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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Review: THE LATE SHOW, Michael Connelly

The Late Show, by Michael Connelly. Review by best-selling crime author Barbara Copperthwaite

‘This is a brilliant writer at work, giving a masterclass in how it’s done’



Los Angeles can be a dangerous city - never more so than in the dead of night. Detective Renée Ballard, once one of the department's young hotshots, now works 'The Late Show', the notorious graveyard shift at the LAPD.

It's a thankless job keeping strange hours in a twilight world of tragedy and violence, handing over her investigations as the sun rises, never getting closure.

Some nights are worse than others. And tonight is the worst yet. Two cases: a brutal assault, and a multiple murder with no suspect.

Ballard knows it is always darkest before dawn. But what she doesn't know is how deep her dual investigation will take her into the dark heart of her city, her department and her past...

If you're already a fan you'll love THE LATE SHOW. If you haven't read a Connelly book yet: now is the perfect time to start.


I’m going to have to whisper this, as it shames me, but I’ve never read a Michael Connelly book before. There, I’ve said it. This is despite hearing amazing things about his writing, and also the fact that I love the Bosch series on tv. Sorry. The plus side of this is that I came to The Late Show with fresh eyes and no set expectation. I won’t be doing that any more though – my expectations are now sky high.

I fell for the writing immediately. Each sentence is tightly packed with information, yet never feels forced or over-written. Emotions are hinted at, but rarely baldly stated. This is a brilliant writer at work, giving a masterclass in how it’s done.

The plotting is tighter than a drum skin, and is filled with breadcrumbs of information that lead the reader further and further into the twists and turns of the story as we discover the truth alongside Detective Renee Ballard.

And what a character Renee is! She has been shunted to The Late Show, the nickname given by cops for the night shift. Despite once having a promising career, she has been pushed to the periphery of action after a run-in with a boss. On the surface she seems to stoically accept this move, but underneath she is itching to get back to what she does best, solving crime, rather than simply processing it then handing it on to day shift to deal with.

I loved Renee. If I were in trouble, she is exactly the kind of cop I’d want working my case – strong, steady, reliable, determined, and brilliant. She came across as real, and Connelly even nails the issues that might face a female cop in LA. I was deeply impressed, and definitely want to see more of Ballard.

The upshot of the review is...I loved this book! Reading it, it is obvious why Michael Connelly has won awards galore and been such a huge success for years. With this, he proves there is no sign of him slowing down or getting lazy. In Renee, Connelly has created another brilliant character who readers will be begging to know more about.

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