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The Dark Hours

Written by: Michael Connelly
Narrated by: Titus Welliver,Christine Lakin
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Publisher's Summary

Wall Street Journal and South Florida Sun-Sentinel Best Book of the Year

“A masterpiece” - LAPD detective Renée Ballard must join forces with Harry Bosch to find justice in a city scarred by fear and social unrest after a methodical killer strikes on New Year’s Eve (Publishers Weekly).

There’s chaos in Hollywood at the end of the New Year’s Eve countdown. Working her graveyard shift, LAPD detective Renée Ballard waits out the traditional rain of lead as hundreds of revelers shoot their guns into the air. Only minutes after midnight, Ballard is called to a scene where a hardworking auto shop owner has been fatally hit by a bullet in the middle of a crowded street party.

Ballard quickly determines that the deadly bullet could not have fallen from the sky and that it is linked to another unsolved murder - a case at one time worked by Detective Harry Bosch. At the same time, Ballard hunts a fiendish pair of serial rapists, the Midnight Men, who have been terrorizing women and leaving no trace.

Determined to solve both cases, Ballard feels like she is constantly running uphill in a police department indelibly changed by the pandemic and recent social unrest. It is a department so hampered by inertia and low morale that Ballard must go outside to the one detective she can count on: Harry Bosch. But as the two inexorable detectives work together to find out where old and new cases intersect, they must constantly look over their shoulders. The brutal predators they are tracking are ready to kill to keep their secrets hidden.

Unfolding with unstoppable drive and nail-biting intrigue, The Dark Hours shows that “relentless on their own, Ballard’s and Bosch’s combined skills … could be combustible” (Los Angeles Times).

©2021 Michael Connelly (P)2021 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about The Dark Hours

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Decent story but

I've been an avid Bosch fan for years. And I've read the earlier Ballard novels as well. It weaves together two cases - one, the tracking of a pair of serial rapists, and the other a murder investigation whose investigation leads to surprising places including a bad cop. And it's clearly a phasing out of Harry and a phasing-in of Renee, maybe to enable a plausble continuation of the virtual world the author has created over the past decades as his characters age and retire. I felt some nosalgia for the old Harry, and some trepidation for the introduction of the fledgling new detective, as the story unfolded. While overall, I enjoyed this and thought the storyline was pretty good, there were a couple of things that bugged me about the book.

Firstly, in the audio version, I found the use of music slowly fading in at the end of chapters was very disruptive. Maybe it's just from years of being conditioned by people's phones, but it always made me jump, like there was someone beside me whose phone started ringing when I was by mself listening.

The description of some of Ballard's character traits seemed a little caricatured. The way she is constantly making what are clearly impulsive, and rash, completely emotional decisions, is a little jarring. They're not portrayed like the impulses of an experienced detective, they're more the impulse of a caricature of a "silly emotional woman". And of course the repeated way in which Ballard overcomes her stronger male attackers in physical combat is somewhat unrealistic, although not unexpected given the social programming of the modern era.

Several other reviewers mentioned that this book is set squarely in the mids of the COVID-19 pandemic and adopts a bit of a political tone towards the vax. Given the polarization of the world over this issue, roughly half the audience are going to find this preachy. On the flip side, it was interesting (in a good way) to see how the effects of the "defund the police" mob were protayed as far as their impact on the LAPD.

The last nitpick is regarding one of the two subplots - the serial rapist case. The denoument, in which the identity and reasons for the attacks are revealed, seems again almost a caricature of the so-called "incels" or "misogynists" which are yet again another political boogeyman of this era. There's no real depth or backstory, just a strong sense of flat-out "my god, men really are this disgusting and creepy and evil." It sounded more intended to simply shock the reader than to bring the reader into an intricately woven story. There's more than enough of that black and white blanket characterization in the media today, I was hoping for a little more richness and nuance in the novel.

