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I've read & positively reviewed a few Connelly novels now and I was looking forward to reading this one. Unfortunately this isn't one of his trademark Bosch plots, even though he is involved, but it was still a very enjoyable read nonetheless.
A Darkness More Than Night puts Terry McCaleb at centre stage, a former FBI profiler turned family man who lives on the island of Catalina with his wife, Graciela, and child, Cielo. By day he looks after a charter, but his desire to go back to profiling is ignited when he's asked, on the side, to take a quick look at a case and give his thoughts on it. Edward Gunn, a small time criminal, has been found dead.
Meanwhile, we catch a glimpse into what Harry Bosch is up to; he's involved in a court case prosecuting against David Storey for the murder of a woman following the opening night of his latest film.
Cutting back to McCaleb, the plot continues as he digs a little deeper into the case. Putting his relationship and commitments at risk, he hides himself away on his boat to scour the details of the murder and comes up with new leads and angles that he presents to his ex-colleague. Although he shouldn't be involved, he can't leave it alone and he finds himself getting tangled up in something far deeper and more complex than first meets the eye.
McCaleb follows the clues which lead, in a roundabout way, to suspect Bosch's involvement in the case. As the story continues, we see how these two storylines, Bosch's trial and McCaleb's investigations, intertwine.
I found the concept of parallel storylines interesting and it was intriguing to see how bits of the puzzle started to fit together. Connelly has a great way of doing this, creating a web, tangling it and enlarging it, without confusing the reader. I didn't find myself getting too lost with names and events so I could enjoy the story unfolding. I also liked the familiar names from other Connelly novels, including a reporter at the trial, and, of course, Harry Bosch.
The one thing that did irk me slightly was McCaleb's belief that Bosch could have been involved. More so, that Bosch could have stepped over a boundary and committed the types of evil he's spent his whole life trying to destroy. For anyone who is familiar with Bosch, you'd think straight away that such thoughts are stupid and that the characters involved wouldn't even entertain them. That's what I thought initially anyway, that the links between him and the case were too weak and Bosch too amazing an agent, to be believable.
Nonetheless, the novel was very well-written. You can empathise with the characters and imagine the scenes and settings because the atmosphere is built up brilliantly. Once I started reading this I had no problem getting through it.
The front of the cover reads : 'By the bestselling author of The Poet and Blood Work'. It doesn't really matter if you haven't read one of his books before, though knowing some history of Bosch and other characters adds to its familiarity.
There's also further praise on the book : 'Crisp dialogue, masterly pacing... gripping reading' - Daily Telegraph. 'At time gut-wrenchingly scary, at times maddeningly cryptic, he keeps you enthralled to the last page' - Daily Mail. 'Far better than its rivals, with a brilliantly organised plot and a genuinely exciting ending' - Evening Standard. All in all, this is another good Connelly read.
48 chapters over 403 pages, RRP £6.99.
A Darkness More Than Night is award winning crime author Michael Connelly's 10th novel, and encompasses three characters from his previous novel.
Connelly's favoured character, Harry Bosch, finds himself as a principle witness in the murder trial of a rich film director, at the same time as the detective finds himself investigated following the death of someone he had been targeting as the perpetrator of a crime. The police are confused by the case, and call in Terry McCaleb, ex-FBI investigator specialising in serial killers, retired following a heart transplant. Feeding the media in investigative reporter Jack McEvoy. McCaleb must decide whether Bosch has gone too far this time or if he is innocent and there is another killer out there.
This was Connelly's chance to better himself and go a step further than the excellent the Poet, his fifth novel. In combining three of his main characters, he has the opportunity to produce a masterpiece, but sadly falls short. The expansion of his characters is very well done indeed, and there are some brilliant interweaving character performances from his pen, but perhaps he has tried to do too much in this combination.
There is a feel of sacrifice of plot for the expansion of the characters, and in the final part of the book, everything is very open, and there are none of the usual twists and turns and suspense that we associate with a Connelly book.
