The Late Show

by Michael Connelly

Hardcover, 2017

Call number




Little, Brown and Company (2017), Edition: 1st Edition, 448 pages


"Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she's been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor. But one night she catches two cases she doesn't want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner's wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won't give up her job no matter what the department throws at her."--… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member clue
Ballard is another semi-rogue cop who works outside the system as she thinks she needs to. Since accusing a higher ranking officer of sexual harassment, she has been assigned to the midnight to 8 AM shift called the late show. She is involved with an abduction and beating case when her former partner is murdered. She begins working that case too, but only in the background since the case is being managed by the man she charged with harassment. This is basically a character lead plot with a character that we don't really know. It could be a good series, this was a good plot, but for it to be better than average Connelly's going to have to further develop the lead character.… (more)
LibraryThing member Amusedbythis
This is a good, fast paced Michael Connelly crime story. The protagonist, Renee Ballard, is not always believable as a female detective. Although the storyline is great, with twists and turns, I am not as interested in Ballard as I have been with Bosch. On at least one occasion, it was clear that the author was a male ascribing thoughts or feelings to a female character. Despite that, I will probably check out the next Ballard book.… (more)
LibraryThing member john.cooper
Although I've read more than a handful of the Bosch books as well as "The Lincoln Lawyer," I'm not a member of the cult of Connelly. His stories lack of the nuance of T. Jefferson Parker, the scope of James Lee Burke, the power of James Ellroy, and the prose style of...just about anybody else. His characters tend to be underdeveloped and his heroes emotionally stunted without the capability of growth. So why would I still pick up a Connelly novel? For the story. His characters may not learn from their experiences, but they do have very difficult problems to solve, and seeing how they do it provides the pleasure.

In this case we've got a new hero, Renée Ballard, a detective on the overnight shift. It's considered a dead-end job because "late show" detectives typically don't get to follow up cases to the end, instead responding to calls and cleaning up for the daytime detectives, and they suffer the ignominy of having the least desirable working hours. Ballard is there because in her last position she reported her lieutenant for sexual harassment, and her male partner didn't back her up. She doesn't much like working graveyard hours, but anything's better than working for the lieutenant, and she gets to go to the beach in the morning. She's a paddle boarder who grew up in Hawaii.

Unfortunately for the reader, this interesting premise doesn't get any more interesting than its brief description. Ballard is emotionless even by Connelly's standards: when she does have feelings, they pace the small area between pissed off and prickly before being banished again. She has no friends. She has a sex partner she keeps at a distance. She accords her current partner a grudging respect born of necessity, and mostly works alone. (At least Bosch has an ex-wife, a daughter, and a partner he'd die for.) While it's hardly new for a detective hero to have less than a full human life, nor even to want one, those heroes generally have superhuman powers (as with Holmes), wit, or some other defining characteristic. Connelly seems to be betting that the novelty of his hero being a woman will be enough to keep our interest. To his credit, the issues of a woman in a male-dominated workplace, including harassment, the threat of sexual assault, and pervasive sexism seem to be depicted accurately and according to their importance.

The case involves five people murdered at a trendy club, with a side plot about a transgender prostitute who's beaten nearly to death and dumped in a parking lot. The main plot involves the usual tropes of a tough puzzle combined with the political complications of working within a large organization (and yes, I'm being deliberately vague). The side plot seems to exist mainly to put the hero in physical danger.

For this book Connelly has adopted a terse, more-Hemingway-than-Hemingway sentence structure. He's done his usual thorough research into the details of police work, but more than in other books, he can't stop showing it off. The exposition never stops: the jargon, the acronyms, the procedures stay in the foreground. Some readers probably enjoy this, but imagine if a Western story featured frequent interruptions explaining how the sheriff selects, maintains, holsters, and cleans his various guns, or showing him completing and sending off paperwork about his deputies for the territorial government.

