THE LATE SHOW by Michael Connelly
Evidently Michael Connelly is not one to rest on his laurels. He has certainly had phenomenal success with his Harry Bosch books and his fans would be content if he wrote one or two of those type of books a year from here to eternity. Connelly however has other plans and has now introduced us to a new lead character named Renee Ballard. Our first contact with her comes in Connelly’s new novel THE LATE SHOW.
Ballard could be Bosch’s little sister. She appears to share his feisty temperament as well as his dedication to being a police officer. These two traits have already brought her into conflict with upper management. Ballard was sexually harassed by her superior and filed a charge against him. When her partner did not back up her claims (of which he was well aware) Ballard was shipped off to the night shift, also known as “the late show”.
Renee has a new partner named Jenkins who is on the late shift voluntarily. Jenkins’ wife is dying of cancer and he wants to be with her during the day when she is awake. Jenkins does not want to do anything to rock the boat or stir up trouble. In his opinion he and Ballard are there to take notes of crimes that occur on their shifts and then turn them over to the day shift. This is certainly not Renee’s take on what they should be doing.
One night they catch the case of a vicious assault. A woman has been attacked and brutally beaten and is literally clinging to life. Jenkins wants to just pass it off but Renee manages to get her new superior to let her handle it. Pursuing this case leads into all kinds of complicated situations which is where Connelly’s writing style excels.
Is a Ballard book as good as a Bosch book? Not at this point. We have had approximately twenty books to learn about Bosch and it has been a fascinating journey. In THE LATE SHOW we are getting the early glimpses into who and what Renee Ballard is. As we add on future information it seems apparent she will be a worthy subject of Connelly stories. But that is for the future.
For the present Mr. C could give us more Bosch stories and maybe a new “Lincoln Lawyer” adventure. It has been a while since Mickey Haller had a story all to himself. Or perhaps he could integrate Renee Ballard into a Bosch story so that we could enjoy the comfort of Bosch while getting to know Ballard better.
Still I will jump at the chance to read any story from Michael Connelly be it about Harry Bosch, Renee Ballard or Freddie the cat. The man is that good and his stories are that creative. THE LATE SHOWE is not vintage Connelly but it is certainly good enough for me to devour in one sitting. Bring on the next one!
THE LATE SHOW is published by Little Brown. It contains 448 pages and sells for $28.00.
Jackie K Cooper