The Dark Hours (A Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch Novel, 4)

by Michael Connelly

Hardcover, 2021

Call number





Little, Brown and Company (2021), 400 pages


Fictio Literatur Myster HTML: A Wall Street Journal and South Florida Sun-Sentinel Best Book of the Year �??A masterpiece�?��??LAPD detective Renée Ballard must join forces with Harry Bosch to find justice in a city scarred by fear and social unrest after a methodical killer strikes on New Year�??s Eve (Publishers Weekly). There�??s chaos in Hollywood at the end of the New Year�??s Eve countdown. Working her graveyard shift, LAPD detective Renée Ballard waits out the traditional rain of lead as hundreds of revelers shoot their guns into the air. Only minutes after midnight, Ballard is called to a scene where a hardworking auto shop owner has been fatally hit by a bullet in the middle of a crowded street party.   Ballard quickly concludes that the deadly bullet could not have fallen from the sky and that it is linked to another unsolved murder�??a case at one time worked by Detective Harry Bosch. At the same time, Ballard hunts a fiendish pair of serial rapists, the Midnight Men, who have been terrorizing women and leaving no trace.   Determined to solve both cases, Ballard feels like she is constantly running uphill in a police department indelibly changed by the pandemic and recent social unrest. It is a department so hampered by inertia and low morale that Ballard must go outside to the one detective she can count on: Harry Bosch. But as the two inexorable detectives work together to find out where old and new cases intersect, they must constantly look over their shoulders. The brutal predators they are tracking are ready to kill to keep their secrets hidden.   Unfolding with unstoppable drive and nail-biting intrigue, The Dark Hours shows that �??relentless on their own, Ballard�??s and Bosch�??s combined skills�?�could be combusti… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member mmitchell262
I do enjoy Ballard's character, but don't like the phasing out of Bosch. Making him mostly a secondary character. Also, didn't realize Connelly was such a lefty. Way too much mask and vaccine propaganda for my taste.
LibraryThing member lostinalibrary
LAPD Detective Renee Ballard and Harry Bosch are once more united in The Dark Hours, the latest from Michael Connelly, the master of the police procedural. In this book the focus is mainly on Ballard as she tries to solve two cases, a killing that may be connected with one of Bosch’s old cases
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and a serial rapist case while having to deal with departmental infighting and coverups. But she is determined to do her job despite all the roadblocks thrown in her way with a lot of help from Bosch.

You know when you start a Connelly book, you’d better buckle up cuz you’re in for a bumpy ride and The Dark Hours is no exception. It’s as always fast and furious from beginning to the nail-biting end and it kept me reading into the wee small hours.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review
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LibraryThing member etrainer
The best Renee Ballard book so far. She is truly the female Bosch in this story. The ending sets the stage for interesting developments in future novels. If you are a Bosch/Ballard fan, read this one ASAP.
LibraryThing member thewanderingjew
The Dark Hours (A Renee Ballard and Harry Bosch Novel 4), Michael Connelly, author; Titus Welliver, Christine Likin, narrators
In this fourth book in the Renee Ballard series, The plot is obvious from the beginning. From the get-go, it is obvious that there are two crimes being investigated. One is
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the murder of a former gang member gone straight, and the other is the rape of several women. There is a little mystery, as the reader knows that the crimes will be solved by the indomitable Renee Ballard, who is the protégé of Harry Bosch. Both are rogue cups.
Arrogant and defiant, because she really wants to work homicides, as she once did, Renee is not viewed as a team player. Often acting on her own, defying the rules, she attracts even more negative attention. Since she does not trust the department to have her back, so she often calls on Harry, instead, to back her up and protect her. This conflict makes her think about leaving the force and joining Harry Bosch doing private investigation. Her thoughts trouble her because Harry’s daughter is in the police academy. Shouldn’t she be more supportive? At the end of the book, the reader is left to wonder whether or not she will remain a police officer or join forces with Harry Bosch. Both ideas are now attractive to her, but it is a difficult choice.
Although the story is laden with hackneyed phrases and trite sounding conversations and often seems like a treatise on male toxicity vs. women’s rights and inequality, it is also eye opening in one respect. It seems that having to follow the watered down current regulations and policies of the police department actually inhibits the solving of crimes. The bureaucracy and power structure make it hard to do one’s job. Also, the “honor among thieves”, code of silence, that protects wrongdoing in the department, often punishes the victim and not the perpetrator.
The progressive, pro Democrat messages are unwelcome interruptions in the novel. The final insulting, political straw for me, was when the January 6th so-called insurrection is raised, and the murder of a policeman is mentioned. It is a false message, which has already been discredited, since the only murder that day was of an unarmed woman, climbing through a window in the Capital. The Capital Police Officer whose identity was hidden, at first, was not charged.
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LibraryThing member waldhaus1
Ballard and Bosch are working together again. A couple of cases woven together. Perhaps a closer look at sexual assault then one wants to see but in the end a good story with good twists and turns and appealing characters. A bit off putting for dentists.
LibraryThing member Eyejaybee
Michael Connelly was a crime reporter before he became a hugely successful author, and that may explain his eye for detail, and his ability to convey a vivid context for his novels. It might also explain his ability always to remain contemporary. This is one of the first novels I have read that
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pays lip service to the Covid pandemic: characters throughout the book are wearing masks, and aware of the proximity of other characters. The novel also refers to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign, and the consequences for the Los Angeles Police department, with a disaffected public up in arms about police abuses, and clamouring for significant cuts in public funding to the force. That sense of being so up-to-date helps bolster the book’s verisimilitude.

