Cover Image: The Dark Hours

The Dark Hours

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Member Reviews

This book was received as an ARC from Little Brown and Company through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

Renee and Harry are at it again but this time, they are encountering a case regarding the fatal hit of an autoshop owner on New Years Even just when the clock strikes midnight. The hit is linked to a previous unsolved case and old information turns into new leads and more secrets are uncovered. Renee knew the only person that could help her was fellow detective Harry Bosch and exciting things happen when those two work together. Michael Connelly is excellent writing these novels where readers are invested from beginning to end or else they might miss a crucial element to the case. This series is the reason I love mysteries, thrillers, detective series, and exciting adventures. Every page was a new element to the case and I was following along with Renee and Harry. The end was left on a cliffhanger, but a very shocking one and I can't wait to see what brilliance Michael Connelly has in store for the next installments of the series.

A gut-wrenching thrillride from the best detectives for the case. This book deserves 5 stars.
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A great read from Michael Connelly, fast becoming one of my favorite authors. The combination of Renee Ballard and Harry Busch make for a fast pace read. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read the DRC.
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This book was amazing! I loved the mystery in this book, it was well done!! I love all of Michael Connelly books!! I would highly recommend this book to everyone!
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The following review appears in multiple newspapers including The Cullman Times, The News Aegis and The News Courier in Alabama; and the Mountain Times news group centered on Boone, N.C. URL for Cullman attached: https://www.cullmantimes.com/opinion/columns/books-in-review-15-picks-to-pack-your-beach-bag/article_31c49918-092e-11ed-a76b-6b9ca34d423b.html

International Standard Book Numbers, or ISBNs — those ubiquitous barcodes responsible for making books one of the earliest online commodities (and gifting Amazon an auspicious beginning) — are also useful in quantifying how many books a particular country the publishing world releases each year.

Recent statistics indicate that that number was nearly 3.5 million in the United States alone, and about 3.3 million more than its nearest competitor, the United Kingdom, which issued less than 200,000 ISBNs during a comparable time frame.

However you page through that data, that’s a lot of books — and enough that you might have missed some of the best from the past few months.

From Alabamian nonfiction to North Carolinian poetry; from thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy and old-fashioned storytelling, the following is a curated and publication-dated list of 15 books — including a notable work of poetry from the High Country — that might have missed your literary calendar. Now, as we move into high summer, it’s worth noting that any of these would be a welcome addition to your beach bag — ISBN, sand and all, which is timely, since a few have a next installment blooming this season, or as soon as fireplace weather begins to kick in.

‘When Light Waits For Us’ (Main Street Rag Publishing Company) by Hilda Downer, $14, softcover, 69 pages, May 6, 2021

Hilda Downer, a member of the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative, completed her master’s work at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., and earned a MFA in poetry from Vermont College — all factors she weaves into deeply interior vignettes in “When Light Waits For Us.”

Like the best poetry, those scraps of life speak to each of us as individuals. “I know what it is / about the rain’s hard knuckles on the roof / before leaking down the chalky wall / that chills me more / than the risk of hypothermia: / It is the poverty of childhood,” she writes in “The Scamp.”

Accessible and touching, “When Light Waits For Us” began as a collaborative effort with a photographer — a relationship that fell into free verse. The aftermath, this solitary release, is better for that experience.

‘Miss Molly’s Final Mission,’ by Rick DeStefanis, $23.95, hardcover, 234 pages, Aug. 24, 2021

The subtitle of Rick DeStefanis’ most recent novel might read, “A Vietnam War veteran flies into Central American Revolution and finds love in the jungle” — and that puts it squarely in the writer's wheelhouse.

The author of three series — The Rawlins Trilogy, Southern Fiction Series and The Vietnam War Series — DeStefanis is a gifted storyteller who offers here a standalone military adventure, even as long-time readers will be rewarded with some familiar characters, such as Buddy Rider from the “Valley of the Purple Hearts.”

