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The Night Fire (A Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch Novel, 22) Mass Market Paperback – October 27, 2020
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Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective, he had an inspiring mentor who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case. Now that mentor, John Jack Thompson, is dead, and his widow gives Bosch a murder book, one that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD twenty years before -- the unsolved killing of a troubled young man.
Bosch takes the murder book to Detective Renée Ballard and asks her to help him discover what about this crime lit Thompson's fire all those years ago. As she begins her inquiries -- while still working her own cases on the midnight shift -- Ballad finds aspects of the initial investigation that just don't add up.
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"Connelly is the Raymond Chandler of this generation, and readers will be studying his writing methods decades from now. He has created another novel that feels authentic on every level, and the underlying theme of mortality running through the narrative makes everything in the story more urgent."―Jeff Ayers, Associated Press
"There's something for everyone in this jam-packed plot: murder, arson, professional rivalry, salty cop talk and noisy domestic disputes that turn very ugly very quickly. Me, I go for the procedural details: who does what and how things get done from the minute the cops on shift at the Hollywood Division are sent to investigate a murder. Connelly is pretty much the current dean of procedural writers."―Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
"Breathless action...deep character studies...The Night Fire is Connelly's twenty first outing with Bosch, but the author has so much more to show us about him. Only three books in, Ballard has even more fodder for Connelly to uncover. In The Night Fire, Connelly again shows his mission: strong plots and sturdy characters."―Oline Cogdill, Sun Sentinel
"A virtuoso performance...The Night Fire glows with the instincts and intelligence Bosch and Ballard bring to their pursuit of the truth."―Collette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times
"One of the greatest crime writers of all time...Connelly continues to deliver winner after winner, year in and year out...reading one of his books is an experience unlike anything else the genre has to offer."―Ryan Steck, Crimereads
"Connelly is without peer when it comes to police procedurals, and once again proves that he's the modern master of the form."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Remarkable narrative legerdemain...Not only has Connelly created another fully formed series lead in Renée, who has her own fascinating backstory, but he has also forged a fascinating yin-and-yang relationship between the old school Harry and the unconventional loner Renèe...Master chef Connelly has once again combined familiar ingredients into a new and completely satisfying dish. Connelly is on a roll, with three consecutive number-one New York Times bestsellers. Don't bet against number four."―Bill Ott, Booklist (starred review)
"Connelly manages to top himself with his latest intensely gripping thriller...He tells a superb tale with an economy of words using a no-nonsense, fly-on-the-wall style of writing...Fans of this prolific author of crime dramas and either series will find this best-seller-list-bound novel hard to put down."―Library Journal (starred review)
PRAISE FOR DARK SACRED NIGHT:
"Spectacular...Dark Sacred Night is ingenious, frantically suspenseful, and very, very bleak."―Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post
"Readers know that when they pick up a Michael Connelly novel they will get a compelling and well-written dive into the world of crime and law enforcement...What makes Connelly so much better than most crime fiction writers is that his police detectives are human and real. The combination is quality."―Jeff Ayers, Associated Press
"Michael Connelly is superhuman...His hallmark has been his precise, faultless plotting...He's always been especially good when it comes to truly creepy killers, and his denouement here is thrilling."―Charles Finch, USA Today
"It was only last year that Connelly introduced Ballard, a fierce and fascinating new protagonist who instantly emerged as a reader favorite. Bosch, meanwhile, is a grizzled veteran by now; Dark Sacred Night marks the 21st novel to center on him. But fans always finish eager to come back for more."―David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly
"One of the best and most affecting Bosch novels since Mr. Connelly began the Bosch saga in 1992...It seems as is the vulnerable Harry Bosch has met the sympathetic Renée Ballard just in the nick of time."―Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
About the Author
- Publisher : Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (October 27, 2020)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 512 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1538701456
- ISBN-13 : 978-1538701454
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.13 x 1 x 7.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #58,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Just before this one came out, Connelly described in an interview the effect that writing the Amazon series had had on structuring his novels. For the series, he said he learned to write several different story lines at once, and he decided that was a good thing to impose on his novels. This one shows that is a bad decision.
The power of the Bosch novels, and in fact all of Connelly's novels until now, is the relentless through-line of the main plot. It usually tips off on the first page and is tied up on the last. It builds tension and involves the reader in the main character's challenges. There are other intrusions -- Harry's search for his mother's killer, intrigue with his daughter, relationships, conflict with other cops, and even other investigators and other cases. But in these other novels our main character -- even when it isn't Harry -- is laser-focused on the main storyline.
The Night Fire is not that. It's almost "A Day In The Life" as our characters, both of them, dart around from here to there, often for no plot-related reason at all. There is a subplot with Harry's daughter which has nothing whatsoever to do with the story. If it were cut along with the other subplots that weave throughout, there would not be enough left to publish. I wouldn't mind if the main story had the same power as in the other novels, but here it is just another plot line lost in the shrubbery.
