The Night Fire by Michael Connelly

The Night Fire by Michael Connelly
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective, he had an inspiring mentor who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case. Now that mentor, John Jack Thompson, is dead, and his widow gives Bosch a murder book, one that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD twenty years before — the unsolved killing of a troubled young man.

Bosch takes the murder book to Detective Renée Ballard and asks her to help him discover what about this crime lit Thompson’s fire all those years ago. As she begins her inqueries — while still working her own cases on the midnight shift — Ballad finds aspects of the initial investigation that just don’t add up.

The bond between Bosch and Ballard tightens as they become a formidable investigation team. And they soon arrive at a disturbing question: Did Thompson steal the murder book to work the case in retirement, or to make sure it never got solved?

Harry Bosch might be recovering from knee surgery, but his life is as busy as ever. After attending the memorial service for his mentor as a Detective in the LAPD, his mentor’s widow gave Harry a murder book she found while cleaning up. Harry brings it to Detective Renee Ballard and together they agree to look into the cold case. With far more questions than answers Ballard and Bosch keep at it, determined to find the truth.

I have really enjoyed watching Harry evolve over the last decade or so. Even though the character has aged – Harry is now retired (again) from the police force – much of his fire, insight and dedication is as strong as ever. I also enjoy watching Harry and Ballard work together. They are each quite independent characters, so there is a little conflict occasionally between them, but it doesn’t feel forced or like it’s used as a plot device, it feels like two headstrong people who respect each other trying to work together comfortably.

I also really enjoyed how in this book it wasn’t simply about the one case, Renee picked up a few other cases as she continued her night shift work and her regular police roster, and Harry also kept busy and decided to solve a case when his actions caused the police to stop investigating. There is plenty going on in this book to keep the reader strongly invested and I feel Connelly has absolutely grown over the years and is a masterful storyteller.

Readers should absolutely feel able to pick this book up. While there are plenty of Harry Bosch novels out there, I strongly feel this can be read by itself. Even the still developing working partnership between Bosch and Ballard can easily be understood without having read any of the previous books. This is a gripping and layered murder mystery and an interesting cross between a police procedural and a PI style of detective novel. I have really loved this series for ages now and feel this is an excellent addition and great book.

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