The Late Show by Michael Connelly

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Late ShowConnelly introduces a new main character and she is going to be a great addition to his crew of unforgettable characters. Renee Ballard is a surfing young lady living and working in Los Angeles. She got her surfing background from her father while living in Hawaii. After he died (actually drowned) she moved to the states to be close to her grandmother.

Now she works as a detective for the Los Angeles Police Department and due to a confrontation with a supervisor about a year ago she is on The Late Show. That term in the LAPD is actually for those who work second or third shift on the force.

Ballard is a real hard charger and often works over and above her scheduled shifts. Once she becomes intrigued with a case she will work it day or night as long as she feels she is getting somewhere.. And it doesn’t take a lot to get her intrigued!!

One of the cases that she gets involved in quickly is when they find a person who is terribly beaten. It appears that it is a woman prostitute who was working the streets. The person is severely beaten and can only murmur something about an upside-down house. However her interest is especially blown up when they discover that the person is in fact a man dressed as a female! But regardless Ballard is very concerned because of the severity of the beating. It appears as though whoever did it also used brass knuckles which not only left terrible marks but it seems that there was some type of printing on the knuckles. So to Ballard that is just another incentive to hunt for and apprehend someone who would do such a terrible thing.

And then while her attention to the above is somewhat pulling her attention from her Late Show activities another unusual event happens in her area. In this case a young waitress is shot to death although she is just an innocent bystander in a tremendous shoot-out that occurs in a bar, again in Ballard’s territory. This shootout involves four men in a booth in the bar. Three of the men are shot dead by the fourth man who as he turns to run happens into a bouncer and the waitress. He shoots the both of them and then escapes. These two additional victims also die which causes Ballard again to think of her favorite saying, “Big Evil” at work.

This case as well as the beating of the male prostitute is deemed to be above the status of Ballard and her partner. Their jobs are to find the scenes of where crimes are committed and then turn them over to specialists in the various criminal areas to dig in and solve the cases.

However Ballard isn’t programmed that way in her brain. She feels that a wrong has been committed and regardless of her assigned shift or place of duty if she somehow gets involved as a bystander or just as a person who sees something she will jump fully into the pursuit of whomever has done the dirty deed.

Needless to say this does not sit well with her supervisors (which as mentioned above is one of the reasons she is no longer a day shift detective).

But Connelly builds both of these cases as well as other happenings in Ballard’s life to really make for a great read. It allows the reader to get a pretty good look at how law enforcement works and also how dedicated some (but not all) of those who work in it really are.

The reader will be carried to the end of the book with one pretty solid theory in mind about one of the killings only to come up with a different answer as Connelly works his magic and carries us up one road and then….bam. Not only is there a turn but a truly great turn that makes the reader realize how great the whole story was! Get it and read it. You will be satisfied without a doubt!

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