I think the book probably deserves four stars because it is well-written and diverting, but it is so far below my expectations of this author that I just can't. He's raised my standards, and I'm sticking by them.
Connelly fans will not be deterred by this mis-step. For new readers, please start with any of the other novels, any one, but leave this one for last.
An unsolved murder case was given to Harry Bosch when his mentor, John Jack Thompson passed away. This case was at least 30 years old when Harry received it...So, the investigation is on with both Bosch and Ballard on board. And, yes the plot does indeed thcken.
Toss in an arson case of a homeless man and also the murder of a Superior Court Judge...just in case you need a little more excitement and mystery!
The entire novel is outstanding as it is full of good old 'pounding the pavement' detective work.. Toss in the Black Widow for that extra adrenaline rush.
Excellent character development, solid plot and a strong female lead character. Doesn't get any better than that for me when reading a novel.
Most highly recommended.
The novel begins with an arson-related death that Ballard is assigned on Hollywood Division’s “late shift.” It looks accidental, so she files a report and hands it off to day detectives. Bosch’s story begins when John Jack Thompson, his mentor as a young detective, dies and leaves him with a murder book that he had “stolen” from LAPD when he retired. The murder is a cold case from 1990. At the same time, Bosch helps his half-brother Mickey Haller question the guilt of an alleged a confessed murderer whom the police have dead to rights because of DNA, leaving open the question of who the “real killer” is. Ballard and Bosch co-work these cases, leading them into surprising discoveries…and danger.
The Night Fire is a slow burn. The danger part doesn’t really come in till the last 30 pages of the book. So, if you’re looking for explosive action, this isn’t your book. But as a police procedural—carefully following the evidence where it leads—this book kept me turning pages, which is my number-one criteria for whether I like a murder mystery.
Top reviews from other countries
1. It is a story that focuses as much on character as it does on plot. Harry Bosch is nearing 70 years old and his health is clearly deteriorating. However, he has lost none of his desire to see justice done even if it means reappraising colleagues he has respected for most of his working life and putting his life on the line in the course of duty. We also get insights to a more personal and reflective side of Harry's character, which, as someone who has just become a Septuagenarian, certainly stuck more than a few chords with me!
2. The story has a gripping plot. There are three separate story-lines, or threads, each one featuring characters who have appeared in earlier novels ... Bosch's half brother, the 'Lincoln Lawyer' Mickey Haller, who defends a man accused of murdering a judge in a city park; Detective Renee Ballard, a young detective who works the night shift and investigates the murder of a homeless man who had been burnt alive while sleeping; and Harry Bosch who, on the death of his mentor, is left the murder book of an old unsolved homicide. We follow the development of each of these cases and, not surprisingly, Bosch ends up being involved one way or another in all three!
3. The story can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel even though it features characters from earlier books by Michael Connelly. 'The Night Fire' is a quick and easy read and contains lots of page-turning drama and intrigue.
4. For long-standing Bosch fans, such as myself, I sense we are being prepared, in the nicest possible way, for the closure of the Bosch series. Looking back over the series, we have accompanied the former Vietnam tunnel rat and maverick detective Harry Bosch through the twists and turns of his very long and varied career as he pursued justice, but like the rest of us will in time, he is approaching the twilight years of his life. So this novel is, in a way, a continuation of a shift first seen in the other recent novels 'The Late Show' and 'Dark Sacred Night' where we have the young detective Renee Ballard not only interacting with the older, experienced Harry Bosch but also portraying some of Bosch's behaviour and values, such as his mantra of 'everybody counts or nobody counts'.
So, for me, these are the reasons I enjoyed this novel, and should you decide to read it, I hope you find it as gripping and engaging as I have.
First off it's obvious that Connelly is looking for life after Bosch. He has allowed Bosch to get old and suffer the inevitable ailments that age brings and I'm quite sure that this character will stop being written in line with age and fictional reality. But, clearly a replacement needs to be found and cleverly Connelly has introduced Ballard who is working with Bosch on the QT. This is like handing over a project or job at work to a new colleague when retiring. It means that we get used to a new character whilst still buying the Bosch books. My gut feeling is that there will be another one or two Bosch-Ballard combo's then it will be all Ballard from then on.
Anyway, it works well and allows a tangled web to be developed in an engaging way that never becomes too confusing but allows enough intrigue to keep you page turning.
As ever, the writing is faultless with superb pacing, great character development and a solid whodunit story.
Bosch is getting old and can't be allowed to be the young vigorous policeman running around because that would stretch credulity, thus Ballard fills that role.
Bosch is of course the better known fictional character and I'm quite sure that many of us have read all of the stories and thus are very familiar with him. This book builds upon that history in a logical way.
Ballard is new(ish) and Connelly is fleshing her out and adding depth to the character in a way that will inevitably lead her to becoming his major on-going story lead character. The development in this story works well and he has made her engaging and interesting.
Overall this is another winning book that I finished all too quickly.