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Solidly written but an unexceptional addition to the Connelly library, this novel will satisfy fans (perhaps), might frustrate the Ballard-group and the Bosch-group, and will likely do little to convince the occasional reader to make Connelly an A-level addition to the must-read list. Was I disappointed? Not really. Connelly, as always, has all the mechanics in place, and can spin a decent story with decently complex and dynamic characters. Was I disappointed? Given Connelly's reputation and success to date, yes. At times this book felt more like a thoroughbred going through its obligatory paces in anticipation of a big race rather than the race itself. Still lovely to watch, but nothing like what you know can (and should) happen when the flip is switched to full on.
I get it. Not all writers can be great all the time. Not every Shakespeare play is Othello. Not every Stephen King novel is Carrie. But when you hit the mark more often than not (as Shakespeare did, as King does, and as Connelly does) it is fair to notice and comment upon the deviation from expectations. Will I read the next Connelly novel? That kind of depends now on what else is in the pile of must-reads that perches precariously on the corner of my desk.
Leaving the library with a Michael Connelly book is like leaving with a box of See's Candy: you can't wait to get home a open it up. This one does not disaappoint. Although they all stand alone, it is best to read the series from the beginning as you understand the character and what makes him tick, when you really get to know him, especially his time in Vietnan. Or read a couple of the recent Harry Bosch series to see if you like his writing and then go back and read the first two. Louise Penny, Jacqueline Winspear and Martin Walker fans should enjoy this series.
Great, fast paced story telling with high quality writing that I've come to expect from Connelly. Looking forward to more Bosch and Ballard books!
liked the first 'Ballard' book, "The Late Show"... and I have read 7 or 8 Harry Bosch books. Bringing these two characters together in this novel made the story convoluted and way too meandering for me. Full disclosure: I read to page 230
Seems to me that Connelly has drifted away over time from constructing interesting cases and is now really writing predominantly about the characters he has created. He has always done great characterizations but now the cases/plots seem to be lacking for me. The central case in this book doesn’t really get “solved” until the last 50 pages and then by “investigator intuition” (my quotes) in a jump of certainty with basically no build up of evidence or logical inference over the course of the book (“All in a moment, Ballard knew.” Pg 386 of 433). Sure, the faint clues that lead to this leap were due to continuing thorough painstaking procedural work but most of that conducted over the course of the book (e.g. the shake cards) didn’t even contribute to the outcome (really, the solution to the mystery is due to a random encounter). This is probably the reality of police work but it doesn’t really work for me as compelling reading. It also seems to me that things just got all tidied up too fast at the end, like there was no case plot planned and at the end things just had to be wrapped up quickly and cleanly and with unrealistic excitement.
Even with all my complaints about this book, I still enjoy reading Connelly’s books for his writing style and characterizations. So I rank it above average but I don’t think this is as good as many of his earlier books.
Dark Sacred Night started a bit slow for me. Usually with a Bosch book I'm drawn in so much/so fast that I can't put it down. It makes me sad that Harry is getting older and the police force no longer values what he has to offer. That said, I don't think this is the end of Harry Bosch.
Regarding Renee Ballard, I'm just not that crazy about her ... yet. The Bosch/Ballard team seems a bit dry and completely unemotional, unlike with Harry's past partners. Both Bosch and Ballard are completely 'buttoned up' personalities which makes for a lot of background navel gazing by each but just isn't very compelling reading. At this point, I prefer him teamed up with his brother, Mickey Heller, with whom sparks are sure to fly.
I've read all of his books and love the fact that they are interesting from start to finish. I really enjoyed this read but my absolute favourites are the Mickey Haller series. It sounds like the author is about to retire Bosch because several references were made to his age and health issues.
I have read all of Connelly's books, most of them more than once. I have to say I am very disappointed by this latest effort. Tedious and boring describes it best. Is Connelly trying to retire Harry , phase him out and concentrate on a new character , Ballard ? It seems like it. It very much lacked the essence of HB, who came across as tired, dull and lackluster. Maybe Connelly should give us a few more Mickey Haller books, because this one did not cut it.
Connelly teams up a demoted female LA police officer with Bosch. Together they tackle a cold case by going through the files to find new information on the death of a youngster living on the streets doing drugs and selling herself. The going is slow and to show the passing of time, Connelly has both Ballard and Bosch on separate shift work schedules. Each are called out to attend to various other misdemeanors, all described in detail in alternating chapters. There seems to be a hint that their investigation into their "hobby" cold case points to the involvement of a religious cult out to save the downtrodden, but clues always seem to lead to a dead end. Will the pastor make a misstep during the investigation so that, instead of following a cold case, the two detectives can follow a "hot case" in order to nail the murderer involved in their cold case? IMO, reading this storyline is like looking at a TV show that follows police officers during their time on and off work - not that interesting.
Is Bosch finding a new partner for his sleuthing? I hope so. We’ve met Renee Ballard in earlier books, but now she plays a key role in finding the killer of a young prostitute. Good old fashioned detective work makes the case work. It takes hard work as well as brains to solve the case. It was fun to see some of the other cases Ballard was working on as well. Bosch never disappoints.
There were a lot of random murders which seemed unrelated and meaningless. I liked the ending.
What can I say - it’s Michael Connelly! Always true to his profession. Always builds a really good story with his interesting characters. His writing just flows and keeps you so intent. Always hate waiting another year for another Bosch!
