2019 Reviews · contemporary fiction · crime · thriller

New Release Book Review: The Night Fire Michael Connelly

Title: The Night Firethe night fire small

Author: Michael Connelly

Published: October 21st 2019

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 416

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Crime

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 3 stars

Harry Bosch and LAPD Detective Renée Ballard come together again on the murder case that obsessed Bosch’s mentor, the man who trained him – new from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly.

Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective he had an inspiring mentor, John Jack Thompson, who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case. Now John Jack is dead and Harry inherits a murder book that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD 20 years before — the unsolved killing of a troubled young man in an alley used for drug deals.

Bosch brings the murder book to Renée Ballard and asks her to help him find what about the case lit Thompson’s fire all those years ago. That will be their starting point.

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

Review:

Michael Connelly is a number one bestselling author of over thirty crime novels and he returns with a new book. The Night Fire is a duo style novel, involving ongoing characters Harry Bosch and Renee Ballard. This new tale plunges these two leads knee deep in a number of puzzling investigations. A story of murder, the past, retribution, old cases and new, The Night Fire is one thrilling read.

The Night Fire sees LAPD Detective Renee Ballard team up once again with Harry Bosch for another perplexing murder case. This is a very personal case for Bosch, as it was a case that plagued his mentor. This mentor, John Jack Thompson, is the man who showed Bosch all the ropes in the detective world and he gave him a memorable mantra to follow. He taught Bosch that their work must always be taken seriously and personally. While a strong night fire must burn in every case Bosch takes on. After John Jack Thompson’s recent passing, Bosch is handed a murder book. This key link to the past reveals some shocking secrets. A cold case involving the death of a man in the vicinity of known drug deals is contained in this book. Bosch decides to enlist the help of Detective Renee Ballard in this case. Bosch is determined to lay this unsolved killing to rest, as he knows that it haunted his former mentor. Together, Ballard and Bosch form a productive and unbreakable bond. It sees the two of them navigate uncharted territory and consider the impossible, with the ultimate goal of solving this long running case.

In recent times I have avoided long running series I am unfamiliar with, as I simply do not have the time to commit to a series. The Night Fire came to me via an unexpected review book arrival and it has been sitting on my shelves begging to be read. I have been intrigued by Connelly’s work  and what makes him such a popular author. I have heard only positive things about this prolific author. The Night Fire was a solid crime read.

Onto the specifics of the book. The Night Fire captures the inherent desire of a police detective to get to the bottom of a case, at all costs. It is about drive, determination and personal sacrifice. I could see a lot of these qualities in Harry Bosch, as well as Renee Ballard. Connelly is very adept at portraying the ground level police work that officers of the law undertake. The police based scenes were authentic and believable.

In terms of the plot, the narrative is shared between Bosch and Ballard. There is the overriding case involving the two compelling leads, along with a number of side cases. It does sound like a convoluted story, but these threads were realistic and they all seemed to come together in the end. Along the way expect to be acquainted with some old and new friends, as well as foes. I appreciated the inclusion of the Lincoln Lawyer (Mickey Haller) who I recall from the film version. Connelly’s plot is shrouded in enough mystery to keep the reader intrigued. The style of delivery is fast moving, which works to keep the reader firmly rooted in the unfolding events of this intriguing investigation.

Will The Night Fire be my only outing with Michael Connelly? For now, yes. While I did appreciate much of what The Night Fire had to offer in terms of the solid characterisation, riveting plot and crime content, I did feel a little like an outsider looking in as a newcomer to this author. I will definitely look into exploring Connelly’s extensive backlist, if time ever permits. In the meantime, I may check out the television series based on Bosch starring Titus Welliver. Select The Night Fire if you are a devotee of Connelly’s books, or if you have the time to explore his earlier work.

The Night Fire by Michael Connelly was published on 21st October 2019 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Night Fire, Michael Connelly, visit here.

*Thanks extended to Allen & Unwin for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

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