THE NIGHT FIRE by Michael Connelly

Book Review by Jim McCarthy

The Night Fire (Renée Ballard Book 3)I am not embarrassed to admit that I am a habitual fan of the genre of police procedurals, whether British, Italian, Canadian, or any other well-woven criminal investigation. Michael Connelly has developed an extensive franchise and set of novels for his chief protagonist, Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch, whose career now spans a few decades into recent times with The Night Fire. Harry, now retired but remaining connected with police work, is partnered with Renee Ballard, an LA cop whose choice of shifts is nighttime and called the late show. The duo works well in tandem and appreciates the contributions each makes to an investigation.

A bonus in this tale is the appearance of Mickey Haller, of Connelly’s Lincoln Layer, both a novel and film starring Matthew McConaughey, for whom Harry operates as a private investigator. The beauty of this appearance is that Harry’s findings in a case where Haller is representing an indicted murderer of a local judge links to one of Ballard’s investigations. As each investigation proceeds independently and clues are unearthed creating connections among parties, the skill and drama of Connelly’s narration appears ever so methodically and perfectly.  This is the second in what is hoped a continuing series for the two detectives.

This presentation is at the heart of the very best police procedurals in whatever national setting they occur. And the attraction is not solely dependent upon gruesome crimes, although Harry has seen many of those. There is an elegance to the thought processes of Harry and Renee as they exchange their respective investigative findings and arrive at conclusions that identify connective tissue between one criminal act and another.

Connelly is a master storyteller and seems to have a fond interest in his protagonists, their shortcomings, strengths, and personal difficulties. The art and skill of Connelly, along with compelling stories, offer readers both intellectual and visceral entertainment. Reading one Harry Bosch adventure will be like trying to eat a single potato chip. You will want more.  Start with one of Connelly’s earliest works for a taste.



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