As always, the story is heavy on adventure and light on romance, as in this book, with echoes of DeStefanis’ “The Birdhouse Man.” As in that novel, Buddy is a lone Vietnam veteran and pilot who is pulled into a mercy mission to help save several Maryknoll Sister missionaries embroiled in revolution-torn El Salvador in the 1980s.

Meticulous research and credibility are hallmarks of "Miss Molly," and the author’s Vietnam series overall. A satisfying novel based on a war that reverberates through America today.

'Gated Prey (Eve Ronin Book 3)' (Thomas & Mercer) by Lee Goldberg, $9.99, paperback, 267 pages, Oct. 26, 2021

Lee Goldberg’s third Eve Ronin book almost didn’t make this list — but only because the fourth installment in the series, “Movie Land,” was recently released. Goldberg is a gifted television writer who knows how to keep the pages turning in his novels, and turn out bestsellers, which he does to myriad acclaims in his Eve Ronin series.

Ronin is a Los Angeles County sheriff’s detective who, in this third edition, is embroiled in high-dollar thefts and murder in gated communities with a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit hanging over her.

True to form, Goldberg neatly ties up multitudinous loose ends before setting up the next in the series. “Gated Prey” works as a series starter, but if you begin here, the recommendation is that you consume one and two before four. Continuity really isn’t the concern — Goldberg is fluent enough to drop enough details to make each a standalone — but series readers are rewarded with subtle Easter eggs as one novel builds into the next. "Movieland (Eve Ronin Book 4)," continues the suspense with a series of sniper attacks in California that echo real-life events from the past.

‘The Dangers of an Ordinary Night,’ (Crooked Lane Books) by Lynne Reeves, $17.49, hardcover, 288 pages, Nov. 9, 2021

Dark secrets propel the mystery of two 17-year-olds kidnapped and left to die. When one of the teens is found, dazed and disoriented, the story moves into a web of truth, half-truths and buried pasts that threaten family members and a detective scouring for clues in an affluent community. Personal redemption by that detective is possible, and needed on personally visceral levels, but only if all is revealed before the denouement.

Cinematic in scope, Reeves notes that “The Dangers of an Ordinary Night” is my love letter to the theater … (with a) setting central to both the way the story is conceived and in the dramatic themes the novel explores.” Those dramatic themes? Mental illness and addiction top the list — two dangers found in an “ordinary night.”

A self-assured novel, Reeves, a veteran school and family counselor, builds relationship upon relationship with a deft touch in constructing characters and story that will linger after the last page.

The author's next novel, “Dark Rivers to Cross” (Crooked Lane), is an origin story involving a mother and her two sheltered sons — and the past family connections she has sought to erase. “Dark Rivers” is scheduled to release Nov. 8, in plenty of time to first safeguard a bit of reading time for “Dangers.”

‘The Dark Hours: (A Renee Ballard and Harry Bosch novel, 4),’ (Little, Brown and Company) by Michael Connelly, $29, hardcover, 400 pages, Nov. 9, 2021

Another in a series on this list with a next installment in the works (“Desert Star,” Nov. 8), Connelly’s Ballard series are books that could be consumed alone, but most savored when read in order for the nuances of character development the author so ably constructs. Unlike his Bosch series, which runs now to more than two dozen books, now is a good time to get on the four-book and counting Ballard-Bosch bandwagon.

In “The Dark Hours,’ Connelly neatly twines a single bullet from a New Year’s Eve shooting-death case of LAPD Detective Ballard’s with an ancient case of Detective Harry Bosch’s. Tying in a pair of serial rapists, the Midnight Men, the story moves quickly toward plot connections only a master such as Connelly could devise. Set in near-real time, the global pandemic has altered the makeup and resources of the department, leaving Ballard and Bosch to recognize that the only way to solve both crimes is by again joining forces.

