Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy. I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings. Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them. In this latest Waiting on Wednesday article, I highlight an awesome upcoming novel that is probably going to be one of the best crime fiction reads of 2021, The Dark Hours, by Michael Connelly.
While I tend to read a wide range of murder mysteries and thrillers, one of my favourite crime series at the moment are the wonderful and captivating novels that appear in Michael Connelly’s connected universe. Starting in 1992 with The Black Echo, Connelly’s long-running crime universe has featured a range of murder mystery and thriller novels, focusing on protagonists such as homicide detective Harry Bosch, the Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller, and reporter Jack McEvoy. His series currently includes 34 novels, and he is coming off a bumper year, having written two great books, the fast-paced The Law of Innocence and the outstanding Fair Warning, which was one of my favourite books of 2020. I was very excited to see that Connelly was releasing a novel later this year, especially as he is returning to his impressive Ballard and Bosch subseries with The Dark Hours.
The Ballard and Bosch books are an awesome series that follow the intriguing team of LAPD detective Renée Ballard and retired detective Harry Bosch. Ballard is one of Connelly’s more recent creations, having been introduced in the 2017 novel, The Late Show. A female detective who was screwed over by the LAPD after filing a sexual assault claim against a superior officer, Ballard has been assigned to the night shift of Hollywood division as a punishment. Bosch on the other hand is the central protagonist of this extended crime fiction universe and is one of Connelly’s most famous and utilised characters, having appeared as the lead protagonist in 22 novels and the Bosch television show. The Ballard and Bosch novels have focused on these two detectives from different generations teaming up to solve cold cases, in addition to their own current investigations and personal lives. This unique team-up has produced some excellent novels, including the first book, Dark Sacred Night and its sequel, The Night Fire, which was one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2019.
The Dark Hours will be the third Ballard and Bosch novel and it is currently set for release on 9 November 2021. I have very high hopes for this fantastic upcoming novel, especially as it looks like Connelly has come up with a clever and unique case for these two detectives to investigate.
Has a killer lain dormant for years only to strike again on New Year’s Eve? LAPD Detective Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch team up to find justice for an innocent victim in the new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly
There’s chaos in Hollywood on New Year’s Eve. Working her graveyard shift, LAPD Detective Renée Ballard seeks shelter at the end of the countdown to wait out the traditional rain of lead as hundreds of revelers shoot their guns into the air. As reports start to roll in of shattered windshields and other damage, Ballard is called to a scene where a hardworking auto shop owner has been fatally hit by a bullet in the middle of a crowded street party.
It doesn’t take long for Ballard to determine that the deadly bullet could not have fallen from the sky. Ballard’s investigation leads her to look into another unsolved murder—a case at one time worked by Detective Harry Bosch.
Ballard and Bosch team up once again to find out where the old and new cases intersect. All the while they must look over their shoulders. The killer who has stayed undetected for so long knows they are coming after him.
Wow, I really love the sound of the above story and I am now even more confident that The Dark Hours is going to be an awesome book. Firstly, the idea of the protagonists having to investigate a murder after New Year’s Eve revellers shoot their guns up into the air is really cool. I must admit that the whole concept of people firing guns randomly into the sky seems pretty damn crazy to little old Australian me, but I can see its potential as a story backdrop, especially as it serves as a great cover for the main case. It will probably also result in several intriguing smaller investigations or pieces of police work that Ballard will have to work through, and I am sure those will cleverly support the main mystery. I love stories that feature compelling unsolved cases with interested suspects keen to keep their misdeeds hidden, and it will be interesting to see how the current murder intersects with older case, as well as what the killer will do to stop the investigation.
I am also looking forward to seeing more of the great interaction between the two central characters. Not only does the split narration that Connelly utilise for the Ballard and Bosch books work particularly well, but the two detectives have made a great team in their previous novels. I love the fantastic dynamic between the two detectives, especially as both have seen the bad side of the LAPD, resulting in a similar, cynical sense of justice. I particularly like the great character arc surrounding Ballard, as she is forced to deal with police officers who look down on her for reporting her superior, and it will be interesting to see how that impacts the story in The Dark Hours. Bosch also has a great arc, especially as, thanks to the authors determination to realistically age up his characters, he has mostly retired from active duty, although he still finds plenty of ways to get into trouble. Bosch has an intriguing mentor role in these novels, and I think that Connelly is actually grooming Ballard to take over from Bosch as his primary protagonist. Whether that results in some sort of tragic or heroic ending for Bosch in this novel or a future Ballard and Bosch book is hard to tell, but I will try not to get too heartbroken if that happens.
Based on how much I have enjoyed Connelly’s last several novels, I already knew that I was going to love The Dark Hours when it comes out. However, after seeing the incredible synopsis above, I am now exceedingly confident that this is going to turn out to be a fantastic and captivating read. There is so much potential for a cool mystery amid the wild celebration and I cannot wait to see what clever story Connelly weaves around it. This is easily one of the books I am most looking forward to in the second half of 2021 and I am extremely excited to get my hands on it.