The latest book from Michael Connelly feels as contemporary as anything he’s written recently. Connelly always says that his books are set at the time that he writes them – hence his characters like Harry Bosch age in real time.
But he also heavily references what is happening in the real world, and this book begins with a shooting – possibly murder – at the very start of 2021. As well as Covid, we are also in a post-George Floyd world, and the LAPD is on its back foot.
The Dark Hours is a Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch novel. Bosch is now long retired from the police, but Ballard is working the “late shift” as a detective – the overnight shift that suits her since it lets her get involved in investigating all kinds of crimes.
In this story there are really two concurrent investigations going on, but the characters feel perhaps more than ever, that they’re up against the bureaucracy of formal institutions. Cases are going to get pulled from Ballard, and she starts working with Bosch which probably isn’t a good idea for her long term future in the force.
What I always love about Connelly’s books is their sense of place, and the way that multiple strands of stories are covered – not always joining up in that neat way that inferior writers often force their plots to resolve. And the real world of 2021 LA is never far away from this world -more so than in most fiction, either on the page or on TV. While I’ve no doubt that we’re about to get a deluge of pandemic set novels, this one absolutely accepts that world, but doesn’t bask in it.
Roll on more of Ballard and Bosch.