The Late Show (no, not that one)

This Late Show is the newest police procedural by Michael Connelly, famous for his intertwined Harry Bosch series and Lincoln Lawyer series. Although they say you can’t tell a book by its cover, this cover clearly reveals that The Late Show is the first novel in a new series featuring Renee Ballard, an LAPD detective. It pretty much lives up to Connelly’s well-deserved reputation.

It’s not giving anything away to say that the title refers to the night shift in a squad of detectives. Although parts of this novel are cliché, like the conflicts between the honorable police detective and her sleazy bosses or the detective-in-danger trope, most of it rings true. I would never have picked Connelly to be a successful portrayer of a female protagonist — and I suppose we need to ask a female reader to make that judgment accurately — but in my opinion Connelly is surprisingly convincing at this task. Ballard is three-dimensional, flawed, dedicated, and real.

Connelly has long been one of my favorite crime writers, sometimes a bit too dark (vide Bosch) but always knowledgeable and suspenseful. Presumably his previous experience as a crime reporter helped develop his expertise. The Late Show manages to maintain suspense while never being gimmicky or fake; it held my interest and attention from beginning to end. I listened to the audiobook version, so I don’t know whether the experience of reading the dead-tree version would have been different.

Categories: Books