A Darkness More Than Night (2001) by Michael Connelly

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A Darkness More Than Night is an interesting reinterpretation of how to write a book based on a character you have used many times before. This is the seventh book in the Harry Bosch series and Michael Connelly really takes this book at a different tack. For most of the novel Harry Bosch is not the focus. Well, that’s not true, exactly. He is the focus of a murder investigation undertaken by another recurring character, Terry McCaleb. Bosch is frequently talked about and even seen on Court TV as he navigates the vagaries of criminal law, but not until later in the book does he really take the centre stage.

This is a novel way to approach an existing character and the reader really starts to doubt themselves. All of the clues in McCaleb’s grizzly murder book seem to point to Bosch. But Bosch is a good guy. But he has killed before. But there was a reason. But there is a fairly clear motive here too. But, but, but, around and around the readers mind goes wondering if they are wrong about the gruff detective. Maybe he snapped… Connelly does an excellent job of making you doubt yourself and Bosch as the tale progresses.

It takes a brave author to mess with his audience’s favorite character and Connelly really pulls it off. I wouldn’t recommend this book to a first time Bosch reader due to the nature of the story. Definitely read four or five before picking up A Darkness More Than Night as the emotional impact of the story cannot take effect if you don’t know and love the characters involved. Reading the series in order is a good idea but hardly necessary. Authors like Connelly, Lee Child and James Patterson build the back story into each novel, giving an effective ‘Previously on…’ that lets the new reader know the pertinent details while giving the veteran a quick refresher.

A Darkness More Than Night is a different direction for the Bosch series and definitely fits within the lore as a solid story with a heaping of doubt for a favorite character. Very enjoyable.

4 Stars

 

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