9) Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly has been at this game for a long time – with Harry Bosch, Micky Haller (the Lincoln Lawyer) and now Reneé Ballard as his well-known leading characters. I haven’t read one for a while but this felt like a decent return to form. It brings together Ballard and Bosch in the hunt for a serial killer: one of their first victims has been a cold case that has haunted Bosch for years.
It is quite a bleak and dark tale (more dark and night than sacred), which starts with a body being nibbled on by the dead owner’s cat and ends with some fairly gruesome revelations; if you are weak-stomached, this one isn’t for you. But if you like some dark, sinister and, as we hit the last third of the book, increasingly thrilling reading, then this might hit the spot.
Ballard and Bosch are kindred spirits, separated by years of experience, but who have faced similar exclusion for ‘not fitting in’ – so far, so traditional for the crime genre – but they are more believable than the standard ‘outsider’ police detective, and the interplay (and different approaches) make for an engaging read. And, as ever with Connelly, his insight into the workings of the police station and the wider criminal justice system are second to none. I’d put this in the top half of the Connelly books I’ve read, and this is therefore pretty highly recommended.