However, I still really enjoyed the book, and his style of writing was as effortless to read as his other novels.
Brilliant characterisation, but the plot almost has to make way for it.
I rate this book at 3 stars out of 5.
The book is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.19.
This review may also be posted on ciao.co.uk.
Thanks for reading.
There is a covert group of powerful bigwigs who are set on the notion that crossovers will bring in the big bucks. They have their tendrils in every form of media be it song, movie, books or another others. Who could forget the masterstroke of pairing Tom Jones with the youth? Or the genius mind burp that was having a film containing both Alien and Predator? Or finally my favourite, the pure geek domination of having a book starring Star Trek the Next Generation alongside the X Men!?! What do all these crossovers have in common? They were unadulterated pants. So can Michael Connelly possibly buck this trend with his novel, A Darkness More Than Night?
Darkness contains three characters that Connelly has used in earlier books, but never together. We have Harry Bosch the no nonsense cop whose memories of Vietnam make him a guy to be on the right side of. Also there is Terry McCaleb an ex-FBI analyst who specialises in catching serial killers but who has had to retire ever since getting a new heart. Finally there is the go getting reporter Jack McEvoy who refused to believe that his brother had killed himself and tracked down a serial killer.
With all these rich characters together for the first time Connelly has the potential to write his most interesting book yet.
A rich film director is in court accused of murder and Bosch is the star witness of this very high profile case. Meanwhile a man that Bosch has been harassing for years is found dead in horrific circumstances. It seems that someone is a fan of a medieval painter and has trussed up his victim similarly to their paintings. This case proves too difficult for the police to solve so they ask McCaleb to investigate. The evidence suggests that Bosch may have taken his no nonsense form of police work too far and become the thing he claims to hate a killer. Will Bosch be able to stay cool in the court whilst being investigated for murder?
A Darkness More Than Night is Connellys tenth book to be released. He is known for his slick style of adding violence to a strong story base. To be honest, this falters in this book. The story itself is nowhere near his best and although a good whodunit it does not compare favourably to any of his earlier works. The final section is probably the weakest part as there is little misdirection to actually distract the reader from who the obvious culprit must be.
Why is it then that I have given this book four stars even though it lacks a strong narrative? It is the interesting way in which Connelly expands on his characters. Bosch is the main protagonist in the majority of Connellys books so we are used to seeing events from his point of view. However, by having the central character of McCaleb investigating Bosch we are able to look at him from the point of view of others. What Bosch may be able to rationalise within his own mind does not look good to others. Although we may know him to be driven and have a good heart it seems that he comes across as brutish and arrogant. This same reflective process also works when Bosch describes his time with McCaleb we are reading descriptions of our favourite characters by another of our favourite characters. For fans of the books this works really well, but for those who have yet to read them, it could prove just another average murder mystery.
I have not mentioned the final character Jack McEvoy in any detail yet and that is because his part is unfortunately a cameo. We get to see him on the outskirts of the trial and observe that he is actually an annoying pushy reporter in other peoples eyes. It is amazing how different a character can be from the view of another fascinating reading (for fans).
I would not recommend this book as a start off point for Connelly fans and would urge them to read at least a few of the Bosch solo stories first. Without the knowledge and experience of how these characters tick the reader may find themselves lost in a book that feels average. However, for a fan, the book has far more depth. We learn more here than in any previous novel and I wont be able to read a Bosch mystery in the same light again. As a huge fan of the books I am going to give it four stars if it was a stand alone novel it would struggle to get three.
