Dark Sacred Night: That time Harry Bosch met Renée Ballard

Dark Sacred Night Book review

What is this about?: In Renee Ballard’s second outing from Michael Connelly, she meets Harry Bosch, and helps him investigate a cold case — that of Daisy Clayton.

What else is this about?: It is, I suspect, the beginning of a new partnership or series for Connelly

Blurb

LAPD Detective Renée Ballard teams up with Harry Bosch in the new thriller from #1 NYT bestselling author Michael Connelly.

Renée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only 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. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger.

Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice.

Dark Sacred Night brings together Michael Connelly’s oldest (I think; or perhaps most famous would be better) character in Harry Bosch, and his newest, Renee Ballard to solve a cold case that haunts Harry. It might be Harry’s case, but Renee is as important in this — which given it’s part of her series, makes sense, yes?

Renee and Harry’s partnership begins when she catches him breaking into a file cabinet at her precinct. The book gives you enough to know where Harry is at in his life, without having to read the rest of the very intimidating series. It’s interesting bc they might be at opposite ends of their careers, but they’re cut from the same cloth at heart despite their differences. 

Renee, Harry and the case 

Harry is searching for Daisy Clayton’s murderer. Her mother, Elizabeth is staying with him, and he made her promise to find her daughter’s killer. His investigation sends him to Renee’s precinct searching for old records. Renee finds him there, searching, and after some quick investigation herself, finds herself wanting to help Harry — and so this partnership begins. 

Was Harry like this in the beginning? Wanting to help where he can, and feeling a responsibility for things he really didn’t need to? That is what Renee is about in this, as Connelly lets us in further to who she is. She still mourns her father’s death, and perhaps sees some of him in Harry at one point — though in truth they are very different.

Readers also see her friendships — and her allies — in the force, despite her being transferred to the night beat as punishment for reporting a superior for sexually harassing her. The book lets us in to what’s she’s like moreso than the first one did.

Harry on the other hand is alone, and it makes me wonder if this is what he’s like in his series. In his effort to help Elizabeth, his daughter is estranged from him, he has no friends outside the force and by the end of the case, things are different for him again, but he is still alone in some ways.

Daisy’s murder drives him, as it comes to drive Renee — but even as they’re working on this case together, the book follows each on their specific investigations as well. It sounds overwhelming but it’s not — Connelly is an efficient writer that keeps their investigations clear as much as their joint investigation into Daisy’s death. 

What I love about this is how well-rounded these characters are, even as they are sharing the page. I don’t know Harry Bosch other than in this book, but the book gives me enough to understand who he is. Better still, if Harry fans come to this series, it’ll give them enough to understand Renee as well.

With three different cases somewhat on the go, the resolution to Daisy’s case is unexpected, and filled with menace because readers can see just how close to the edge Harry really is. Perhaps that’s why he needs Renee as a partner, someone to keep him on the straight and narrow (so to speak) — another unexpected part of the book.

I am 100 per cent ready for the further adventures of Renee and Harry. 

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