But it is not just his settings that hold such sharp plausibility. His protagonists are always very believable. While the lead character in this book is the very empathetic Renée Ballard, there are welcome contributions from Connelly’s veteran, Hieronymus ‘Harry’ Bosch, whose character has evolved over more than twenty novels during which he has aged in real time.

As usual, there are several intertwined plot lines. Ballard is primarily involved in the investigation of a series of vicious attacks upon women in their own homes perpetrated by a team that has become known as ‘The Midnight Men’. However, while on call in case of another attack on New Year’s Eve - the Midnight Men have tended to attack on public holidays – she is called to what initially appears to have been an accidental death the forecourt of a garage. I remember from my own time living in Los Angeles, nearly forty years ago now, how the locals tended to fire their guns into the air to celebrate the arrival of the New year. It seems that just such an celebration has led to the accidental death of the host of a local street party. Ballard is called to the scene, but is not convinced that all is as it seems.

Connelly knows how to draw his readers in. His plots are always carefully designed, and his characters are highly credible. Within just a few minutes, I was absolutely hooked by this novel. Highly convincing and also hugely entertaining.
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LibraryThing member Beamis12
4+ Fostered by my mother, my love for mysteries and detective novels, began when I was a pre-teen. Long ago. Together we read Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, Agatha Christie and watched on televisy The Thin Man, my mom's favorite. Throughout the years I've read many series, dropped some as my
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reading tastes slightly changed, picked up a few. Connelly and his Bosch novels is a series I've faithfully read from the beginning.

Now retired, or supposedly retired, he works on unsolved cases. The addition of a young Ballard, a detective who reaches out to Harry, is a welcome addition, as well as keeping the series fresh. What is unique about this book is that the author doesn't shy away from the events occuring at present. A demoralized police department, Covid, masks and vaccines are integrated into the story. The plot itself features two different cases but Harry's help is once again sought as one of the cases touched on an unsolved that Harry had worked when he was in the department.

These stories always read fast, always interesting and we'll written. Ballard is different because she doesn't shy away from using unusual and often frowned on tactics to solve a case. A little like a younger Bosch, though of course she is female. At books end Ballard will be given a choice. Alas, we have to wait for the next book to see what decision she makes.
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LibraryThing member hcnewton
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.

It was like a bag of popcorn cooking in a microwave. A few pops during the final countdown of the year and then the barrage as the frequency of gunfire made it impossible to separate it into individual discharges. A gunshot symphony. For a
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solid five minutes, there was an unbroken onslaught as revelers of the new year fired their weapons into the sky following a Los Angeles tradition of decades.

It didn’t matter that what goes up must come down. Every new year in the City of Angels began with risk.

The gunfire of course was joined by legitimate fireworks and firecrackers, creating a sound unique to the city and as reliable through the years as the changing of the calendar.

It opens on December 31, 2020—Renée Ballard and a fellow detective are partnered up for the night—it's a kind of all-hands-on-deck kind of night. These two are also part of a team on the trail of a pair of serial rapists that they're calling the Midnight Men.