Author: Michael Connelly
Price: amazon uk - £5.59
play.com - £5.49
There is someone out there! Someone who believes that life is like a wheel and what goes around comes around. It is not a random killing, the victim knew who the killer was, they had no reason to fear this person or did they? The killer leaves no trace other than a tortured form that used to be someone who needed to be punished. Is this a sign of someone seeking revenge or is it the start of something more evil……….. Far away on a secluded island, a retired detective is enjoying his new life with his family. The twisted demons that use to invade his dreams at night are buried deep in the boxes he keeps locked away. That is until one of his former colleagues comes to his home and asks for his help. Soon Terry McCaleb is drawn into the world of the tormented mind that has become the angel of death. What starts out as some paperwork, a video, and a promise to his wife, soon becomes more. The peaceful life of McCaleb is shattered as he joins in the hunt for the killer that might strike again. Only has he got it wrong this time as he points the finger at someone or has this person stepped over to embrace the dark world of death and destruction. The Author Once again Michael Connelly has used his past as a police reporter to bring his audience nothing less than a magnificent insight to how a criminals mind works, and how someone who dedicates his life to solving crimes can look at the crime scene so that he can enter the criminals mind and bring justice to this world. Michael Connelly is an author who can write a novel that will draw you in, mess with your mind and take away your assumptions of who did it in a turn of a page. In this fantastic crime novel you won’t to put it down until you reach the end as it takes you to a place of darkness more than night!
I’m stupid. There I’ve admitted it now, not that some of you hadn’t figured this fact out all by yourselves anyway. Just thought I’d clear up any misunderstanding. Why stupid? Well, most normal (sane?) people tend to do things in an order, whilst some of us seem to go through life rather haphazardly, particularly when it comes to reading. I’m certainly in the latter grouping, and this is borne out by the book I’ve just finished reading. No prizes for guessing which one. Taken in order, “A Darkness More Than Light” is Michael Connelly’s most recent Harry Bosch novel. It is his 10th book to date. It also has a nice twist, in that he uses two of his most popular characters in this book, Harry Bosch (maverick LAPD detective) and Terry McCaleb (retired FBI profiler – previously in “Blood Work”). Both are interesting and dynamic characters, so the prospect of them ‘teaming’ up so to speak was quite an enticing prospect for Connelly fans. He got the title for this book from a Raymond Chandler novel, describing how the "streets were alive with a darkness that was more than night". One of the big plus points (for a dumb unorganised cretin like myself) is that Connelly’s novels can easily be read out of sequence. It won’t normally create too much of an information gap or spoil any of the other books. You’ll still find them an enjoying read which strong and vibrant characters. After reading this latest one, at least one quandary is now solved. Which of his books is next to read, as now “The Black Echo” is the only one remaining … • The Author Woah … not so fast …. You mean you’ve never heard of Michael Connelly??? Well, for those of you who've been living in a cave for the last few years, I'll give a quick background on Michael Connelly. If you
8217;ve read any of my other Michael Connelly opinions then skip this section …. Before turning his pen to crime novels he was a police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, which goes some way to explaining his obsession with basing all of his crime novels in and around LA. He has to date won the Edgar award, the Nero Wolfe prize and the Anthony award for his published work in the USA, along with international awards the Maltese Falcon (Japan), .38 Caliber (France) and Grand Prix (France). Although a recognised author in the US, he is only just starting to break through into the UK market. In most good bookstores you should now find his name displayed prominently amongst those of Ian Rankin, John Grisham and Patricia Cornwell. If they haven’t got a good selection of his novels then it’s either a poor bookshop or they’ve sold out! The majority of his novels have previously centred on Hieronymous ‘Harry’ Bosch (as this one does), a maverick LAPD detective, with the odd novel such as "The Poet" and "Blood Work" featuring other sleuths, but they are really of a fairly similar vein and revolve around a different (always male) detective chasing serial killers. The one exception to this rule to fate is “Void Moon”, which focuses on a female thief. • Plot (Briefly - No major spoilers I promise!) Terry McCaleb, ex-FBI profiler, is now retired and living on Catalina Island of the LA coastline. After the excursions of his work and the heart transplant operation he is now taking life easy, with a new wife and daughter. Life is sweet for Terry, even considering the 34 pills he gulps down with orange juice each and every day to keep himself alive. Stress is gone from his life now … Until one day when an old friend from the LAPD comes to visit asking for his help one more time on a murder profile. Terry tries to resist, but deep down he kne
