Thought Box

Two is Company

Two is Company

by Deepa Gahlot February 7 2019, 12:40 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 3 secs

There has been, after Stieg Larsson’s ‘Girl’ books, a proliferation of kickass heroines. Crime fiction was never short of female protagonists, but the prototype of the fighting fit and fearless lone ranger is Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander. Michael Connelly’s Renee Ballard is in the same mould, only she is on the right side of the law.

In The Last Show, Connelly had introduced this fiery new female character, an LAPD cop, who chose to accept the 'graveyard' shift rather than put up with sexual harassment from a senior.

In the second book, Dark Sacred Night, featuring her—this bright and brave woman, who lives in a tent on the beach and surfs like it were a religion—she meets Connelly’s old hero, Harry Bosch (he was introduced back in 1992 in The Black Echo and has featured in 20 books before). He has retired from the force, but still works cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department, mainly to keep loneliness at bay. His wife is dead and his only daughter is away at college. He just needs to be busy, and doesn’t care that his office is a former holding cell for drunks.

Michael Connelly, author of Dark Sacred Night

Both characters are very good at their jobs, but melancholy loners in their personal lives; it was a stroke of genius to have them meet and work together. The age gap ensures there will be no romance, and neither is looking for a surrogate family, so there is no dad-daughter vibe either. They just click and form an informal team.

On returning to the desk at the Hollywood Division, after solving a particularly unpleasant case, Renée sees a grey-haired man skulking around the office, and going through another detective’s filing cabinet. She confronts him and finds that he is looking for old notes on the Daisy Clayton murder, and that he is former LAPD cop, Harry Bosch. The case, which obsessed him in the last novel, Two Kinds of Truth, is about Daisy, a fifteen-year-old hooker, who was found murdered nine years ago, her body callously dumped in a trash bin. Bosch got involved in the case, to the extent of continuing the investigation on his own, giving shelter to Daisy’s drug-addicted mother in his home and helping her get clean.

Ballard, always up for a challenge, and not too tied up with active cases, muscles into Bosch’s domain, first by going through cartons full of field notes—or shake cards as they are called by cops—by officers on duty at the time Daisy was murdered, and then following leads.

Bosch is also trying to find out who carried out a hit on a gang boss in the San Fernando Valley, and who managed to find out about his informer and killed him. The book may be dark and violent, but it is action-packed, with a razor’s edge rescue sequence that is brilliantly written. The Ballard and Borsch partnership works wonderfully well, with his experience and her quick-thinking—they are on equal footing; no sexism or ageism comes in the way.   One hopes that in one of his future books, Connelly will have his other popular series hero, Mickey ‘Lincoln Lawyer’ Haller, Bosch’s half-brother and frequent go-to guy, join the gang. He can be relied on to lighten the gloomy mood that haunts Ballard and Bosch.

Dark Sacred Night

By Michael Connelly

Publisher: Little, Brown

Pages: 448

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