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Dark sacred night
2018
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  New York Times Review

While Reacher is occupied with his research, another drama is unfolding at the isolated motel where a young Canadian couple, Shorty Fleck and Patty Sundstrom, are stranded when their clunker of a car breaks down. After a number of guests arrive carrying disposable luggage and archaic weapons, it slowly dawns on Shorty and Patty that "something is not right." By this time, they've been locked in their room, left to wonder, with mounting dread, exactly what kind of lethal games are being played. Child's writing seems unusually expressive in this novel, possibly because of its intimate subject matter. While making inquiries around town, Reacher is invited inside the home of a man who keeps 12 dogs. "The screen door creaked all the way open ahead of him, and slapped all the way shut behind him, which were in his limited experience the eternal sounds of a New England summer." It's a startlingly sweettempered image, coming from a big bruiser like Reacher - and a reminder that Child is one writer who should never be taken for granted. MYSTERY LOVERS READ for Story - except when we read for character. DARK SACRED NIGHT (Little, Brown, $29), the latest novel from Michael Connelly, has a narrative that keeps veering off the main line and onto side tracks. Harry Bosch, the semiretired hero of Connelly's police procedurals, is obsessed with the unsolved coldcase murder of Daisy Clayton, a 15-year-old runaway whose short career as a prostitute ended when her body - used, abused and washed clean with bleach - was found in an alley. On this case, Renée Ballard, a young cop attached to the Hollywood Division of the L.A.P.D., makes a terrific partner for the old lion. She does the methodical inside work while Bosch rashly steps on the toes of the Mexican Mafia and nearly gets killed. The plot is too disjointed, but Connelly's robust characters more than compensate: from Daisy's drug-addicted mother to a murdered tattoo artist whose only body art was the crucifix around her neck. One of the most vivid is a sensitive cop who committed suicide before the story even opens, but lives on through the poetic entries left behind in his notes. "Subject is a human tumbleweed," he writes of one person of interest to the police. "Goes where the wind blows him. Will blow away tomorrow. Nobody will miss him." SOME PEOPLE welcome the night: hotel managers, nightclub pianists, "Saturday Night Live" interns. Also burglars like Junior Bender, the personable protagonist of Timothy Hallinan's comic mysteries. In NIGHTTOWN (Soho Crime, $26.95), a woman in a cheap orange wig hires Junior to break into the Los Angeles home of an eccentric recluse, lately deceased, and steal an antique doll. Junior wasn't born yesterday, so he figures there's something inside this doll. But before he can pull off the heist, he's got to calm his nerves because, in his professional opinion, "the place absolutely hummed with malice." Hallinan is exceedingly funny when describing colorful crooks like Louie the Lost, a getaway driver with no sense of direction, and Stinky Tetweil, a grossly fat fence who surrounds himself with exquisite objets d'art. Hallinan's eclectic narrative also extends to insights about 19th-century spirit photography ("It would be kitsch if it weren't so callous") and a Native American legend about human shadows. This one's good for what ails you. was this absolutely necessary? To pull the plug on Frank Elder, I mean. John Harvey's British sleuth solves his last case in BODY & SOUL (Pegasus, $25.95), further depleting the fast-disappearing ranks of wise and compassionate detectives. To soothe the sting, Elder is reunited with his estranged daughter, Katherine. Headstrong and willful even at the best of times, she becomes self-destructive at others: After her love affair with an artist turns sour, she tries to kill herself. Then he's found murdered in his studio. Well-rounded, sympathetic characters have always been a hallmark of Harvey's work, and he's at his best here. Katherine's mood swings are uncomfortably real, as she's desperately in love one minute and the next just plain desperate. Cad though he is, her feckless lover, the painter Anthony Winter, is still recognizably human. But the richest character of all is Elder himself, tough on the job but stopped in his tracks by a song. What is it about that Billie Holiday standard "Body and Soul"? His reply: "The helplessness of it, I suppose." Marilyn STASIO has covered crime fiction for the Book Review since 1988. Her column appears twice a month.

  Publishers Weekly Review

LAPD Det. RenAce Ballard, first seen in 2017's The Late Show, makes a welcome return in this outstanding, complex police procedural. Relegated to the night shift at the Hollywood Station following a sexual harassment suit against her former lieutenant, Ballard works her cases with a quiet focus and intensity. Late one night, Ballard surprises a man looking through some old case files. It turns out to be retired LAPD detective Harry Bosch, now working cold cases for the San Fernando PD. After Bosch leaves, Ballard takes a look at the file, detailing the unsolved 2009 murder of Daisy Clayton, a 15-year-old runaway. The slain girl was the daughter of a recovering addict, who has been taken in by Bosch. Ballard is hooked, and begins working the case with Bosch. Meanwhile, Bosch's investigation into another cold case, the execution-style killing of a 52-year-old gang leader, has put the detective squarely in the sights of Varrio San Fer 13, one of the valley's most violent gangs. Bosch and Ballard, both outsiders with complicated pasts, form a perfect partnership in this high spot of Edgar-winner Connelly's long and distinguished career. Agent: Philip Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary. (Oct.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
Harry Bosch teams up with LAPD detective Renée Ballard to solve the murder of a young girl in the new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly. <br> Detective Renée Ballard is working the night beat -- known in LAPD slang as "the late show" -- and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. <br> Ballard can't let him go through department records, but when he leaves, she looks into the case herself and feels a deep tug of empathy and anger. She has never been the kind of cop who leaves the job behind at the end of her shift -- and she wants in. <br> The murder, unsolved, was of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally killed, her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy, and to finally bring her killer to justice. Along the way, the two detectives forge a fragile trust, but this new partnership is put to the test when the case takes an unexpected and dangerous turn. <br> Dark Sacred Night for the first time brings together these two powerhouse detectives in a riveting story that unfolds with furious momentum. And it shows once more why "there's no doubt Connelly is a master of crime fiction" (Associated Press).
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