Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly #BookReview #BlogTour

Daisy Clayton’s killer was never caught. In over ten years, there has been no breakthrough in her murder case.

Detective Renée Ballard has faced everything the LAPD’s notorious dusk-till-dawn graveyard shift has thrown at her. But, until tonight, she’d never met Harry Bosch – an ex-homicide detective consumed by this case. 

Soon, she too will become obsessed by the murder of Daisy Clayton.

Because Ballard and Bosch both know: every murder tells a story. And Daisy’s case file reads like the first chapter in an untold tragedy that is still being written – one that could end with Ballard herself, if she cannot bring the truth to light…

I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour for Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly today, many thanks to the author, Orion Books and Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me and for my advance digital copy of the novel, received through Netgalley.

Although I know of many readers who love Michael Connelly's books and more again who are fans of the television series, Bosch, I have to confess that I came to Dark Sacred Night with fresh eyes - and high expectations. I wasn't disappointed, this is top quality writing in what proved to be an addictive read.
The pairing of Bosch with Renée Ballard works superbly, there are enough similarities between them to create a fascinating spark to their relationship as they work out ways to work together. There's a moment where Bosch shares some of his memories of his time in Vietnam with her and in return, she remembers her father who also served over there and it's a poignant scene which underlines their common need to try to make some order of a messed-up world. Both are highly driven individuals who are prepared to bend the rules if the end justifies the means.
The storyline alternates between following Bosch and Ballard's perspectives which means that alongside the central plot there are numerous smaller sub-plots, including several of Renée's late show call-outs. What is striking throughout is just how much of the book is concerned with sexual violence towards women. Ballard is working the graveyard shift because she spoke out after her former lieutenant tried to force himself on her - she was moved to a posting nobody would choose to work in, 'a slot normally reserved for the department's freaks and fuckups.' while he stayed put and in light of the Me Too movement resulting in countless scandals in Hollywood is now a supervisor in the special task force put together to investigate claims of sexual harassment and worse. Throughout the book, Ballard deals with male privilege and misogyny; whether from members of the public, such as the strip club owner whose response to women officers answering his call of a possible break-in is to offer them a part-time job, to the male bias of her colleague who is more concerned about the career of a top male comedian accused of rape than of the young woman he may have attacked.
Meanwhile, Bosch is now retired from active police work but still volunteering at the San Fernando police department, investigating cold cases. One involves the murder of a former gang member and as a result, Bosch finds himself in a perilous situation. The juxtaposition between his dogged determination to seek justice, “Everybody matters, or nobody matters.” and his fear and anger when his daughter becomes affected by the case, is a masterclass in how to create a believable, compelling lead character.
It's the investigation into the death of Daisy Clayton, a teenage prostitute killed over a decade ago which really draws the different themes explored in the novel together. Bosch is involved after he met her mother, Elizabeth in a previous story, Two Kinds of Truth and has offered his home to the woman who became addicted to opioids in the depth of her grief and guilt. Renée's decision to assist him leads to them both questioning just how far they are prepared to go amid the stark realisation that formal justice doesn't always prevail and for scores of women like Daisy there is little impetus to investigate their disappearance from the streets. It's a sombre book in many ways and highlights the division between the high-profile cases which make the news and those which are seen as an almost inevitable consequence of the victim's lifestyle.
The conclusion suggests that this temporary partnership between Bosch and Ballard will become a more permanent relationship and it's a mouthwatering prospect. Dark Sacred Night is compulsive, complex and thought-provoking, I thoroughly recommend it.

Dark Sacred Night is published by Orion Books, purchasing links can be found here.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

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 fourth season. He has been President of the Mystery Writers of America, and his books have been translated into thirty-nine languages. His writing has won awards all over the world, including the Edgar and Anthony Awards, and, most recently, the CWA Diamond Dagger 2018, the highest honour in British crime writing. He spends his time in California and Florida.
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