‘The Becoming: The Dragon Heart Legacy (Book 2)’ (St. Martins Press) by Nora Roberts, $28.99, hardcover, 448 pages, Nov. 23, 2021

After eons, the worlds of man and magic have been split and divided, but some, including Breen Siobhan Kelly, can move between both. Reading the second offering in Nora Roberts’ fantasy series, “The Becoming: The Dragon Heart Legacy,” gives you just enough time to get caught up on the series (“The Choice: The Dragon Heart Legacy,” book three is due Nov. 22), and if you do, you’ll find why November’s cliff-hanger resolution (the publisher isn’t quiet about labeling the series both fantasy and suspense) is so highly anticipated.

Perhaps more known for her romance novels — Roberts has published more than 220 of those — the author’s talents for fantasy are well-recognized and deservedly earned with the Dragon Heart series, a world-building series destined for the big screen.

‘Struggles of the Soul: Where to Now, Lord?’ (Legaia Books) by Hollis Arban, $7.95, paperback, 181 pages, Jan. 11, 2022

This touching, coming-of-age story, ‘Struggles of the Soul,’ by Hollis Arban, formerly of Athens in North Alabama, will appeal to teens — especially as the author adds a note of realism by inserting himself both into the story as the middle-aged Hal, and into the lives of a young family he befriends during a friendly game in the park.

As Hal’s life is revealed through stories, meals and outings, bonds deepen, boys learn to become men and a special young girl learns the value of friendship. Written from personal experiences, this short novel takes us to simpler times when learned life lessons lasted a lifetime.

And also on the subject of those simpler times, look also for Arban’s most recent book, “Short Stories for my Students” ($9.95, paperback, 175 pages, July 15, 2022). Written with middle- and high schoolers in mind, the 10 stories in this volume similarly come from the experience and imagination of earlier times — such as the story told to the author by his father, narrating the tale of a panther roaming the family’s Alabama farm in the early 1900s.

‘The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections’ (Poisoned Pen Press) by Eva Jurczyk, $26.99, hardcover, 336 pages, Jan. 25, 2022

An accomplished debut, “The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections” by Eva Jurczyk takes us with an expert’s pen into the world of rare books in a large university. Part mystery — and, as the title promises, one which centers on an irreplaceable ancient tome — and part relationship storytelling, the tale of a priceless book and the curator who’s told to keep the theft quiet is much more than it appears on the surface.

Look beyond the cover, Jurczyk tells us, and we’ll find the substance of a woman struggling to move past the shadows of the powerful men who loom over her. A heartbreaking twist infiltrates this story in a novel that teaches us about the transformational power of books in our lives.

‘The Silent Sisters’ (Charles Jenkins Book 3)' (Thomas & Mercer) by Robert Dugoni, $24.95, hardcover, 400 pages, Feb. 22, 2022

Those who have read Robert Dugoni’s past books would purchase anything, sight unseen, with the author’s name on it. Were he to publish his grocery list we’d still press “buy” because readers know even that would be laced with suspense and story.

And so we come to the third book in Dugoni’s Charles Jenkins series — a story we desperately need today.

Set in Russia, Jenkins is a master spy who thinks he’s done with his craft until the final two of seven sleeping American assets, women under decades of deep cover and dubbed “the sisters,” drop all communications from their contacts.

By this point in the series (preceded by “The Eighth Sister” and “The Last Agent"), Jenkins is on a Russian kill list, leaving him what he believes no moral option other than infiltrating the country in disguise — made harder since Jenkins is a Black man in a sea of white — to either save the Russian counter spies or determine if they’ve been turned against America as double agents.

Layering Russian organized crime into the story, Dugoni weaves a Russian spy story where, beyond all odds, the underdogs might just have a chance to win. Begin with the first two books in the series to capture shades of story, or dive into No. 3 for a solid summer read.

‘Girl In Ice’ (Gallery/Scout) by Erica Ferencik, $27.99, hardcover, 304 pages, March 1, 2022

A most strange novel, the setting of Erica Ferencik’s “Girl In Ice,” the Arctic Circle, is beautifully drawn and rendered, painting with words what is perhaps the most rural and inhospitable place in the world — making it, of course, the idea setting for a thriller that is at once both physical and psychological.