Despite these items, overall, I still enjoyed the book. I also enjoyed hearing Bosch narrated by Titus Welliver from the TV series, I found it brought a sense of familiarity and continuation to the experience.

5 people found this helpful

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Horrible, save your time.

If you're hoping for a Bosch & Ballard mystery, you'll need to wade through constant preaching about Covid-19 to get it. It adds nothing whatsoever to the story, plot, character development or overall feel of the book. I didn't finish it.

Narrators do a great job as always.

1 person found this helpful

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One of the best in Ballard/Bosch series

Truly one of the best writers of crime fiction going. He makes his stories seem so real you are viewing it as action happens, and his social comments, while not popular among some elements of society, are right on the mark. I enjoyed the interchanges between Bosch and Ballard, and whatever new direction they are headed for. Those 11 hours of listening went too quickly, gulped down story in a day and a half! Way to write, Mr. Connelly!

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome

Michael Connelly nails it again. Great story and narration by Titus and Christine. I love how Connelly always weaves the current political climate into his story. Well done.

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  • Jen
  • 2022-08-15

Not a Bosch novel

This should be described as a Renee Ballard book, with a guest appearance by Harry Bosch. 90% Ballard, 10% Bosch

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Good book, bad production

Just let her read the book. What another narrator for Bosch? It ruins the flow of the story, is amateurish, and so unnecessary. What a waste of a good book.

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Another one hit out of the ball park

To me Christine Laikin is Rene Ballard. She brings out the best in the character and really takes you into the situation and places Rene is. As always, Michael Connelly is a master story teller. He encapsulates the challenges facing modern policing in the US.

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Well Done

Great story. A few of the plot resolution were too quick and easy ... but a great story. And Connelly excels at character and plot development

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It is no longer a Bosch series

The story line has devolved into a WOKE production where females and the heroes while focusing on the fake science of Covid mandates. Not reading any more of this tripe.

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    2 out of 5 stars

If this manages to become a best seller..

It is only due to the popularity of prior Harry Bosch novels.
Sure glad The Lincoln lawyer still has life in him.

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  • sdhaase1
  • 2021-11-13

Too much Covid; not enough Bosch

Harry Bosch had a very limited role in this book. That was very disappointing. I’m sick of hearing about Covid and masks and vaccines. Unfortunately this book is full of that. I don’t listen to these books to hear political viewpoints. Worst Michael Connelly book I’ve ever listened to. I just hope we get a real Harry Bosch book next year.

108 people found this helpful

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  • Tyler Whitmire
  • 2021-11-11

It’s like COVID

This is my first review ever, this is because for the first time ever I wish I did not spend the credit. This book was pretty tough to get through. I have listened to every book in this series multiple times and love it. However, this book kinda sucks. Between the harping every 15 minutes about vaccinations and masks, the awkwardness of Christine Larkin, the fact Bosch maybe has about an hour of being part of the story, and etc. Titus Welliver is the only real highlight in this book. However, as a whole It just fell so short it was disappointing. I think this book is kinda like COVID, pretty terrible, but hey at least you got some stimulus packages.

69 people found this helpful

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  • maggie
  • 2021-11-10

Definitely a Skipper!

Something has seriously happened to the way Connelly writes. Although, it could be the voice of Lakin or the mono way she reads. That said, Titus can make you skip Chapters too! All in all, I have not enjoyed the whole Ballard/Bosch reads. Maybe Connelly will get it and find another female narrator if he continues with the Ballard character. Please, Michael….. tell me you are NOT replacing your crime/detective writings with Ballard/Lakin. Stop the bleeding!!!

63 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-11-12

political dialog

several points of unnecessary comments about political points involving Jan 6th, George Floyd and the outgoing president... very disappointing. Will not be buying anymore of the series, I read books to get away from that stuff and to gonon a journey....not to hear about people's political views That was a big part of this story...

