About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly

(41. - 1113.) The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly - He had me by the end of the first sentence:

It was supposed to rain for

real and that would have

put a damper on the

annual rain of lead.

It is New Year’s Eve of December 31, 2020 and LAPD Detective, RenĂ©e Ballard, is out with the rest of the Department. At midnight it has become traditional for many, too many, gun owners in the city to fire their guns into the sky.

Ballard is with Lisa Moore, a sex crimes detective, who is just doing the minimum. Most officers, stung by the protests and vitriol after the killing of George Floyd, have been content to react when called and are no longer proactive officers. Ballard knows no approach but full commitment. 

Ballard and Moore are waiting for the Midnight Men, a serial rapist duo, to strike as it is a holiday.

Instead, they are called to an autobody shop whose owner has been shot while the “rain of lead” is falling. Ballard takes charge and swiftly establishes it is murder. She does her best to grab the case over the homicide detective unit.

She learns the gun used was the same gun in a 9 year old cold murder case of Harry Bosch. She connects with Harry who is working at home on a different cold case.

As she is moving forward on the murder investigation, a woman, after hours of reflection, reports she has been raped by the Midnight Men.

Ballard takes the initiative as Moore has taken an unauthorized weekend with her boyfriend.

Ballard moves the rape investigation forward with solid detailed police work. It is the attention to a file of a dedicated now generally absent in the ranks of the 2021 LAPD.

I was thinking it is an excellent police procedural with less drama than many in the Bosch series when a startling twist in the plot gave me a jolt. It sent me racing forward.

Bosch and Ballard work together more aggressively as the murder investigation quickens.

I was conflicted over Ballard’s physical confrontations. While dramatic and more believable than many in crime fiction they were Hollywood. Yet Connelly has reasons for her acting independently. 

I was feeling disturbed as the end approached. In Dark Sacred Night I had been disappointed by Ballard and Bosch become vigilantes, blatantly breach rules of police conduct and break the law. In The Dark Hours Connelly crafts a credible ending with recognition that there are consequences for vigilantism.

The book has a feel of transition. Ballard carefully involves the “old” detective, Bosch, in the investigation. He is swiftly becoming history within the LAPD. In the book Bosch is more a mentor than leader. Ballard drives the murder and rape investigations with insight and suggestions from Bosch. She has his drive, relentlessness and stubborn personal integrity.

I saw the book on numerous best of 2021 lists. I considered it for Bill’s Best of 2021 but did not list The Dark Hours. Since making and posting the list I have been wondering if I am holding Connelly to a higher standard because of his brilliance. As set out above there are some Hollywood aspects that bothered me but crime fiction does need drama. The Dark Hours is an excellent book well worth reading. After reflection I am comfortable with not including it in Bill's Best of 2021.


Connelly, Michael – (2000) - Void Moon; (2001) - A Darkness More than Night; (2001) - The Concrete Blonde (Third best fiction of 2001); (2002) - Blood Work (The Best);  (2002) - City of Bones; (2003) - Lost Light; (2004) - The Narrows; (2005) - The Closers (Tied for 3rd best fiction of 2005); (2005) - The Lincoln Lawyer; (2007) - Echo Park; (2007) - The Overlook; (2008) - The Brass Verdict; (2009) – The Scarecrow; (2009) – Nine Dragons; (2011) - The Reversal; (2011) - The Fifth Witness; (2012) - The Drop; (2012) - Black Echo; (2012) - Harry Bosch: The First 20 Years; (2012) - The Black Box; (2014) - The Gods of Guilt; (2014) - The Bloody Flag Move is Sleazy and Unethical; (2015) - The Burning Room; (2015) - Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts; (2016) - The Crossing; (2016) - Lawyers and Police Shifting Sides; (2017) - The Wrong Side of Goodbye and A Famous Holograph Will; (2017) - Bosch - T.V. - Season One and Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch; (2018) - Two Kinds of Truth; (2019) - Dark Sacred Night and A Protest on Connelly's Use of Vigilante Justice; (2020) - The Night Fire; (2020) - Fair Warning; (2021) - The Law of Innocence and Writing a Credible Trial; Hardcover


  1. I know what you mean, Bill, about the difference between drama and 'Hollywood.' Sometimes it's a very thin line. Still, I'm very glad you enjoyed the novel (although I must say I'm not surprised; Connelly rarely disappoints). I like the way Connelly weaves in the Floyd murder. Including current events (but not letting the dominate) can add some realism to a novel.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Connelly is a great writer who has caused some frustration for me by having too much Hollywood in recent books. He is so clever on building in current events.