Linguist Valerie Chesterfield is trained in dead languages, which is fortunate as she travels to a remote science station off the barren coast of Greenland in search for answers to what appeared to be her scientist twin brother’s suicide. At the station, the discovery of a young girl frozen in both ice and time — the reason why the small team there wanted Valerie to join them — is a seemingly medical impossibility: the girl has been unfrozen, thawed out alive and speaks a language no one understands. Strange indeed, but as Valerie gets closer to comprehending the language of the girl, in addition to unraveling the circumstances behind her brother’s death, the ending comes with answers that are just as unexpected.

Ferencik works hard to put a lot of moving pieces together in this novel, but too hard in places. There’s an awful lot going on in terms of text and subtext and those, mixed with the austere climate, at times trip over one another. Still, the author earns high points for crafting a credible world inside an incredible story. You won’t soon read another book such as this.

‘The New Neighbor’ (Poisoned Pen Press) by Carter Wilson, $16.99, paperback, 400 pages, April 12, 2022

Carter Wilson writes tough, muscular novels and his particular brand of psychological thrillers grab you by the throat from page 1. To wit, the opening of his latest, “The New Neighbor”:

“I thought I couldn’t handle another minute in the funeral home, but this church is worse.

“My wife doesn’t belong here.

“Thirty-four years old and and the count stops there. Her biological clock runs backward now, ticking decomposition. ...

“‘Daddy, your tie,’ … Maggie points at my neck, her fierce, blue eyes gift-wrapped with streaks of red. Easy to tell when she’s been crying.”

Tough indeed. And it gets worse, much worse, way before the story even hints at getting better.

On the day of his wife’s funeral, Aidan Marlowe learns he’s holding the winning Powerball numbers — he’s superstitious to a fault and his same weekly numbers are on autoplay — manufacturing phenomenal wealth and unbearable loss at the same time.

But while the loss is inconsolable, the wealth can buy Marlowe and his two children a fresh start, which they do by purchasing a mansion in Bury, N.H. (a crossover town from Wilson’s “The Dead Husband” in this standalone story).

Because he’s won in one of the few states that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, Marlowe is hoping for a complete, fresh start. And this he has — until mysterious notes appear, letting him know that someone is watching his family, very, very carefully.

Building toward a denouement that is both solid and satisfying, “The New Neighbor” constructs collective consciousness fears made fresh under Wilson’s pen. The author has eight standalone thrillers in his canon to date, with each one a worthy successor.

’Strangers We Know’ (Thomas & Mercer) by Elle Marr, $15.95, paperback, 283 pages, May 1, 2022

Suspense and thrills in one package, Elle Marr’s “Strangers We Know” offers a fresh approach to the “FBI needs my help in tracking down a serial killer” motif.

Ivy Hon was adopted as an infant and so knows little of her family history. When a mysterious illness necessitates a genetic test, the results are unexpected. According the her DNA, she’s related to the Full Moon Killer, a serial murderer who has been stalking the Pacific Northwest for decades.

A fast, engaging read with well-drawn characters and credible story, Marr is showing herself to be a true working author, offering here a strong complement to her previous offerings, “Lies We Bury” (April 2021) and “The Missing Sister” (April 2020).

‘Our Little World’ (Dutton) by Karen Winn, $26, hardcover, 352 pages, May 3, 2022

Karen Winn’s “Our Little World” is poised to be the sleeper hit novel of 2022. To date, the attention it’s earned — despite strong critical reviews — pales with the depth of emotion and gravitas of the story.

Bee Kocsis has come of age. Encapsulating the story that is to unfold, she says as much in the first pages of this masterfully precise debut — a remembrance tale of two sisters growing up in Hammond, N.J., on the cusp of first love, loss and depths of turmoil that belie their young ages.

The remembrance year is 1985 and Bee’s sister, Audrina, is alive. It’s no secret that Audrina is dead when the novel opens — “My sister isn’t the only dead girl I’ve known, and not the first either,” Bee tells us — but it is a poignant set-up for secrets to come and the soul-crushing actions that will define not only the sisters, their friends and their families, but a community.

