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review 2018-11-11 14:25
Rump and Rexit: "Dark Sacred Night" by Michael Connelly
Dark Sacred Night - Michael Connelly

Connelly even tries to paper over it later, having one of his character vaguely muse about how stupid it was. This is just lazy writing. “Literary” novels can get away with a lot if the language is impressive enough. Crime novels are hard. If I was a crime fiction writer I'd want the fact that I could write Literary Crime Fiction hushed up. I wouldn’t want anyone to know I could turn into another John Banville…




If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-11-06 08:31
Dark, Sacred Night
Dark Sacred Night - Michael Connelly

I was given the privilege (courtesy of MBD) of an advanced, signed copy of this one. If Little Brown + Company were hoping I’d promote the book on the back of that, they were sorely mistaken.


Over time, I’ve read the entire Harry Bosch series, but in a rather haphazard order. Before reading Connelly’s latest offering, I thought it would be a good idea to go back to the start - the first Bosch story, The Black Echo.


The Black Echo is a great novel, a superb introduction to the Bosch character. While telling a tale, we learn of Harry’s problems with Internal Affairs, he works his moves with female officers, and we know the police brass don’t like his approach.


In Dark Sacred Night, Bosch has been paired with Ballard, the new star from the Connelly stable. Bosch, confined to cold cases, uses Renee’s spare time on the night shift to aid his investigations.


Renee made an impressive debut, but if she is to be partners with Bosch in future, as Connelly suggests, she will soon leave Harry in the dust.


At his advanced age, Harry is stretching reality with his lack of sleep. And he always seems to have money, not sure how he manages that on a semi-retired cop’s salary. Harry’s traditional ‘conquest’ is probably the best indication that he is not the detective we have enjoyed over 30 odd novels. Physical contests result in an inordinate amount of time in hospital.


We have nothing left to learn about Harry. Instead, you spend your time cringing as he maintains his one man war against city hall. Then imagine if your parents divorced, and you had to watch your father at 65 chatting up his new squeeze.


Even if I’d read my own review, I’d still want to read the new Bosch. I’d suggest this should be second last novel for Harry. One last hurrah, then let the poor bloke hobble off into retirement.

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review 2018-11-06 02:21
Bosch and Ballard Team Up in one of Connelly's best
Dark Sacred Night - Michael Connelly

In a series that's over twenty books long, there's a lot of character development, recurring faces and names, and the like -- there just has to be. But on the whole, there's not a lot of connective tissue between the books, most of what happens in one book stays in that novel, and the next very likely won't even mention those events. Which is really kind of odd, when you think of it. But that's not the case here -- this picks up the action from Two Kinds of Truth a few months later and the central case of this novel is one that Harry had reopened in it. This really is a sequel to Two Kinds of Truth in a way that Connelly really hasn't given us since The Poet/The Narrows.


LAPD politics has moved Lucia Soto off from the case that Harry asked her to pick up -- a murder of a fifteen year-old prostitute, Daisy Clayton -- so she can devote time to something more pressing, but Harry doesn't have to play that game. His own work on that cold case brings him back to the Hollywood Station, where he tries to look at some old files (without anyone knowing what he was up to). He's caught by our new friend, Renée Ballard. Renée being the curious type quickly figures out what he's looking into and pushes her way into the investigation -- unlike Soto, she has time; unlike Harry, she has standing; it's really the best thing that could happen for the case.


While she's poking into this cold case and developing some sort of relationship with Harry Bosch -- Renée has her own active cases, and regular Late Show duties to perform. I really like the way we get several little cases along the way with her in these two books -- sure, there's the big murder mysteries, but there's also a robbery, a rape allegation, and other crimes that she has to deal with. This adds variety to the book (as it did in The Late Show), a touch of realism, and gives the readers multiple ways to see her in action.


Harry also has an official investigation to pursue -- a cold case in San Fernando is heating up thanks to Harry's work uncovering a witness. His prime suspect is now a high-ranking member of a pretty serious gang and the consequences for this witness are potentially huge -- and things go quickly wrong with this case. So wrong that Harry's future with SFPD -- and his own safety -- are in jeopardy.


There are so many balls in the air in this novel that it's a testament to Connelly's skill that they never get confused, he devotes time to each as he should, in a way that does justice to each storyline and the book never feels over-populated. If Dark Sacred Night had nothing else going for it, just the construction would be enough to commend it. But there's so much more to commend the novel, too. There's a little levity, a lot of darkness, a lot of solid procedural material, a couple of bent rules, and some satisfying story telling -- just to name a few of the commendable things. I'm leaving a lot off that list, if only for reasons of space and time.


There's one criminal here -- I'm trying not to spoil anything -- who spouts off about his victims not being anyone, of not counting. He's the philosophical opposite of Harry's "Everyone counts" mission. It's an excellent way to highlight just what makes Harry -- and maybe Renée -- tick and what separates them and some of the gray areas they walk in from those on the other side of the law. We have multiple murderers in this book for whom their victims are just tools, just objects, things go be used. While for Harry, Renée, and those like them -- these are people with hopes, dreams, pain and suffering that need to be protected, defended and avenged.


A downside for me was how little non-case work time we got with Renée. Harry had time with Maddie, Cisco and Elizabeth in addition to all the police. Renée got almost no time with Lola, nothing with her grandmother, and only a little time with anyone outside of the Hollywood Station that wasn't involved in a crime she was investigating. I liked her non-police world just as much as I like Harry's and wish we'd have gotten time in it.


