Source: Review copy, Netgalley
Publication: Paperback published on 16 April 2020 from Orion
A JUDGE MURDERED IN A CITY PARK
Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer, defends the man accused.
A HOMELESS PERSON BURNED ALIVE
Detective Renée Ballard catches the case on the LAPD’s notorious graveyard shift.
AN UNSOLVED HOMICIDE FROM A LIFETIME AGO
Harry Bosch is left a missing case file by his mentor who passed away. He was the man who taught Bosch that everybody counts, or nobody counts. Why did he keep the case all these years? To find the truth – or bury it?
IN L.A. CRIME NEVER SLEEPS
But in Ballard, Bosch and Haller: the fire always burns. Will it light the way – or leave their lives in ashes?
I missed the hardback publication and so am very pleased to have the opportunity to review this on its paperback publication. I’m pleased to report that Michael Connelly remains on excellent form. We know Bosch so well by now that it’s a little painful to discover that his health is not all it once was. A knee operation has him using a cane for the early part of the book and other health issues occur and lurk in the background. I worry that Connelly is marking Bosch’s time, but hopefully not quite yet.
At least we have Renee Ballard in the frame, sleeping (though not for long) on the beach with her dog. She is in a distant but still contentious professional relationship with her boss, Olivas. For reasons I’m not yet clear about Harry is concealing from her his relationship with his brother, Micky Haller, who also features in the book.
Bosch attends the funeral of his mentor, John Jack Thompson, the man who taught Bosch everything he knows including the first rules of working a murder. Thompson’s wife gives Harry a murder book which Thompson had at home, against the rules. It’s not clear why Thompson had the file, an old case concerning the murder of John Hilton, a drug addict and ex-con. Bosch takes the file and, deciding to work it as a cold case, convinces Ballard to come in on it with him.
Ballard meanwhile has signed off on a fatal tent fire that has killed a homeless man, Edison Banks Jnr. Initial signs were that it was an accident, but later pathology proves it was murder.
Bosch has contacted Haller because he wants Haller’s help in dealing with a health insurance matter and as a quid pro quo he is doing some work looking into Haller’s current case, unusually for him a murder trial where the defendant has confessed to murdering a Superior Court Judge.
Three cases, each seemingly distinct from the other, but Connelly will take the slimmest strands from each and make the connections that turn these separate threads into a richly woven tapestry.
The Night Fire has all the hallmarks of the taut plotting and the suspenseful writing that we have come to expect, together with the richly detailed atmosphere of the police station, the immersion in and authentic feel of police procedure,the courts and especially the streets at night.
Bosch and Ballard work together really well, but still there are things that each hides from the other; both however are committed to work their cases until they get to the truth, however unpalatable that may be. I enjoyed the introduction of a new villain, too; one who holds out the promise of a return in a future book.
Verdict: Bosch and Ballard are two sides of the same coin. They have the same focus and intensity that drives them to work their cases hard, often without regard for their own safety. Though elements of this book had a degree of predictability about them, I still contend that Connelly writes the most addictive books and he has absolutely mastered the art of mixing the different worlds he has created. I’ll keep reading as long as he keeps writing.
A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connelly is the internationally bestselling author of the Harry Bosch series, and several other bestsellers including the highly acclaimed legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer. The TV series – Bosch – is one of the most watched original series on Amazon Prime and is now in its third season. He has been President of the Mystery Writers of America, and his books have been translated into thirty-nine languages and have won awards all over the world, including the Edgar and Anthony Awards. He spends his time in California and Florida.