Bee and Audrina live in the type of upper middle-class block where moms take turns on summer days carpooling and chaperoning the neighborhood children from one activity to another. At Deer Chase Lake on one such outing, Sally, the preschool sister of a young, teen friend, Max, goes missing. Max unfairly takes responsibility after a community search proves futile, and so sets up one of the prominent parallels throughout the novel. Max’s misguided ownership of his sister’s disappearance will echo the responsibility Bee will ultimately feel for Audrina — although the sisters’ narrative is much more complicated.

Winn chronicles well the growing distance between the siblings even as Bee longs for a deeper relationship with the younger, but more socially adept Audrina: “Our fights were Cold War epic. When she hugged me, it was a Supreme Court ruling. We were hot and cold, and both at once. Sin and virtue, virtue and sin. An entire world occurred within our small, confined existence. Sisters were we.”

What comes of this wonderfully drawn period piece is this: the most self-assured kids can be the most self-tortured, teenage angst is not the sole privilege of teens and secrets will eventually out.

“Our Little World” is an encompassing look at small town American, circa mid-1980s, when the world felt different because it was. With a technological revolution still on the horizon — the first commercial mobile phone had launched two years earlier, but the iPhone and social media were a brief generation away — the pure unconnectedness of society parallels the impending unconnectedness of family relationships. Winn captures this beautifully.

‘The Local: A legal thriller’ (Doubleday) by Joey Hartstone, $28, hardcover, 320 pages, June 14, 2022

Joey Hartstone is a gifted screen- and television writer (“LBJ,” “Shock and Awe,” “The Good Fight,” “Your Honor”) and offers in “The Local” a fast-paced, well-executed legal thriller on par with anyone writing such fare today (looking at you, John Grisham).

James Euchre is a patent lawyer living in patent lawyer Mecca, the town of Marshall, Texas, when a beloved mentor and judge is murdered. The person accused of the crime turns out to be the man Euchre is already representing in a patent lawsuit. That the client is wealthy and arrogant adds to building a deep internal conflict over Euchre’s defense of a man who could be the killer of a man he considered a father. Second chances factor deeply into this narrative, but Hartstone tangles those well with grief and addiction before unraveling the final mystery.

‘The Force of Such Beauty’ (Dutton) by Barbara Borland, $27, hardcover, 383 pages, July 19, 2022

Barbara Borland has been more than once in serious contention for major writing awards — an Edgar best novel finalist, a peer contest, among those — and her most recent novel, “The Force of Such Beauty,” is a case in point. Her third novel, a “phantasmagorical fable of love and marriage,” tells the story of Caroline, a princess who longs to break the confines of royal isolation — and attempts to do so, more than once.

Turning upside down the typical girl-prince dichotomy, Caroline is certainly no passive princess in this thriller masquerading none-to-subtly as a deep introspective on our notions of privilege, station, womanhood and marriage. The messages are not lost, but enhanced in this haunting, smart satire.

Tom Mayer can be reached at tmayer@cullmantimes.com.
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Kept my interest--always a fan of Harry Bosch but the strong character Renee Ballard adds depth to the story and gives a female perspective of law enforcement. The two team up to track down a killer who has been dormant. Also, Renee's character has a quality that shows truth and right will win --but always at a cost. Is it a cost she wants to pay?
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I'm a huge Harry Bosch fan, and author Michael Connelly does not disappoint with this latest adventure. The plot is well-crafted, and it's a treat to return to the world of Dets. Bosch and Ballard and the LAPD. I would recommend this book to readers who relish crime procedurals, as this is a forte of Connelly's.
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Another Connelly HomeRun. Renee Ballard is such a great character that I can’t help but wonder if she really needs Harry Bosch any longer. She seems ready to stand on her own. 
Another great mystery in a long line of great ones from Michael Connelly.
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LAPD Detective Renee Ballard and Harry Bosch are once more united in The Dark Hours, the latest from Michael Connelly, the master of the police procedural. In this book the focus is mainly on Ballard as she tries to solve two cases, a killing that may be connected with one of Bosch’s old cases and a serial rapist case, while having to deal with departmental infighting and coverups. But she is determined to do her job despite all the roadblocks thrown in her way with a lot of help from Bosch.

