Michael Connelly is hands down one of my favourite authors. I've really enjoyed the Harry Bosch character over the years, as well as newer addition Mickey Haller. But I was very excited to see that he has created a new lead in his latest novel, The Late Show.
Meet Renée Ballard, a detective in the LAPD who works the night shift, aka The Late Show. Ballard was moved to the night shift after a harassment charge against a superior officer was dismissed. The kicker? Her then partner knew the truth and refused to back her.
On the night shift, she and her new partner field calls, but pass them on to the day crew to pursue. But Renée's drive and determination to find answers and justice for victims is hard to suppress. She fields two calls one evening - the beating of a prostitute and a waitress killed on the periphery of a seeming gangland shooting. Against all protocol she decides to pursue both cases on her own in the day while still working the night shift.
Oh, The Late Show is so very, very good on so many levels. Renée is intelligent, driven and tough. She has to be to do what she does - and to put up with what her superiors and fellow officers throw at her. I like her back story - it has some depth, unusual elements, is believable and makes this lead even more 'human'. Connelly's plotting in this latest is impeccable - intricate, detailed and oh so addicting. The 'who' question in the one case is at the heart of everything. The reader is alongside Renée as she puts together the pieces. I enjoy not having 'insider' information that the lead doesn't have. Danger and action are part of this book as well as the police work. There are a few scenes where my heart was in my throat and I couldn't put the book down. (And I admit I did peek ahead a few pages as I had to know the outcome.) The settings are detailed and the police procedures detailed and with the ring of authenticity.
The Late Show was a fantastic read for me and I can't wait to see more of this character. Highly recommended! Read an excerpt of The Late Show.
The author's notes at the end intrigued me..."A great debt of thanks goes to LAPD Detective Mitzi Roberts, who served in so many ways as the inspiration for Renée." Of course I had to google her - and yeah, she's a heck of a inspiration. She worked the Black Dahlia case amongst many others. Connelly also sneaks in a cameo reference to Bosch the television series in the plot.