Dark Sacred Night is the latest novel by bestselling author Michael Connelly. It pairs two of his police detective characters, Harry Bosch and Renee Ballard, to solve the cold case murder of 15-year-old Daisy Clayton.
Occasionally, I try to read something by one of the male authors that dominate the best seller lists, because I just haven’t read anything by many of them, so this is a way to expand my horizons. Am I the only one who hasn’t read anything by James Patterson? I wouldn’t know where to start and I’m not even sure he actually writes all those books, so what would be the point? I “discovered” Harlan Coben this way, so it pays off sometimes. But I’m not sure it paid off this time.
I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me summarize the plot first.
Renee Ballard works the overnight shift in the Hollywood precinct. She was relegated there from a better assignment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against her previous boss. The incident has left her a virtual pariah. Despite this, she is still extremely driven and determined to keep her current position. She seems to have a true NEED to be a police detective.
One slow night while Ballard is quietly sitting at her desk, she catches Harry Bosch going through some file cabinets. Harry works for the police department of a different city, so he shouldn’t be rifling through these files. Ballard more or less chases him off, but she is curious about what he was looking for. She eventually figures out that he’s looking into this cold case and she wants in. So she approaches Bosch about it.
Bosch is a seasoned veteran of the police force. If I calculated correctly, he is 68, but a pressing internal need to solve crimes prevents him from retiring. Bosch is looking into the case as a favor to Daisy’s mother, a recovering addict whom Bosch has taken into his home. Bosch agrees to partner with Ballard and very thorough and painstaking detective work ensues.
Although I don’t have much to compare this to, I would imagine this is considered to be a very good police procedural. The author goes into a lot of detail about how and why police detectives do what they do. The novel is full of insider information about police terminology, operations and traditions. That aspect of the book was interesting and educational. However, Michael Connelly’s writing style is strictly utilitarian. He goes from point A to point B using the most direct route. Just the facts, ma’am. It felt a little…soulless.
I’m glad I read it. Now I know what his books are like. But I probably won’t be reading another.
What chart topping author should I read next – Dean Koontz, Lee Child, John Sandford? I have never read any of them.