You know  when you start a Connelly book, you’d better buckle up cuz you’re in for a bumpy ride and The Dark Hours is no exception. It’s as always fast and furious from beginning to the nail-biting end and it kept me reading into the wee small hours. 

<i>Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review</i>
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I really enjoyed the newest book in the Harry Bosch Universe series.  Renee Ballard once again teams up with Harry Bosch to solve a murder.  Connelly incorporates many elements of the past couple of years, COVID, Black Lives Matter, defunding the police to reflect the societal turmoil we are all experiencing.  Well written and engaging as all of his books are. Highly recommend.
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Michael Connelly continues to write great crime books! This time Harry Bosch insists to help Renee Ballard on her next case while navigating the continuously changing pandemic world and its challenges. This book also addresses the changing dynamic of a police station, defund of a police campaign and the rotation of the graveyard shift - representing the challenges of law enforcement in society today.
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It has been quite sometime since I have read a Michael Connelly book. He still does not disappoint and I need to read all the ones I have missed. At first I was really taken aback by how much readers were hit in the face with Covid and mask references. I don't like this in my readings because I read to escape and I was getting frustrated with the references. However, the plot, the cases and the dynamic between Bosch and Ballard were so enticing that I just rolled my eyes at each reference and moved on. 

I understand that Connelly wanted to tie this into current events; Covid and the Black Lives Matter movement, but again I want to read to escape. I thought this was a great police procedural novel. The dual cases that Ballard worked simultaneously were both interesting in their own right. I have always been a fan of Michael Connelly, but this book has renewed my love for his writing!
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I have been a fan of Connelly for a while.  I especially love the character of Bosch.  This is my first real dive into a Ballard novel and I was not disappointed.  She is flawed and hard nosed just like Bosch and that made her more relatable to me.  Connelly was able to bring in todays current events (mask wearing, pandemic, political strife) and mix it within the story without making me feel like there was an agenda.  I will be going back and reading the other Ballard novels as well as diving back into the Bosch series after reading this new novel.  Recommend!
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Everything Michael Connelly writes is pure mystery/suspense gold.  His Harry Bosch series is great and I'm so happy he has found a way to keep Harry around though his retirement by partnering him with a young female night shift police officer Renee Ballard.  Renee is a go-getter who works the night shift in her division by choice and is frustrated by not being able to follow through on cases when the day shift takes them over.  By teaming with Harry she is able to keep investigated "off the books".  This installment of the series starts out with a shooting on New Year's Eve that Renee is sure is not accidental.  She is also trying to catch two evil rapists that are terrorizing women in her precinct.  She enlists Harry for help and together they are able to catch the bad guys.  This is a fast paced, suspenseful, full of action story with a bit of a surprise ending.  It's well worthy of five stars.
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Fantastic book of the Harry Bosch series. I do wish there was more of Bosch himself but I do understand what the author is doing - attempting to be realistic. However, I'd like more of Bosch but Ballard is a nice new character to have around. Cannot wait for the next book - thank you for this e-arc!
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A glorious fourth book featuring Los Angeles Police Department detective Renée Ballard as she works “The Late Show,” the unglamorous overnight shift that most of the detective view as punishment but which Renee embraces wholeheartedly. Once again, Renee has retired Harry Bosch along for the ride as her unofficial advisor, mentor, and confidant. Ballard in turn keeps Harry active in the detective hunt, and has over time internalized Harry’s work ethic, willingness to tenaciously go outside the rules to get the bad guys, and strong internal moral compass. 

