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The Late Show by Michael Connelly


Praise

Detective Renee Ballard is coolest in heart of darkness of The Late Show -Lou Pendergrast

More perhaps than any of Connelly’s much-honored other titles, this one reveals why his procedures are the most soulful in the business: because he finds the soul in the smallest procedural details, faithfully executed.”
– Kirkus starred review

“Connelly’s special genius has always been his ability to build character like the most literary of novelists while attending to the procedural details of a police investigation with all the focus of an Ed McBain. He does both here, showing us Renée on her surfboard, working out her Bosch-like demons, but also grinding through the minutiae of the case until she achieves that “Holy Grail of detective work,” that moment of knowing she has her man. Many established crime writers have launched new series as their signature heroes age, but few have done it as successfully as Connelly.”
– Booklist starred review

“excellent series launch from bestseller Connelly….What follows is classic Connelly: a master class of LAPD internal politics and culture, good old-fashioned detective work, and state-of-the-art forensic science—plus a protagonist who’s smart, relentless, and reflective. Talking about the perpetrator of the assault, Ballard says, “This is big evil out there.” That’s Connelly’s great theme, and, once again, he delivers.”
– Publishers Weekly starred review

 

Review

Renée Ballard is five foot seven, a heart in darkness, she’s cool, has plenty of fight and heart, she just goes with the flow literally as she surfs by day and works the night shift, ‘the late show’. She hits the beach with her rescue dog a Boxer mix, surfs and tents out for three hours sleep before heading back to the late show and catch persons of interest in the case this tale has you hooked into. She won’t be bumping into Bosch on her night shift but she can live up to his coming alive upon the page and i can see this some time in the future playing out in a tv series like that of Bosch. These tales, these characters, the author does so well, he has mastery at writing a believable tale and characters, evoking before the reader scene upon scene. This was a strong memorable female debut that just has you having her left in your mind, an empathy for her, her day and her night plight for truth against odds and one that you want to walk the next beat, the next case with.

“In twenty years it had been all over the world, and her father’s patchwork was the only blemish.(surf board)”

“It always reminded Ballard of her father and his last wave. The one that took him and left her running up and down the beach, unsure of what to do or where to go, and howling helplessly at the open sea.”

“It was the main point of contention in their partnership. They worked the midnight shift, the late show, moving from case to case, called to any scene where a detective was needed to take initial reports or sign off on suicides. But they kept no cases. They wrote up the initial reports and turned the cases over to the appropriate investigative units in the morning. Robbery, sexual assault, burglary, auto theft, and so on down the line. Sometimes Ballard wanted to work a case from beginning to end. But it wasn’t the job and Jenkins was never inclined to stray one inch from its definition.He was a nine-to fiver in a midnight-shift job. He had a sick wife at home and he wanted to get home every morning by the time she woke up. He didn’t care about overtime—money-or work wise.”

“She had played the part in an episode of a television show called Bosch, which Ballard knew was based on the exploits of a now-retired LAPD detective who had formerly worked at RHD and the Hollywood detective bureau. The production occasionally filmed at the station and had underwritten the division’s last Christmas party at the W Hotel.”

“Ballard was a quick writer. She had a degree in journalism from the University of Hawaii and while she had not lasted long as a reporter, the training and experience had given her skills that helped immeasurably with this side of police work. She reacted well to deadline pressure and she could clearly conceptualise her crime reports and case summaries before writing them. She wrote short, clear sentences that gave momentum to the narrative of the investigation. This skill also paid dividends when Ballard was called into court to testify about her investigations. Juries liked her because she was a good storyteller.”

“The detective started crying on the stand. It wasn’t a show. There was no jury, just a judge to decide whether the case should go to trial. But the detective cried, and in that moment Ballard realized she didn’t want to just write about crime and investigations anymore. The next day she applied to enter the LAPD training academy. She wanted to be a detective.”

“She had bought Lola off a homeless man on the boardwalk two years earlier. The animal was emaciated and chained to a shopping cart. She had open wounds that looked like they had come from fighting other dogs. Ballard had simply wanted to rescue her but a bond quickly formed and the dog stayed with her. They took training classes together and soon it seemed as though the dog had a sense that Renée had saved her. She was unfailingly loyal to Ballard, and Ballard felt the same way.”

“From day one with it, Ballard had always liked the process of cleaning and waxing the board and preparing for the next day’s outing. Her father had taught her that a good day of surfing started the night before. She knew detectives at Hollywood Division who spent hours shining their shoes and oiling their leather holsters and belts. It demanded a certain focus and concentration and took them away from the burden of cases. It cleared their minds and renewed them. For Ballard, waxing a surfboard did the same trick. She could leave everything behind.”

 

 



Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 17 July 2017