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19 April 2018

Review: The Late Show by Michael Connelly


The Late Show by Michael Connelly
(Renée Ballard #1)
Hardcover, 405 pages
Published July 18th, 2017 by Little, Brown and Company
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly, a new thriller introducing a driven young detective trying to prove herself in the LAPD.

 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.

My thoughts…

Renee Ballard is a detective and works for the LAPD on the midnight shift, the Late Show, with her partner Jenkins. Her job is to begin the initial investigation at the scene of a crime, write the report and then turn it over to the day shift detectives in the morning. She almost never gets to follow a case to its end and that is perfectly fine with her partner. Jenkins has no such ambitions and gets annoyed when Renee volunteers to do extra work. Jenkins wants to write his reports and get home, that lack of ambition bothers Renee.

Renee was moved to the Late Show because she had the audacity to file a sexual harassment complaint against the head of the homicide team, Lieutenant Robert Olivas. She was betrayed by her then partner of five years, Detective Ken Chastain, who refused to back-up her truthful allegations.

As the story begins, Renee and her partner are some of the first on the scene at two crimes. The first involves a transsexual prostitute who has been tortured, badly beaten, and left for dead. Renee fears that the woman may be the victim of a predator who will attack others again. The second case involves a shooting in a nightclub. Four men are sitting in a booth when suddenly one of them opens fire and kills the other three men, a waitress and a bouncer. Lt. Olivas oversees this investigation and warns Renee to stay away from it.

Renee confronts her old partner, Chastain, at the station when he comes to transport a witness. Renee tells Chastain that she felt betrayed by him for not telling the truth in the sexual harassment case against Lt. Olivas. A few hours later, Chastain is shot dead. Renee is convinced his murder is associated with the club killings. Renee is unwilling to let go of either case and against direct orders, continues to pursue leads on her off-duty hours. As she gets closer to finding out what really happened, she ends up putting both her career and her life on the line.

Renee mostly keeps to herself and doesn’t social much with the other detectives. She spends her off day’s paddle boarding in the ocean with her rescued dog, Lola. Her father died while surfing but she continues the sport and paddling. It helps clear her head and straighten out the facts of the cases she is working on. When she’s not visiting with her grandma Tutu, she can be found sleeping on the beach in a tent with Lola. I had to laugh when another detective asked if Renee was homeless. I did like Renee’s strong female character and how loyal she is to those she cares about. She is tenacious and determined to bring down the criminals she encounters. I loved that Renee proved to those that shunned her that she can do her job just as good as they can.

This is the first book by Michael Connelly that I’ve read, and the story started out slow for me. I had a difficult time staying interested in all the police procedures, which were explained in detail. I would have liked to see more character development and more dialogue between them. The story did pick up when Renee began interviews with witnesses, it then held my interest until the end. I’m not sure if I will continue with the series, although I’m interested to see how the author continues with the love interest that Renee had, it was barley touched on… possibly because it is not a romance novel. I think anyone who likes reading mystery/crime genre and doesn’t mind police procedures would appreciate The Late Show by Michael Connelly.  

Happy Reading -J

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