It’s New Year’s Eve, and Ballard finds herself and her partner Lisa Moore taking shelter beneath an overpass near a homeless encampment as thousands of revelers in street parties fire guns in the air in celebration. Ballard’s on the lookout for a pair of serial rapists known as the Midnight Men who have been attacking and killing women in their homes. In the meantime, Ballard gets called to the scene of the first shooting of the new year where one of these stray bullets seems to have killed the owner of a car repair. 

Ballard realizes the auto shop owner, a former gang member who’s turned his life around, has been murdered. A recovered bullet connects the auto owner shooting to an old case of Bosch’s. As Ballard investigates, she fights to hold on to the increasing politicized Midnight Men case that has been gaining media attention amid citizen frustration that the rapists have not been caught. 

The Dark Hours takes place during the pandemic, right as the first of the COVID-19 vaccinations came out. The wearing of masks and getting vaccinated has become a hot topic among both police officers and the populace. Ballard, who got COVID and recovered, approaches unmasked citizens and other officers with caution. The pandemic has forced Ballard off her sleep-during-the-day in a beach tent lifestyle, surfing with her loyal dog Lola by her side. Ballard has moved into a condo, hating all the rules and overbearing neighbors, while mourning the loss of Lola to cancer. The novel also covers the January 2021 takeover of the Capitol, as Ballard and Bosch watch the insurrection on TV in consternation and disbelief. 

In addition, the ongoing political movement in L.A. to defund the police has dramatically deteriorated police morale at the LAPD and left officers reluctant to intervene unless necessitated. This leads to a police stance of abandoning proactive protection and waiting to react to being called to a scene. Ballard resents both this passivity and fear of taking action leading to a complaint against the police and sees this new attitude of complacency as getting in the way if her solving her cases. 

Ballard also slogs her way through misogynist and vindictive colleagues, leaving her at times questioning her willingness to keep her job as a dedicated detective. But she plunges ahead mostly as a loner, resiliently and bravely willing to go all in on her investigations. Through it all, Harry sagely stands ready in the background for moral support and assistance in the investigation – even drawing from copies of his past criminal case files he keeps stored in his house. 

The twists and tension that follow leave you breathless and filled with excitement for Ballard’s next outing. 

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced readers copy.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

⏰ 𝐒𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐦𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐫: Renee Ballard is back on the job during the pandemic, wading through COVID, murder, and rapists (oh my). A former gang banger is shot on New Year’s Eve and Ballard rightfully suspects foul play, leading her to consult (TA-da!) Harry Bosch, the original investigator on a related case. Renee is teamed with a sex crimes detective who swims in the shallow “doesn’t give a crap” part of the police pool and winds up taking lead on finding some serial rapists. But Renee is learning yet again that the state of public service today is in shambles, just like our political culture, and she’s not sure she’s willing to fight much longer…

💡𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬: This comes darn close to police drama perfection. I’ve read EVERY Connelly book, and yes I’m a fan, so I know that Connelly has extensive police procedure knowledge (how it REALLY goes down) and man, did he nail it during COVID/Protests/2021 - the year of crazy. 

As a teacher, weirdly I related to this one - I’m also in a profession where people are leaving in droves and few are lining up to fill the vacancies. Relatively thankless jobs with long hours, pay that isn’t commiserate to experience OR education, and I’ve been pondering the, “WHY AM I DOING THIS?” too Renee. I’m lucky in that I’m at a school I like (hello students reading my review!) but it’s COVID and being high risk and a chronic illness warrior, losing my planning periods regularly to sub due to teacher shortages…. Ugh Renee… we are simpatico when it comes to career fatigue.

I found it so realistic, Renee Ballard’s tenacity and true love for her job - that hook (that keeps me teaching): I AM MAKING A DIFFERENCE. And Ballard no doubt does. She’s a good egg. A rare egg. Love that she is basically morphing into a female Bosch and Bosch is like Stetson cologne - a comfortable classic you recognize. I never tire of Bosch’s appearances, and his mentorship of Renee is perfection.

