Good news! I got an second updated copy of this book from NetGalley, and it's a perfect and complete edition!
A mostly wonderful new start for Michael Connelly. He's created a new protagonist, Reneé Ballard, who is tough and smart and, best of all, not a Bosch-clone. When long-series authors create new characters, they are often just re-skinnings of their most successful leads. In this case, Reneé stands and thinks on her own. Well done!
And the new Reneé is set in the familiar police-world-L.A. that we know and love from Bosch. The detailed police work, the gritty streets of L.A., the rarified big houses up in the hills, the terrific mysteries and villains, the hidden truths. All terrific here, all clearly shouting MICHAEL CONNELLY IS THE BEST.
We also see Connelly's crime tales brought fully into the 21st century. The detail on smartphone, police database and information technology capabilities shows he's done some real work to update his world. Well done! I very much enjoyed not just the modern tech, but Connelly's confidence and understanding of it, and how it affects the action and plot. Wonderful!
In The Late Show we have three or four main plots, a bit more than the usual Bosch.
a) Credit card theft
b) Assault on prostitute
c) Gang murder in a club
d) sub-plot of Ballard's betrayal by her ex-partner and boss
ALL of these are masterfully woven together, paced perfectly, unlike the badly flawed The Wrong Side of Goodbye. Although that book has, perhaps, my favourite title of all Bosch (The Concrete Blonde comes close), the book's structure and pacing were terrible. The plots were interwoven very poorly, which I attribute to Connelly's being distracted by the superb Amazon Bosch tv series.
As I said, the plots/stories in this book are woven so well, with just the right amount of page coverage of each plot before switching to another, and then to the next. Superbly done. The overall pacing is terrific. I read The Late Show in one day, interrupted only by chores and meals. What great fun, and so nice to see Connelly back in form!
I'm happy to report that the latest preview copy I have is perfect; no production errors. Thank you, NetGalley.
Quotes and notes:
1. Ballard feels "her mission" - superb!
The adrenaline jolt Ballard had felt earlier now turned into a locomotive charging through her veins. To her mind, Trent was no longer just a person of interest. The train had gone by that stop. She believed he was her man, and there was nothing quite like that moment of knowing. It was the Holy Grail of detective work. It had nothing to do with evidence or legal procedure or probable cause. It was just knowing it in your gut. Nothing in her life beat it. It had been a long time coming to her on the late show but now she felt it and she knew deep down it was the reason she would never quit, no matter where they put her or what they said about her.
2. Classic Connelly Introspection -
... the scent of adrenalized perspiration left in her blouse from that moment when Nettles left the room and she saw he had a gun. She paused for a moment to relive that thrill. The feeling was addictive and dangerous, and she wondered whether there might be something wrong with her for craving it.
3. The binding of victim and detective - Classic Connelly - Wonderful -
Ballard felt that she had let her down by putting her own agenda with Chastain first. It went to the sacred bond that existed between homicide victims and the detectives who speak for them. It wasn’t Ballard’s case but Haddel was her victim and the bond was there.
4. There are just-enough cross-links with Bosch, both in characters and events, to be satisfying
She had played the part in an episode of a television show called [b]Bosch, which Ballard knew was based on the exploits of a now-retired LAPD detective who had formerly worked at RHD and the Hollywood detective bureau.[/i]
5. The continuation of The Mission, across time and authors - love it
Ballard had been in "The Dancers" and knew the club got its name from a club in the great L.A. novel The Long Goodbye.