Not the best detective book. Not the best Connelly.
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LibraryThing member Beamis12
The start of a new series by a go to author of mine, usually I would be a little alarmed, Would this new series be as good as his others? Is he still going to write the Bosch series, my favorite of his.?
Well by the third page I was hooked, seems good authors, dependable authors can do that, just pull in a reader, quickly. Renee Ballard, stuck on the night shift after an accusation against a higher up leaves her in a bad spot, is a very likeable character. She is strong, more than capable and n a unique twist is a surfer and paddler. Lives on the beach occasionally with her dog, Lola.

The cases are varied, and actually the author got me with a zinger of a twist, in a case big reveal. Just love when they do that. Definitely a good start to a new series, as always tightly plotted, well written and well researched. First girl lead Connelly has introduced, so I don't have to feel as if I am cheating on Bosch. Also to answer my second question, heard he will come out with a new Bosch n the Fall, so win, win.
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LibraryThing member jfe16
Los Angeles Detective Renee Ballard, assigned to the Hollywood night shift as “punishment” after filing a sexual harassment complaint, begins many investigations but, after completing the paperwork, turns them over to the day shift to finish, a situation that she finds frustrating.

The detective catches two cases, a prostitute brutally beaten and left for dead and the murder of a young waitress in a nigh club shooting, and feels drawn to follow them through. Against orders and while continuing her regular night shift, she works the two cases during the day, but soon finds herself drawn into unexpected danger and, in order to bring justice to those who can no longer seek it for themselves, puts her very life on the line.

Renee Ballard is a strong, well-developed character, sympathetic, tenacious, and, at the same time, flawed. She’s not good with authority and doesn’t always make the wisest decisions. Yet she dedicated and she’s fearless.

Equally believable characters and situations surround her. Spot-on authenticity in the character’s detective work, descriptions that bring the city of Los Angeles to life, and intriguing mysteries all work together to pull the reader into the story while the constantly-building tension ramps up the suspense and keeps readers on the edge of their sears. A twisting plot and unexpected reveals keep the pages turning.

Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member Carol420
What's It About?
Renee' Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood--also known as the Late Show--beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns everything over to the day shift. A once up-and-coming detective, she's been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two assignments she doesn't want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her partner's wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the investigations entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won't give up her job, no matter what the department throws at her.

What Did I Think?
I hope Harry Bosch is not retired but just taking a long over-due vacation. Where ever he is he should be aware that a new star has risen on the police horizons...Detective Renee' Ballard. Ballard is in her own way as complicated and scared as Harry...and like Harry this woman is driven to leave no stone unturned in her pursuit to solve the case. When the piece fall into place for Renee'Ballard the reader shares her adrenaline jolt. When her demons come to haunt her, the reader shares her sorrow.

The book is fast paced and the character of Renee' Ballard is everything this series needs to become as big a hit...if not even bigger than Harry Bosch. Thank you Mr. Connelly... and take care of Harry.
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LibraryThing member debkrenzer
Michael Connelly has a new series starring Renee Ballard and I am psyched! I love this character! Her boldness, relentlessness, and determination are just some of the traits of this ballsy character that I love!

Renee has just been demoted to "The Late Show" which is the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift that no one really wants due to a sexual harassment allegation she imposed on her superior. Especially a stubborn, tenacious woman like Renee who wants to be able to investigate the cases and see them through. This determination, while an excellent trait for a policewoman, gets her into a lot of trouble at work and into some scary situations with some intimidating suspects.

Keeping herself safe is foremost in her mind, however, she sometimes lets the heat of the moment and the risks fall wayside leading to her abduction and near death.

I especially loved the ending. I had to read twice the part when the suspect was revealed. I could not believe it. I was so sure it was someone else. How did this other guy slip into that list? I surely did not see that one coming.

Renee Ballard is definitely and going to be one of my favorite characters. I can't wait to read more books with her as the main character. Especially now that she has a "new job".