60 people found this helpful

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  • BJ
  • 2021-11-12

Continuous infomercial for C19 and the jab

We hear it on the radio and on TV, now we can’t get away from the propaganda in our books. Give us a rest! The incessant promotions of masks and fear has ruined the book. I am struggling to finish it.

56 people found this helpful

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  • human
  • 2021-11-09

Good except for the simultaneous narrators

Liking the story, liking both narrators...but having them talking to each other...? breaks the narrative? Not sure how to explain, but in the scenes where Ballard and Bosch talk to each other pulls me out of imagining the scene from each of their points of view. Suddenly instead of an audiobook it feels like a play. Totally breaks me out of the story. I'll just wait for the TV show if I want multiple characters talking to each other.

I'd go 5 stars if the narrators just alternated scenes.

54 people found this helpful

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  • Victor @ theAudiobookBlog dot com
  • 2021-11-09

Another masterpiece from one of the best authors out there

The wait is over, The Dark Hours, book 23 in the best-selling and award-winning Harry Bosch series of police procedurals written by the amazing Michael Connelly, is available now for audiobooks lovers everywhere!

I spent all day yesterday listening to this gripping audiobook and I can say that I am once again blown away by the brilliant writing and by the superb narration.

The writing is so good that you will actually see in your mind’s eye every little detail! Mr. Connelly has that uncanny ability to give his readers a glimpse into the officers’ minds, but also into that of the criminals.

With his unparalleled expertise and knowledge of the Los Angeles Police Department, Michael Connelly creates another fantastic story that will stay with readers and listeners alike for a long time.

I am a huge fan of this series, I have listened to all of the audiobooks and I am really glad that the narrative experience is truly immersive with the extremely talented Titus Welliver who plays detective Harry Bosch on the Amazon original series taking the time from his busy schedule in order to be part of this audio production.

Both Titus Welliver and Christine Lakin are doing a fantastic job of bringing to life our beloved characters, Harry and Renee, the city of Los Angeles and its inhabitants. They are just perfect together and the narration is flawless. I approve of this recipe and I hope that we will get to see them interact even more in the upcoming audiobooks.

This is clearly another masterpiece from one of the best mystery crime authors out there! Immersive, timely, captivating, and intriguing, the story hooked me from the first paragraph and it never let go. Although I have finished listening to The Dark Hours late last night, I’m still thinking about what happened and how the investigators handled the cases in which they were involved.

I discovered the Harry Bosch audiobooks more than 15 years ago when they were narrated by audiobooks industry legend Dick Hill and I never missed a new release since then. I absolutely love The Dark Hours and I dread to think that we need to wait at least one more years until the next installment. But luckily we all can look forward to the first season of the new Harry Bosch spinoff series that should be online not in the too distant future on IMDb TV.

The Dark Hours shines and shimmers with beautiful writing, powerful messages, strong and realistic characters, vivid descriptions, and relevant observations about our current situation. Michael Connelly successfully tackles subjects shunned by other authors like racism, politics, or the corona pandemic. Fans of Michael Connelly shouldn’t spend even one second thinking if they should purchase this one!

52 people found this helpful

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  • AmazonCustomer
  • 2021-11-10

Too much copaganda

You expect police procedurals to be copaganda but it seemed like every other line was harping on the police being defunded (despite the fact that in reality the LAPD budget was actually increased, but hey it is fiction).

46 people found this helpful

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  • Garry Friedberg MD
  • 2021-11-10

My bad!

I’m a relatively old dude (69) but have been reading and listening to Michael Connelly (Bosch rules,but love Haller,Ballard,etc.) but this latest book is tough to listen to. Is it the Ballard bad acting/reading or a weak story ( no way Michael) or my old age sexism???Probably all of above: I’ll finish it ( and,of course,love me some Titus) but,so far,am disappointed.Sorry Mikey:-)

46 people found this helpful

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  • Claire
  • 2021-11-12

not my favorite

started slow, got better. weak ending.

i wish authors would quit inserting controversial politics... a good way to lose readers.

37 people found this helpful