Connelly introduces a new character into Bosch's universe with Detective Renee Ballard. Ballard has been delegated to work the night shift or the late show in the parlance of the LAPD. She has been put there because she filed a sexual harassment suit against her Lieutenant and her partner failed to back her up on it. Ballard is often disappointed in her work during the late shift because the cases she works are normally handed off to the detectives working daytime and she can't follow through on them. But she gets involved in two cases that she doesn't want to let go. The first is the brutal beating of a transsexual prostitute who was left for dead in a parking lot. Then she gets pulled into the investigation of a nightclub shooting when she happens to be at the hospital when a young waitress is brought in who was shot at the club. She is able to followup on the prostitute beating which puts her in harm's way. And she doesn't know who to trust in the department as she is considered an outcast based on her sexual harassment charge.
This was a very good police novel by Connelly and Ballard is another great character created by him with a very interesting back story. I know she teams up with Bosch in some of the next novels which I will be looking forward to reading. Bosch is a favorite of mine based primarily on the great TV series. However, I've only read a few of the novels which I hope to remedy soon.
As a mystery it was okay, and I like Harry Bosch. Where this book falls down for me is in the character of Renee Ballard. Ballard lives out of a van, sleeps in a tent on the beach (with a kindly lifeguard watching over her). She has no place of residence, let alone anything like a home. I don't buy that because of the impracticalities involved. Venice Beach is infested with druggies and homeless now; there's no way anybody halfway normal would think of sleeping on the beach anymore. Habitually showering and changing at work would raise eyebrows. Where does she get her laundry done (not just the suits)? What happens when she has her period? What happens when she needs a bathroom? Or when that convenient dog sitter is not available? It's all too convenient - and too improbable. Maybe a man might live like that, but I've never met a woman who would willingly do so. So I just didn't buy it.
All of the Bosch books are excellent reads. I can hardly wait to read book 2.
Enjoyable but story is kind of weak
In this novel we meet Renee Ballard, LAPD detective. Renee lives alone with her dog Lola, but seems to sleep more on the beach or in other homes than in her own.
Renee had a rough start in life but was rescued by her grandmother, whom she adores. Early experiences led her to her career in law enforcement, but, like Harry Bosch, her commitment is to the truth and not to the law as represented by top floors of the LAPD building. She therefore is at times tempted to break rules.
Ballard is working the Late Show - the night shift. She was assigned this less-desirable post after her charges of sexual misconduct against a superior officer were dismissed. They were dismissed because her partner did not back her up.
The position means that these detectives are called on any case that needs a detective, from credit card theft to murder. It also means that at times there is only one detective, as the two need to cover seven days a week, each taking four. So it is that Ballard finds herself alone three days and able to pursue some cases a bit harder than her partner would have liked.
She does get a case of credit card theft and follows it to a conclusion. She and her partner are also on hand when five people are shot to death in a restaurant. Renee squeezes in extra time to work this case, although she is not the lead, partly out of a sense of justice needed for one of victims. And she is on hand to take on the case of a trans woman who was beaten savagely and left for dead. Her efforts at times cost her sleep and cost her time with her dog. They also put her in dangerous positions.
As with other LAPD crime novels Connelly has written, there is meticulous attention to detail. This is much of what I like about his writing. Procedures and customs are briefly but clearly explained so that we have a sense of what uses a detective can make of what resources. The detail lends an air of realism, even when the circumstances may go haywire. The story is also written simply, almost like a well-written police report, no extraneous emotion tucked in.
I look forward to additional books in this series, and hope that Ballard and Bosch get to work a case together as well.
It took me a while to get in step with Michael Connelly's new character, Renee Ballard, but as he revealed more and more of her inner self, I began to see the similarities with our old friend, Harry Bosch. Harry is intense and unrelenting, as is Ballard, and she has a fierceness about her that Bosch fans will enjoy. Like Harry, she's willing to go the extra mile for a victim: "Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts." I'm looking forward to Ballard and Bosch crossing paths eventually.