Thanks to Little, Brown and Company and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
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LibraryThing member cathyskye
If there's one book I've read this summer that I would recommend everyone read, it's Michael Connelly's The Late Show. The character of Renée Ballard blew me away. She's from the same mold as Harry Bosch: Everyone counts, or nobody counts. She's intensely private and spends many of her mornings when she's just gotten off shift paddleboarding with her dog Lola. Renée graduated from the University of Hawaii with a degree in journalism, but the first time she had to cover a crime scene, she realized that she didn't want to write about crime, she wanted to catch the bad guys.

Her journalist's background means she's fantastic at mowing through the mounds of paperwork every police officer has to deal with, and she's become a pro, not only with paperwork but with her timing as well so she can work the cases that will get short shrift by the overworked day shift. (Everybody counts....) As a result of what she continues to deal with after her unsuccessful sexual harassment complaint, Renée has no time for people who won't stick up for her when they know she's right. But she's not all sharp edges and hostility; she can be thrilled to find a bookstore she didn't know existed when walking in downtown Los Angeles-- and there are her grandmother and Lola, too.

As you can tell, I did fall hard for Renée Ballard, but it wasn't just the main character that makes this book so special. The story itself is compelling, and Michael Connelly absolutely blindsided me with whodunit. Yes, The Late Show is so darned good that I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series. Write faster, Mr. Connelly!
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LibraryThing member basilisksam
Connelly introduces a new character in the guise of Renee Ballard, a female LAPD detective. Or does he? Ballard is a cop who breaks the rules, has a healthy disrespect for authority and a (justified) grudge against her boss which is blighting her career progression. In other words she’s exactly like Harry Bosch, just a different gender. From this point of view the book is disappointing. We know Bosch can’t go on forever – how many times has he retired now? However I would really like to see something different from Connelly in terms of his main character.

On the other hand this is a good police procedural up to his usual standard and a step in the right direction in giving us a strong female character as an alternative to Bosch. However I want to see her develop in different ways to Bosch and I want to know more about her backstory. So far it’s good but not sufficiently different
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LibraryThing member schmootc
I've read Michael Connelly since the Bosch books first came out, so I'm fairly familiar with his work and for some reason this series isn't hitting me like the others. I just didn't warm up to the character and the plot seemed a bit haphazard and didn't leave me satisfied. I'll probably stick with it for the next one, but if it's not any better, I won't try the third.… (more)
LibraryThing member LisaSHarvey

MY RATING ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️▫️
PUBLISHER Little Brown/Hachette Audio
PUBLISHED July 18, 2017
NARRATED Katherine Moennig

An exciting new series by Michael Connelly featuring a determined and resilient female detective, who is both impressive and rather intriguing.

Renée Ballard works the “late show” at the LAPD, the night shift. She's there because her previous supervisor made a pass at her, and she pushed back with a sexual harassment complaint that went no where. She doesn't mind working the late show, she gets in on the ground floor of lots of cases, the problem is, she never gets to finish any of them. She has to turn each of them all over to the day shift each morning.

One night she catches two cases that she doesn't want to let go of. One is the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot. The other is the death of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. It's a huge case with four others dead. Her previous supervisor is in charge of the scene, he hasn't forgiven her for the complaint, and he doesn't want her around any of his cases. Ballard steps lightly but keeps working these two cases even when she's off the clock. It's against orders and her partner's wishes. But she wants to solve a case, and the more she uncovers the harder she digs in. She won't give up.

THE LATE SHOW is a exciting new series by author MICHAEL CONNELLY featuring Renée Ballard who is in her mid-30’s, single, and loves to paddle board. She is a smart, strong-willed police detective with plenty of determination. Renee is courageous and certainly not afraid to do what it takes to get the job done. But what I love about her the most is her emotional resilience, her ability to get right back up after being dealt a difficult hand. I’m so elated to have started this series and am already looking forward to the next book, and the next and the next. It’s always nice to have something to look forward to!

