As sure as night follows day, there’s a new Michael Connelly each autumn, and this time around we get a novel that features his three key characters: Harry Bosch, Mickey Haller (the “Lincoln Lawyer”), and Renée Ballard.
There are several stories going on at once in this book, but the two key stories are the death of a homeless man – burned alive in his tent – and a cold case that a former detective’s widow passes on to Bosch after her late husband’s death.
As ever with Connelly, The Night Fire moves apace, and in this instance we alternate beween Bosch and Ballard’s point of view. Because Ballard works “the late show”, the action essentially continues around the clock.
The casework tends to be by the book, and we see the general mundanity of police life.
When you read a US-set crime novel in close proximity to a UK-set crime novel, you do tend to notice that our colleagues in the US have one advantage over us UK residents. There do seem to be fewer CCTV cameras available for detectives to peruse.
On the other hand, getting taps on phones seems to be a lot easier! (In an afterword, Connelly notes that it’s not actually quite as simple as it’s depicted here).
What I really appreciate about Connelly’s novels is the sense of place, something that the TV series has managed to replicate very well. While we’ve all seen lots of LA set movies and TV shows, they tend to present a sprawling city as just one place. We know in our own lives that this isn’t the case, and Connelly’s books have distinct feels to the locales.
I’ll always return to a new Bosch book.