. In addition he is harbouring an unexpected house guest and the fallout from this has a tragic outcome. So "Dark Sacred Night" is not a bad novel it is simply that I expect such high standards from the author. The partnership of Ballard and Bosch works to an extent but the Daisy Clayton killing seems to lose its impact as it becomes lost amongst the ever increasing workload that forms the agenda of our two hard working detectives. The conclusion of the story indicates the possibility of future adventures/assignments and I hope that will not happen. Bosch is a loner, a detective who shirks instructions, and this is the very quality that makes him so attractive to his many adoring readers. Yes lets develop the career of Renee Ballard.....but not on Harry's watch!