MICHAEL CONNELLY delivers a fast-paced crime mystery that masterfully weaves multiple plot lines together like a beautiful braided necklace. THE LATE SHOW was engaging and I highly recommend it. Looks like the start of something good! I listened to the Audible version of the book and thought Katherine Moennig’s narration of the book was good.
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LibraryThing member Perednia
Excellent series debut with strong lead character and Michael Connelly's terrific plotting and pacing. Hope to see more of Renee Ballard.
LibraryThing member lewilliams
Connelly introduces a new character Detective Renee Ballard. Following a sexual harassment against a superior, Ballard is assigned the midnight shift, or The Late Show. Detectives assigned to this shift do not complete their investigations but pass them along to the day detectives. Against orders, Ballard bucks the system and follows up on two cases. Will she survive and be returned to the day shift?… (more)
LibraryThing member maneekuhi
Though I have read 4 or 5 Connelly novels - mostly Harry Bosch stories - I have never been a big fan of neither the character nor the writer. I can remember reading "The Poet" years and years ago and enjoying it thoroughly, yet I never really got into the series. I read a recent one where Harry goes to Hong Kong and I read the most recent one where Harry is semi-retired, enjoyed both, but whether or not I'd read another Connelly was always a "wait and see" decision. Not any more. After reading the first Renee Ballard in "The Late Show"(LS) I'm in ! When's the next one coming?!

I read tons of crime fiction, and I've read a number with a female protagonist but I've read very few second or third entries in such series over the years. The only current exception is Harry Bingham's Fiona Griffiths 6 book series which is terrific and highly recommended. I have found too many other series to be a bit over the top, regardless of the author's gender. I think Connelly has his character nailed here, but time will tell. What makes LS so good is not only the lead character, police detective Renee Ballard, but the supporting cast as well, an interesting plot and sub-plot, the fast pace, and the little details of police investigations. Connelly has done a great job in researching for this book. While the main plot deals with the shooting of five people in a bar, the sub-plot dealing with the assault of a transgender woman holds great interest as well.

But it all centers around Ballard. She is on the Late Show (midnight shift) because she filed a complaint against a police lieutenant for inappropriate behavior - and the powers that be ruled that her charges were not proven. Consequently, she was moved off the team and onto the Late Show. Her relations with her colleagues are mixed. Ballard is close to her dog and her Gramma - and she spends many nights in a tent on one of the nearby beaches. She has/had an occasional lover or two. Lots of little nuggets about life in LA. So far, I like Ballard but I'm not in love yet. It'll be interesting to see how I feel about her after another book or two.
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LibraryThing member Kathy89
I like Michael Connelly’s books but I didn’t really care for this one. Detective Renee Ballard works the midnight to 8 a.m. shift and her beat is the drug addicts, prostitutes, etc. in Los Angeles. She’s involved in two separate cases one involving an assault on a transvestite and the other she pushes her way into the investigation after helping out. Renee is a loner but my problem with the character is that she’s not likeable. I had to push myself to finish this book.… (more)
LibraryThing member zhoud2005
Exciting start of a new series!
LibraryThing member lostinalibrary
Michael Connelly’s newest book The Late Show introduces us to a new character, Detective Renee Ballard and she’s one heck of a badass. Having been banished to the night shift (the late show of the title) after filing an unsuccessful sexual harassment complaint against her boss, she is now expected to just do the scut work with her new partner, Jenkins, conducting the opening investigation of a crime but then having to turn it over to other departments just as things look to be getting interesting. Jenkins is more than happy to do this but Ballard can’t let things go so easily. Fortunately, Jenkins would rather spend his time at home whenever possible so Ballard is able to go out on her, investigating cases, some no one else is interested in, but most she is supposed to have handed over but just can’t walk away from.

The Late Show is one compelling adrenaline rush of a story and Ballard is the perfect protagonist to match the furious speed. She’s a complicated woman - brash, brave, and willing to buck authority when she thinks, no, knows she’s the woman for the job even while realizing she is putting, not only her job but her life on the line but she also has flaws that make her sympathetic. She may not be Bosch but she’s plenty good enough to get the job done and keep the reader’s attention. A high recommendation from me for fans of Connelly or anyone who likes fast-paced thrillers and strong female protagonists.

Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review
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LibraryThing member TheGenreMinx
I was excited to read The Late Show because I am a fan of the Harry Bosch series and was looking forward to reading a story with a female lead detective from Author Michael Connelly. I will say that the lead detective in this story reminded me a lot of Detective Antoinette Conway from the Dublin Murder Squad series by Author Tana French. So if you are a fan of that series then this book is definitely something you will enjoy.

Renee Ballard was transferred to the nightshift, known as the late show, and although she has a partner that she can rely on, which is better than the fair-weather one she had previously, she wishes that she could “own” a case all the way through. Instead, anything that happens during her shift is handed off in the morning to the daytime officers who take it from there. Time take its toll and Renee develops an almost near desperation to follow a case through that leads her to inserting herself in a case that would have been best handed off.

Renee never considered that running with a case would take her to the places it did. Or cost her as much either. With twists and turns to amp up the mystery as well as the suspense, Renee finds herself in a situation that would take all the grit that this character has to see this situation through until the end. Which made for a great story! The Late Show was everything I was expecting it to be and I highly recommend this book to fans of police procedural fiction. You will not be disappointed.
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LibraryThing member Twink
Michael Connelly is hands down one of my favourite authors. I've really enjoyed the Harry Bosch character over the years, as well as newer addition Mickey Haller. But I was very excited to see that he has created a new lead in his latest novel, The Late Show.

Meet Renée Ballard, a detective in the LAPD who works the night shift, aka The Late Show. Ballard was moved to the night shift after a harassment charge against a superior officer was dismissed. The kicker? Her then partner knew the truth and refused to back her.

On the night shift, she and her new partner field calls, but pass them on to the day crew to pursue. But Renée's drive and determination to find answers and justice for victims is hard to suppress. She fields two calls one evening - the beating of a prostitute and a waitress killed on the periphery of a seeming gangland shooting. Against all protocol she decides to pursue both cases on her own in the day while still working the night shift.

Oh, The Late Show is so very, very good on so many levels. Renée is intelligent, driven and tough. She has to be to do what she does - and to put up with what her superiors and fellow officers throw at her. I like her back story - it has some depth, unusual elements, is believable and makes this lead even more 'human'. Connelly's plotting in this latest is impeccable - intricate, detailed and oh so addicting. The 'who' question in the one case is at the heart of everything. The reader is alongside Renée as she puts together the pieces. I enjoy not having 'insider' information that the lead doesn't have. Danger and action are part of this book as well as the police work. There are a few scenes where my heart was in my throat and I couldn't put the book down. (And I admit I did peek ahead a few pages as I had to know the outcome.) The settings are detailed and the police procedures detailed and with the ring of authenticity.

The Late Show was a fantastic read for me and I can't wait to see more of this character. Highly recommended! Read an excerpt of The Late Show.

The author's notes at the end intrigued me..."A great debt of thanks goes to LAPD Detective Mitzi Roberts, who served in so many ways as the inspiration for Renée." Of course I had to google her - and yeah, she's a heck of a inspiration. She worked the Black Dahlia case amongst many others. Connelly also sneaks in a cameo reference to Bosch the television series in the plot.
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LibraryThing member terran
This is the first in a new series by Michael Connelly, with a big difference--a female lead. Renee Ballard reminds me of Harry Bosch in many ways. She is a rebel and sticks to her principles, even when she faces demotion and prejudice in the police department. She works the night shift (the late show) and puts herself in danger way too often, for my taste. However, I recommend the book and will watch for the next entry in the series.… (more)
LibraryThing member DaveWilde
In "The Late Show," Connelly takes a page from his Harry Bosch police detectives series and a page from Winslow's "The Gentlemen's Hour," and gives us a thrilling, compelling police procedural that is just a terrific read. From beginning to end.", the story is compelling and impossible to put down.

In it, Connelly introduces his new character, Detective Rene Ballard, a ferocious tenacious determined police detective who could give Angie Dickinson a run for her money. Ballard is a fully-fleshed out character, who while having some of Bosch's tendencies to run solo and not fully within approved policy, is quite an interesting character, living often out of her surfer van, paddle boarding Venice Beach after her night shift called the Late Show.

