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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The Lincoln Lawyer (2005) by Michael Connelly

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Happy New Year fellow hardcovers. Sorry it has taken so long to return but the hangovers were frequent and severe. Now that I have recovered I hope to have a flurry of new reviews to start of the one hundred books of 2014.

The first review of the year goes to the Lincoln Lawyer. This is a really good story that I didn’t actually know was a book before it was a movie. I started reading Michael Connelly last year with the Harry Bosch series and when I saw this title in his catalogue I jumped, remembering only vague specifics about the tale before I began.

The Lincoln Lawyer is, unsurprisingly, a legal story. One of the things that Michael Connelly does well is taking a genre novel and making it something more. The Harry Bosch series is a good example of this, and I am sure I will be reviewing one of those at some time in the year aswell. One of the things that sets the Lincoln Lawyer apart from other legal dramas is the constant inner tension felt by the protagonist. My first impression of the protagonist, Mick Haller, was that he was a smug bastard with his fingers in too many pies. Later that impression changed to appreciate just how many pies he has his fingers in. When the climax of the novel arrives I couldn’t believe how all the pieces came together. And I’ve seen the film.

The movie sticks fairly closely to the plot and is definitely worth a watch, AFTER you read the book. The book’s pace is fast and you shouldn’t have trouble knocking it over in a few short sessions. It is pretty hard to put down. Haller is a bastard but he’s our bastard and by the end of the book you will be hoping that he manages to pull it all off.

All in all a solid, enjoyable read. I suggest you buy it as a late gift for that one person you forgot and read it before you send it off. Because I’m sneaky like that…

4 stars