Like many, I knew that Bosch and Ballard would team-up eventually. But no one expected it so soon. Before reading this, I'd said that I would've liked another book or two just to get to know Renée a bit more before bringing Harry in. However, having read this -- I'm glad it happened now (still, wouldn't have minded the other). Having the two of them together emphasizes the non-Bosch-ness of Renée, which is good. Also, it gives her someone she can count on, not overly-influenced by her history, department politics, or any of the nonsense that will follow her for the rest of her career. This also gives Harry a way away from cold cases and San Fernando. Altogether, it's a smart move on Connelly's part. Now I guess we just wait on the inevitable involvement of Mickey.


Between the merging of the two worlds, the strong emotional tie Harry has to Daisy and her mother, the upheaval the other case brings to his life, and the continued development of Renée Ballard as a character -- there's just so many positives to this book that it's hard to enumerate them all. I think this is the best book that Connelly has done -- in any of his series -- in years. It's been ages (if ever) that he's had a clunker of a novel, but this one seems more effective, more entertaining than most. It's just so well done. This is a must-read for Bosch fans, Renée Ballard fans, Connelly fans or anyone who likes seeing one of the masters of the genre at the top of his game.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/05/dark-sacred-night-by-michael-connelly-bosch-and-ballard-team-up-in-one-of-connellys-best
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review 2018-11-06 02:10
Bosch Enters New Territory and Revisits some Old in Two Very Different cases
Two Kinds of Truth - Michael Connelly
...he had never planted evidence against any suspect or adversary in his life. And this knowledge gave Bosch an affirming jolt of adrenaline and purpose. He knew there were two kinds of truth in this world. The truth that was the unalterable bedrock of one’s life and mission. And the other, malleable truth of politicians, charlatans, corrupt lawyers, and their clients, bent and molded to serve whatever purpose was at hand.

Harry Bosch continues to work as a volunteer San Fernando cold case detective until a very hot case comes in -- a murder. Harry steps in to guide the full-time detectives through this investigation at a family-owned pharmacy. Quickly, they determine that there's a tie between this killing and a criminal enterprise involving prescription drugs (opioids, to be specific). Soon, Harry's doing something he's never really done before to find some answers and hopefully bring the killers to justice. It's a great setup to a story. There's a blast from Harry's past involved in the prescription drug side of the investigation, and I never thought I'd see this character again. It was a nice surprise.


That's not only blast from the past in this novel. An old case of Harry's is being re-opened (by "old" I mean pre-Black Echo, I think) -- supposedly some new evidence has come to light exonerating the man Harry and his old partner arrested. Harry's last LAPD partner, Lucia Soto, is one of the detectives being used by the DA in the re-opening of the case -- but that doesn't mean Harry's getting much of a break. The position of the LAPD and the DA's office is that Harry and his partner put away the wrong man -- framed an innocent man -- and it's just a matter of time until he's released and Harry will be sued for his role. Harry does the smart thing right away and gets Mickey Haller involved, he's going to need legal help -- and emotional support -- to get through this.


The resolution to the Drugs/Murder story was a bit too easy, a bit too rushed for my taste -- which is a shame, because I thought there was a lot more that Connelly could've done with it, and I was really enjoying it. That said, other than the resolution to it -- I thought it was a great story, and if it even skews toward the truth when it comes to how these pills are procured/distributed, it's one of the more disturbing stories that Connelly has ever told.


On the other hand, the resolution of the False Conviction story was never in doubt -- Connelly's not going to do that to Harry. The only question was how he was going to be cleared/how the murderer was going to be proven guilty again. The way it involved the work of Harry, Cisco, and Mickey together -- especially with some wily moves on Mickey's part was a whole lot of fun. I do think Harry's reaction to his half-brother's craftiness reeked of hypocrisy -- he's not above some of the same kind of moves (just not in a courtroom). The difference laying (in Harry's eyes) in that he's a cop, seeking justice and that Mickey's a lawyer, seeking a win. Honestly, that reaction annoyed me a lot -- which is one of the best parts of this series, I frequently am annoyed by Harry Bosch -- he's arrogant, hypocritical, and blind to his own faults. In other words, he's human. He's also dedicated, determined and generally honorable -- qualities you can't help but admire.


I know that this novel is one of the books that's going to be the basis of the next season of Amazon's Bosch, and I couldn't help wondering throughout -- how? Both storylines depend on an older Bosch than Welliver (the wrongful conviction story less-so), and one of them involves Mickey Haller, and I don't see how they could use that character (but it could be done without him, if necessary). There are probably umpteen articles easily found online about how they'll do it, but I'll just wait to watch it. Still, the thought nagged at me throughout reading.


This is typical Connelly/Bosch -- a strong, well=constructed story with compelling characters, a good pace and some twists that you won't see coming. If this was written by anyone else, I'd have likely given it more stars. Maybe that's wrong of me, but . . . something tells me Connelly will be fine no matter what I say. It's a strong book, it's an entertaining book -- there's a lot of good moments, but it could've been better.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/05/two-kinds-of-truth-by-michael-connelly-bosch-enters-new-territory-and-revisits-some-old-in-two-very-different-cases
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text 2018-10-31 05:06
Reading progress update: I've read 456 out of 456 pages.
The Black Echo - Michael Connelly

This was really good. But knowing the series, I didn´t see that ending coming.

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