Another fine outing from Mr. Connelly; for some reason I can't put my finger on, I find him eminently readable. I e-picked this Kindle version from Amazon on its release day back in November of last year; took a while before my book-picking algorithm gave me the OK to read it. (Just in time before Connelly's next book comes out!)
Even though I would have read this book anyway, I should point out that it also made the WSJ's Best Mysteries of 2021 list. So it's not just me.
Connelly's female cop, Renée Ballard, takes center stage here, with a major supporting role played by the semi-retired Harry Bosch. It opens on New Year's Eve 2020, and the LAPD is at a low point, reeling from defund-the-police calls in the wake of the George Floyd protests. Many cops are phoning it in, including Ballard's partner, Lisa Moore. They are trying to track down the "Midnight Men", a two-man team of rapists preying on single females. But as the book opens, Ballard and Moore are sheltering under a freeway overpass, the safest place to be when the fusillade of bullets fired off into the air at midnight comes raining back down on the innocent and the guilty, cop and civilian.
But tonight, a bad guy has used the midnight gunfire to disguise a homicide, shooting an ex-gang member in the head at close range. Powder burns on the victim's scalp tell the sharp-eyed Ballard that it was murder. So that makes two major cases she takes it upon herself to solve. She has to fight against apparently hopeless odds: not only against the criminals who have done a pretty good job covering their tracks, but also the internal politics of the LAPD. Doesn't help that Ballard has a crusading chip on her shoulder, showing little respect for department protocol or her colleagues' lassitude. (She's much like Bosch there.) But (good news) she finds some companionship with a Fire Department EMT; which comes in handy when later in the book… well, I don't want to spoil that.