This book, which is obviously the start of a new series (we can all hope), demonstrates Connelly's years of refining his craft as a novelist. It hits all the right notes as a story, is perfectly paced, and a thrill to read. Five stars.
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LibraryThing member phoenixcomet
I must say I positively hated this book. It dragged on too long. The new detective character Renee Ballard is short on morals. I much prefer Hieronymous Bosch or Mickey Haller as the lead characters than Renee Ballard. Renee works the late show for LAPD, Hollywood division after having accused her former commander of sexual assault and having the case dismissed. Now personna non grata, her job is to cover the night shift and turn over the leads to the day shift. When 2 cases coincide on the same night, she decides to go rogue and follow up on her own. Too bad the damn book took way too long to get to the ending.… (more)
LibraryThing member creighley
Renee Ballard works the night shift where she sees many a victim but rarely gets to complete the job of find ongoing the bad guy. When a prostitute is found dead and an innocent waitress is shot and killed. Ballard chooses to investigate these killings at the risk of her career.
LibraryThing member gmmartz
The bar for Michael Connelly novels isn't set very high for me. The guy who was once my go-to crime writer had slipped considerably over the last few years. However, 'The Late Show', with a new major character (Renee Ballard), is a strong comeback. Maybe it's the excitement of having a new protagonist that has re-energized Mr. Connelly?

Ballard is a detective on 'the late show', or the night shift. It's not a good thing for a detective to be assigned to that duty, but she's been victimized by internal politics and is making the most of it. She's extremely competent and is chafing at the bit to do more. She grabs an assignment to investigate a violent sexual assault but is also drawn into a multi-victim homicide at a bar that has some ominous undertones.

As with most of Connelly's work, the procedural stuff is rock solid. The writing is just OK... Connelly favors straightforward declarative sentences for the most part but will never be considered Hemingway-esque. The passages with dialogue sometimes seem to be a bit 'off', but that wasn't a huge problem. The plot was good, which I think separates it from some of his recent stinkers. The interaction between law enforcement personnel at different levels is always interesting, and when corruption is involved it's really complicated. 'The Late Show' has these interactions and their after-effects in spades.

I've docked 'The Late Show' a star since the first hundred or so pages were very boring, but the remainder kicked it up a notch. It's not one of Connelly's best (you'd need to go back a long way for that....) but it's very good and hopefully a return to form.
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LibraryThing member antao
“It’s like the laws of physics—for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. If you go into darkness, the darkness goes into you. You then have to decide what to do with it. How to keep yourself safe from it. How to keep it from hollowing you out.”

In "The Late Show" by Michael Connelly

It isn't polite to look in through other people’s windows. I knew this but still I would do it. It isn't an obsession, it isn't voyeuristic. No. But sometimes things would catch my eye as I walked past. A nice vase, a sleeping cat, a glimpse of a print on a wall, random "stuff" that makes a home a home. I liked to imagine who would surround themselves with these things, what do they look like? How do they live? In one window, I know is a tiny figurine of a young ballet dancer - cheap, pastel, glazed. Nondescript. Given a place of prominence through love.
I once saw the woman who owned that dancer.
It was her feet, the size of her feet. Sitting on the bus, I was just mesmerized by her feet. Spilling over her cheap plastic slip-on shoes. Feet that looked bulbous and par boiled like a body rising from a too hot bath. Veins cracking and breaking under the strain of their burden. Sad, shuffling feet trudging homeward, kicking carrier bags straining under the weight of their contents.
I followed the feet really, not the woman. I honestly don't recall what she looked like. Large I suppose, judging by her feet. Those feet. And, as I passed the door she had disappeared through, I took a glance to the side - there was this little dancer. More delicate in that moment than anything I had seen before.

I walked on and away. I have never been back to that street, but sometimes I think about that figurine and wonder if those feet might dream of dancing. I try not to look in windows any more.
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