But on this night, they're called out to a shooting death. Ballard's role is to be the initial investigator and then pass off the case to the homicide detectives after the weekend—but she's hoping she can keep it longer (their work on a different case could allow for that). There's a match for the bullet—the same gun was used in an old unsolved case, investigated by Harry Bosch.*

Isn't it always reassuring to see that no matter what kind of super cop he is, there are cases that Bosch couldn't close?

The two put their heads together and quickly find a new angle for Bosch's case as well as a promising line of investigation for Ballard's.

Meanwhile, the Midnight Men strike again, and this time, there's something a little different that Ballard picks up. A string she starts pulling that proves to be instrumental.

With Bosch to bounce her ideas off of, as well as a backup she can trust, Ballard gets her chance, once again, to bring a little light to the dark hours of the night.

While this is by and large a Renée Ballard book, there's enough about Harry Bosch to keep a fan satisfied. He's doing okay with his medical condition, Maddie's well (and is dating someone, so isn't spending as much time with Bosch), he's pretty much holed-up during COVID, studying old case files.

Not at all-surprisingly, when Renée's path crosses with his, he's ready to jump into action. Sure, he always is, but add in a lockdown-induced cabin fever? It's a wonder that Harry wasn't calling his mentee daily to see if she needed help with anything (although it's clear that the two have kept in touch).

In the past, the pair have done a better job of keeping Harry's involvement under the radar, but between Bosch's Cabin Fever, Ballard's need to make fast progress on the cases, and her lack of trust for any other detective at the moment they throw that out the window. Which does come back to bite Ballard (as it should).


... this was the new LAPD—officers stripped of the mandate of proactive enforcement and waiting to be reactive, to hit the streets only when it was requested and required, and only then doing the minimum so as not to engender a complaint or controversy.

To Ballard, much of the department had fallen into the pose of a citizen caught in the middle of a bank robbery. Head down, eyes averted, adhering to the warning: nobody move, and nobody gets hurt.

I don't remember Connelly's books being so obviously of the moment until last year's The Law of Innocence which ended just as lockdowns were starting in California.

Connelly's books have always felt contemporary—other mystery series might feel 5-10 years out of step, but not Connelly. Although, even the older books largely felt like they could've taken place a couple of years ago (except for the technology involved). But The Dark Hours has to be a 2021 novel—Ballard, Bosch, and the city are going through things that could only have happened after the protests of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

It makes things feel more immediate, but does it hurt readers in 5-10 years? Fair Warning, also published last year, could take place anytime after 2010 (maybe earlier). A lot of the other books felt timely to their context, but even now they don't feel that dated. Will these?

I don't know if this is a strength or a long-term weakness, but it is, as far as I can remember, a change.

However, seeing Renée having to adapt to COVID restrictions (no more living on the beach!) and struggling with the changes (temporary? long-lasting?) that the protests of Summer of 2020 about policing in America have brought to the LAPD is great to see. Connelly is able to show a department in flux, which can't have been an easy tightrope to walk.

Ehhh...I'm not sure what to say here.

In the moment, while I was reading, it was typical Connelly—I was gripped, I was riveted, I couldn't wait to see the murder solved. I was less invested in the rape case because once Ballard starts to get a little traction, once she starts to learn a little bit about these guys, I was repulsed. I really didn't want to learn more—I just wanted them locked away—I even said something to a friend like "can't we just get a quick, miraculous, resolution to this by page 180 and spend the rest of the book focusing on the murders?" Great job by Connelly creating some very horrible criminals, but I don't want to spend time thinking about them.

But it's not his best work—I'm not sure it's not up to his par, even. The more I think about it, the more I'm bothered by parts of the story and storytelling. The Epilogue, by the way? It's a scene from a TV show. Working on Bosch, Lincoln Lawyer, and Bosch: Legacy have impacted Connelly at least a little and it shows here.

I thought the stuff about the impact of COVID and the protests was fantastic—and you get no simple answers about the past/present/future of policing in LA. I'm just not sure the rest of the novel was as good as we've come to expect from Connelly (I'm open to being corrected by others who read it, though).