𝗔𝗹𝗹 𝗺𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄𝘀 𝗮𝘃𝗮𝗶𝗹𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗮𝘁 𝗦𝗰𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗽𝘆𝗠𝗮𝗴𝘀.𝗰𝗼𝗺 𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗽𝘂𝗯𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻.

📚𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: Mystery/Police Mystery

😍𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨: Ohhhh definitely in my top 5 Connelly books. All the fans will love it.

🙅‍♀️ 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨: If you’re burned out on 2021 and can’t read another word about this sucky world.

Thank you to the author, NetGalley and Little, Brown and Co. for my advanced copy in exchange for my always-honest review and for helping me have an end-of-Breakfast-Club-John-Bender-fist-in-the-air moment
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LAPD detective Renée Ballard is drawn to the dark streets of L.A. and prepares herself for anything to happen.  She knows on New Year’s Eve bullets will fly in “celebration” of the upcoming year.  A killer using the gunfire as a distracting cover murders an auto shop owner.  This case piles on to Ballard’s current workload to solve multiple rapes of women by who the press calls The Midnight Men.  There seems to be no real connection on female victims The Midnight Men select which stumps Ballard but she keeps digging.  This is more of a police procedural than a thriller and the story slows with cop jargon and procedures.  Ballard, although carrying much baggage, is a sympathetic character and sometimes seems superhuman by going without sleep for over 24 hours. Connelly brings back an aging Harry Bosch who has become Ballard’s trusted mentor and together they put puzzle pieces together in a great climatic scene with Ballard purposely putting herself in immediate danger.
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Ballard and Bosch team up again in this stellar entry in the series.    It's tradition that at midnight on New Year's Eve in Hollywood, people point their guns at the sky and shoot.   Ballard is on the nightshift and is called to the scene of a shooting at an auto repair shop. The owner of the shop has been murdered, and not by one of the bullets shot into the sky.  Ballard's investigation leads to a cold case once worked by Harry Bosch.  They team up to solve this new killing, and possibly the old one. This is Connelly at his best.
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The Dark Hours, by Michael Connelly, adds another fantastic book to his catalog and enforces his hold near the top of police procedures. He doesn't have a monopoly on the genre but I'm not sure there is anyone better. 

Featuring LAPD detective Renée Ballard, The Dark Hours hits all the right notes. Ballard is a great detective but kind of a renegade within the LAPD. Not only does she have to contend with criminals she must also deal with opposition elements within the department. Seemingly, the only person she can rely on is Ret. Detective Harry Bosch. As allies go, you can't have a better one than Bosch.

The Dark Hours features some heinous criminals with well thought-out schemes. The criminals he invents are both diabolical and ingenious. Actually, every character he creates are well developed with many layers. Connelly is a true master of his craft. 

Whether you are new to his books or a long-time fan, Connelly never disappoints. 

My sincere thanks to Michael Connelly, Little, Brown and Company, and NetGalley for the privilege of reviewing The Dark Hours.
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New Year's Eve is never a good time to pull duty. Detective Ballard, a member of the Hollywood police unit, has been working the midnight shift for a number of months. Everyone is happy she is on the night shift. 

Her boss does not like her. His objective is to have her investigate and solve the crimes and then have them turned over to the day unit so he can take the credit. Ballard’s partner wants to have New Year's Eve off and does not show for her watch. 

A group of thugs called “The Midnight Men” were committing brutal rapes in Ballard’s territory. She is tasked with investigating the case but is also forewarned that the case will more than likely be turned over to the day watch fairly quickly. The ugly job of interviewing the victims is given to her. 

Victims of crime are forced to relive the crime to help in solving them. This makes Ballard a very unpopular detective. Similarities in the way the crimes evolve lead to a very identifiable pattern. But finding out the sequence of events leaves the detective on the low end of the popularity scale.

True to his understanding of the craft, Michael Connelly develops a very plausible sequence of events and the story becomes more gripping as time goes on. The clues in the book make the attempt to solve the crime satisfying. This novel certainly will not disappoint. 4.5 stars – CE Williams
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