I am avid fan of Michael Connolley and have read every book he has written. With each new novel published I’ve wondered if he would be able to sustain his high standard of writing and momentum. His plots are always fresh, interesting, and well written with unique, well developed characters. In his last novel, “The Late Show” published in 2017, he introduced a dynamic new character, Renée Ballard. I was hesitant when I began the book wondering if the new character would capture my attention. I found I was engrossed with her character’s background, pleasantly surprised how quickly I embraced her. She is a wonderful, realistic, tough, female protagonist, a great role model for women. I looked forward to another in this series and was excited to get my hands on “Dark Sacred Night,” recently published. In this second in series, I found Harry Bosch to be very bland. The plot centered on solving a “cold case” and it was neither suspenseful or fast paced. I was disappointed in Connelley’s lack of character development of Renée. I found myself losing focus, something that has never happened to me before when reading any of his previous works.
Not Connelley’s best work. I hope the next novel in this series has much more complexity of characters, thrill and suspense. Michael Connelley has been the gold standard in his genre, and I hope that this novel is an anomaly.
Updated with quotes today...
2nd novel on the amazing case works of the lone wolf Hollywood Homicide detective Renée Ballard (The Late Show 2017) whose character was inspired by the real LAPD Robbery-Homicide detective Mitzi Roberts. Not great as The Late Show but a good read when Ballard decided to team up with Bosch on an Open-Unsolved "hobby case" while juggling her busy and sometimes dangerous workload.
My first read of 2019 and I enjoyed another Harry Bosch story. I like that Michael paired Bosch up with Ballard. It's always interesting how the crime gets solved. I thought it was one person and it ended up being another. Harry Bosch is always an entertaining read.
Connelly just keeps getting better and better. Ballard was a wonderful addition to the cast, and Ballard and Bosch make a wonderful combination. After a few experiences of dipping in to a series I've liked in the past and feeling disappointed, it was wonderful to be swept up into this story and enjoy it so much. I look forward to more Ballard and Bosch.
Not his best work. Surprised it's a bestseller. Stopped reading after about 50 pages.
Easy read. Doubtful that real police clear crimes so easily, and I'm especially skeptical that two police were rescued from certain death in the nick of time. Definitely NOT for a book club discussion. Too little substance.
I have read all of the Harry Bosch series that Michael Connelly wrote. Since I have read so many of his books this book was an easy read as almost all his characters I already knew by heart as well as their characteristics. I find that Michael Connelly with almost every Harry Bosch that there is always a dirty cop involved, a cop who is incompetent, Harry is always bordering the line of right and wrong during his investigation and he pushes the limits, that multiple murders are solved by the end of the story, and Harry ends up getting the perve. I notice that Ballard has a lot of similar characteristics as Harry although she is much younger. I rate this book as a five although I do not believe it is his best work. But Michael still does not let you down as you become entwine with his imagination and the illusion of the story.
I really dug the Bosch/Ballard combo. This second Ballard really shows the difference in the characters as well as their workloads. Following Ballard means all sorts of different cases all the time. Connelly does a good job of coming from a woman's perspective as well.
"Murder was murder, and Ballard knew that every case deserved the full attention and effort of the police department. But Ballard was always struck by the murder of a woman... [There was] something unfair that went beyond the general unfairness of death at the hands of another. She wondered how men would live if they knew that in every moment of their lives, their size and nature made them vulnerable to the opposite sex."
Ballard helps Bosch with the open-unsolved case of the murder of the daughter of an addict he met undercover in his last outing. I find that Bosch is more likeable as he ages, more likely not to make assumptions, more empathetic, and more willing to admit his own mistakes. For a suspense procedural, this was also a very thoughtful and at times heartbreaking novel. Connelly may have signed a deal with satan to get these out so quickly but I want to reassure him, it was worth it.
Expected great stuff from Michael Connelly and Harry Bosch in DARK SACRED NIGHT and so much more! Great crime story with Bosch following up on cold-cases. Only this time, his work (and sort of out of the box a mini-rogue behavior) leads him to cross paths with a another detective (also a bit out of the box and mini-rogue). The two become entwined in working their separate cases throughout, while working together on a cold-case important to Bosch. Apparently, Connelly intends for this relationship to continue as they (the two detectives) agree to stay in touch and work cases together in their spare time. The new Bosch 'partner' is named Renee Ballard. Oh, and it says on the cover of the book that this is A BALLARD AND BOSCH novel, which made me wonder for a short bit if I had missed a previous novel. PS - I don't read the cover descriptions of books - obviously. Enjoy!
well-crafted, fast read. was it emotionally resonant? no, but it was enjoyable enough like a big plate of gooey nachos. a fun treat, but not necessarily something you want every day.
I have been a very big fan of Mr. Connelly and have read every single Harry Bosch novel (29 of them?) that he wrote including the Lincoln Lawyer ones.
I was looking forward eagerly to this one and got on the list early and was among the first batch of VPL readers to get their copy and read it in three days.
I found it un-satisfying. It was as if Bosch was behind an opaque screen, or out of focus. I could not sense him clearly in the book. The whole book seemed watered-down, somewhat bland despite some exciting situations for Harry and the other main character, Det. Renee Ballard.
Perhaps Mr. Connelly's creative energies are being expended in the Amazon Prime Video series about Harry entitled, "Bosch" of which he is Executive Producer to the detriment of his writing.