Good—but not good enough—I guess is my takeaway. Still, time with Bosch and Ballard? Always time well spent.
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LibraryThing member RonWelton
Michael Connelly is a master of police procedurals. The Dark Hours is no exception. For Renée Ballard, the dark hours are those of the night shift which she works. They are also the hours of emotional darkness suffered by victims of rape long after the crime. Ballard is working two cases as the
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novel opens, the murder of a former Las Palmas 13 gang member, Javier Raffa, and an extraordinary serial tag team of rapist. As commonly happens in Connelly's novels, the LAPD also becomes a source of conflict and struggle for Ballard and Bosch.
The novel is set in 2020/2021 Los Angeles and the covid 19 pandemic and the social unrest and reaction against policing has weakened the morale of the LAPD. "The department went from being proactive to reactive. And the change had somehow cast Ballard adrift."
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LibraryThing member cathyskye
Sometimes there's not much to say when a book is as good as The Dark Hours. This is vintage Connelly, plain and simple. Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch are cut from the same cloth. They're characters a reader can always depend on: focused, dedicated, and determined to bring bad guys to justice even
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if it means coloring outside the lines a bit.

There are four main characters in The Dark Hours: Ballard, Bosch, Los Angeles, and the pandemic. Connelly does a superb job in showing readers the harrowing effect the pandemic has had on LA's police department. It has, in effect, been defunded because of all the overtime spent on trying to contain all the social unrest. Many officers don't care anymore. They keep their heads down and do the bare minimum to warrant receiving a paycheck. They are the antithesis of Ballard, who refuses to stop until justice is done.

The story unfolds inexorably and leaves Renée with a huge decision to make concerning her future. I'm fairly certain which path she will choose, but as long as she continues to work with Harry Bosch in any capacity, I'll be happy because I consider these two characters to be family.

Marvelous characters, excellent story, and the audiobook was a treat to listen to. You can't ask for more.
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LibraryThing member wdwilson3
I don't know anyone who does police procedurals better than Michael Connelly. Reading any of his books is like watching CSI with the fantasy thrown out and reality intensified. But something is missing from his recent books that was present in earlier Bosch novels – the whodunnit component. Like
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most of Connelly's recent volumes, there are two cases intertwined in “The Dark Hours,” a murder and a serial rapist case. Procedure gets the bad guys in both cases, but we're given little knowledge of them (or possible alternative bad guys) in advance of the arrests. The focus in the book is more on Renee Ballard than Bosch. Connelly has allowed his characters to age with the rest of us, and Bosch was a Vietnam tunnel rat, so must be in his seventies now. Ballard is a good character, who gets more complicated in each outing. My biggest issue with her is that she does dumb things that put herself in danger, which is not an ideal approach for a cop. It's a page-turner with an ambiguous ending which I'm sure will lead to an interesting follow-up.
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LibraryThing member Perednia
Renee Ballard, with Harry Bosch, is fighting what's wrong within the system as much as she is crime in her latest outing.
LibraryThing member infjsarah
Very enjoyable. It's an interesting decision to not ignore the pandemic and politics in a current crime novel but Connelly has always had politics and social developments as background so it's not a surprise. My only disappointment is that it's too short - I felt as if the mysteries could have been
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more developed. But Connelly has some of the easiest reading styles on the planet.
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LibraryThing member lbswiener
The Dark Hours is not one of Michael Connelly's best stories. Our herione finds herself in various situations wherein she gets herself suspended. The interesting part is how the detective finds a solution to the crimes with no evidence only hunches. It was the kind of book wherein one asks himself
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or herself, when will this book end. Because this story was not up to most of Michael Connelly's other books, The Dark Hours only received three stars in this review.
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LibraryThing member breic
Connelly's plotting is completely formulaic, with most of his books ending the same way. Still, I liked the LA pandemic setting, and Ballard's perspective on it.
LibraryThing member malcrf
Typical Ballard/Bosch, typical Connelly. An easy-read page-turner, but lacking substance.
LibraryThing member Twink
I have been eagerly awaiting the fourth book - The Dark Hours - in Michael Connelly's Ballard and Bosch novels. And IMO, this is the best one yet!
It's New Year's Eve and Renée is again working the night shift - by choice. By tradition, revelers shoot their guns into the air at midnight in Los
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Angeles. Sounds like a recipe for disaster doesn't it? Uh huh, it results in one of the first homicides of the new year. Here's the thing - the bullet may be tied to an unsolved case - one worked by Harry Bosch. Now retired, Bosch has become a mentor and a sometime off the books partner of Renée.

