And now it’s time for a straight procedural by a master of the genre, Michael Connelly. Unfortunately Connelly overdoes his forte, the procedural parts, for my tastes anyway. And he has a new protagonist for a new series. Her name is Renée Ballard and she’s an LAPD Detective working the night shift because of an incident with a daytime boss. Renée is truly beautiful and she’s very smart with a lot of energy and a willingness to put her physically fit self right out there. She’s burdened by Connelly’s reporting every darned movement she makes.
The Late Show
by Michael Connelly
2017 / 405 pages
read by Katherine Moening 9h 22m
rating: B- / crime- procedural
Ballard is not happy on the night shift mainly because she doesn’t get to finish any of the cases she starts. Nightshift is when a lot of crimes happen so she gets to the scene first, does the initial probes and then makes her reports. BUt she has to simply hand her work over to the day shift for investigation. This annoys her.
And her partner, Jenkins, doesn’t want to put in any more work time than necessary because he has a very sick wife and wants to be home for her after work. But Ballard works solo several days a week and she enjoys that freedom – to kind of do some more investigating on her own. Also she has some freedom during the daylight hours.
The book opens with a little old lady reporting a credit card theft and then proceeds to the shooting of five people in a bar – gangland style – an execution. One of the victims was a waitress named Cynthia Haddell and Ballard develops a special attachment to her due to the manner of death. Three men in a booth were also killed and they were probably the prime targets – with the killer(s) totally unknown. They seem to have scooted around or under the security cameras. A guy named Ramona Ramon, a transexual, manages to be the lone surviver and is of great interest to Ballard except he’s in an induced coma.
Of course Ballard has problems at work – not everyone wants a smart beautiful woman on the squad, but with one vital exception, Ballard is handling her own difficulties – for the most part.
My opinion? As I said, this book is a bit too “procedural” for my tastes – nothing really interesting happens until about 1/3 of the book. And Renée is kind of flat as a character but she’s okay –
Connelly has had Harry Bosch going for about 25 years (and 20th book was released this year) and Mickey Haller for 12 years (with 5 books under his name). There have been a few more main characters, but they were either in stand-aloes or their series were short-lived. Sorry to say I don’t think Renée Ballard will make the long series bunch. But there’s a new Mickey Haller book coming out next Tuesday (Oct 31) – “Two Kinds of Truth.” I’m waiting and it will be duly reviewed. 🙂
I’m ambivalent about Ballard. And doesn’t she have a strange living situation! If the character is a hit, I expect her to interact with Harry and Mickey eventually. I already have “Two Kinds of Truth” on hold – way down the list, something like 18th.