I'm always so happy to see Harry again. He's like an old war horse that just keeps riding into battle. His experience, (usually) calm demeanor and drive for answers and justice keep him going. "Everybody counts or nobody counts" Renée is fearless and has that same drive for justice. Her determination has not endeared her to her fellow cops. Connelly has woven current events and happenings and the turbulent state of policing and politics into the narrative. While others do just the bare minimum, Renée never lets up. In addition to the New Year's Eve case, she's also trying to find a pair of serial rapists who've been labeled as The Midnight Men. A lot goes on on the late show....

Connelly's crime novels are second to none. The characters, the settings, the details, the plotting - all of it makes for fantastic reading. And yes, lots of action.

The dynamic between these two really works. In the final pages, I thought I saw where the Ballard and Bosch books might be headed in the fifth book, but Connelly throws in an alternative. I can't wait to see which way things end up.

Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member phoenixcomet
Renee Ballard is in a mess with the LAPD. Working two cases on the late show - one, tag team rapists, and two, a murder of an ex-La Palmas gang member; Renee is not getting the assistance she needs until she seeks out Harry Bosch and the two of them start working together. Decent, quick read. Sorry
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to see Harry relegated to the second tier in Connolly's writing of the character, but it makes sense to put someone else in the spotlight.
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LibraryThing member bjkelley
Writing was good, plot nothing special, too much Ballard and not enough Bosch (who is almost like a minor character in this book). Reveal at end of the book was evident about 1/2 way through subplot.
LibraryThing member juju2cat
This book! The intensity. The pace. I spent the entire day reading it and now am in that depression zone where I have to return to the mundane chores of life. This was a brilliant book and it has the most wonderful ending; giving us all hope for our future.
LibraryThing member norinrad10
The latest Connelley book continues the author's trend of regulating long-time protagonist Harry Bosch to a supporting role in favor of Detective Renee Ballard. While Ballard isn't as developed a character as Bosch, she continues to show great promise and is a compelling character in her own
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This time Ballard gets wrapped up in a series of rapes committed by a duo of assailants while pursuing a murder case that links back to a cold case investigated initially by Bosch. Harry comes along for the ride, but this one is all Ballard, all the time.

Connelley continues to show the unique ability to invent new characters that hold the reader's attention. This one is no exception.
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LibraryThing member sriddell
I love the entire Bosch Universe, and I'm really enjoying the Renee Ballard books. Even more now that I learned Titus Welliver is the narrator for the audio books (for the Harry Bosch parts anyway).

This book opens on New Years Eve. A pair of men have been breaking into women's homes and assaulting
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them - so far always on holidays at night. Renee is still on the "night shift" so she's on the case.

She's also called in as the detective for what might be an accidental death, might be a homocide. And again since she's on the night shift, she's not supposed to "keep" these cases. But she's got some great lead and doesn't want to let either case go.

Through a coincidence, there's a connection to an old case of Harry's - so of course she checks in on him and he gets pulled into the action.

As an interesting aside, this book takes place in the midst of the pandemic. Many references to real-world events including the public outcry about George Floyd. This is the second book I've read that was set during the pandemic and I found it interesting to start to see the massive world event start to make it's way into novels.

Lots of action and suspense. Loved every minute of this book!
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LibraryThing member Tatoosh
The publisher bills The Dark Hours as a Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch novel, which is misleading. The story focuses on Ballard’s investigation of two murders and a series of rapes. Bosch’s role is to stand back and nod while Ballard questions suspects. It’s an unexpected and degrading
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depiction of one of the stellar detectives in crime fiction. There is an enervating lack of energy and tension, and I put the book down frequently to turn to something more interesting. I doubt I will read another offering in this series.
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LibraryThing member lewilliams
This book is more about Rene Ballard than Harry Bosch, but that does not detract from the good story. Ballard finds out that one of her current cases is linked to an older case Bosh was involved in. These two work well of of each other. In the end, Ballard has a choice to make about her future
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career. There's enough suspense to keep the reader turning the pages. A good addition to this great series. As Bosch says" Everybody counts or nobody counts".
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LibraryThing member sleahey
Renee calls on Harry Bosch to help her investigate a serial rapist, in spite of the lack of support from her partner and her eventual suspension for not following orders.


LA Times Book Prize (Finalist — Mystery/Thriller — 2021)
Barry Award (Nominee — Novel — 2022)
Macavity Award (Nominee — 2022)




0316485640 / 9780316485647
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