w one day he wouldn’t be able to keep away from it. Once he delves into the murder book and immerses himself into the case he knows he has been reluctantly hooked back in. The death was certainly staged and bizarre. This was no spur of the moment attack. It was planned, meticulously, and with a tangible hatred for the victim. It was plain to see this was personal. The LAPD have hit a dead end, but McCaleb sees more in the crime scene. What is it with the owl? What is the meaning of it? Something tells McCaleb it is key to discovering the identity of the killer. Then, as he begins to draw up the killer’s profile, the one name that keeps cropping up is a shocking one. Someone with whom McCaleb had worked with in the past. Someone with whom he had solved a high profile case, and in the process came to indirectly find a name for his daughter. It couldn’t be him? Could it? Has Harry ‘Hieronymous’ Bosch finally stepped over the line and embraced the darkness he fights against? Has he looked once too often into the abyss and been sucked into it’s dark heart …. ? • Verdict As I said in my last opinion on a Connelly novel, the more I read his books the more I grow to like the character of Harry Bosch. This time around I can’t help but feel that he is writing for the converted, and that new readers will not get enough background here to understand his character. The whole book hinges on this interaction and the background knowledge of Harry Bosch. Having read all but one of his books I understand the character pretty well, but I have to wonder what a new reader would make of this. Why should they care about his fate so much? The book focuses a lot more on Terry McCaleb, his new life and the journey back into the investigative world of LA. Normally Connelly’s books are seen through the eyes of Bosch so this made a good change. McCaleb’s character is
far more fleshed out early on in the book, so new readers should feel comfortable with him. The most interesting aspect of the book is McCaleb’s analysis of Bosch, his motives, background, character and patterns. It does fill in a lot of gaps quickly, in a way that would have been very difficult for Connelly to do otherwise. The contrast of Bosch’s instinctual approach to McCaleb’s intellectual/puzzle solving one is clear to see. Bosch is involved in a separate court case during the investigation, which is supposed to be of similar size and stature to the OJ Simpson case (Hollywood movie director is on trail for murder). I found some of the more interesting parts of the book were in the court sections, and the ongoing investigations Bosch carries out, even whilst the trial is underway. This time around the main LAPD characters are not those associated with Bosch, but more the older contacts of Terry McCaleb. Jaye Winston is the supporting character, being McCalebs’ old friend from the LAPD, and the initial contact and official link through the case. A strong enough character, but not all that believable in the end. Connelly has constructed far better LAPD characters over the years than hers. Seasoned Connelly readers will also recognise the reprise of other roles, such as the reporter/writer Jack McEvoy (from the Poet case). But in the end the book focuses heavily, as was to be expected, on the two main protagonists, Bosch and McCaleb. It would’ve been good to see some other new characters introduced, but with two this developed it makes it easy to get into the book from the off. I have to say that “A Darkness More Than Night” is not one of my favourite Connelly novels so far, but it does builds further on the strength of his characters. The plot (for once) isn’t as solid and intricate as it usually is, with the emphasis being firmly placed on the two lead characters this time aroun
d. This is good one for those of us who have read many of his books and grown accustomed to the characters, but for those readers who are new to Connelly then this book will lose some of it’s impact. It’s an interesting departure for Connelly, but sadly not one of his best works to date. A good enjoyable read, but a slight let down when compared to his previous efforts. Saying that though I’d still recommend it, but if you’ve not read any of his work yet then don’t start with this one. Go back into the archives and dig out a copy of “The Black Ice” or “The Poet” first. Paperback version Publisher: Orion Paperbacks ISBN: 0752844040 Available: Out on September 6th 2001 RRP: £6.99 (£5.59 on pre-order from amazon this morning) Hardcover version Publisher: Orion Trade ISBN: 0752821393 Available: Out now RRP: £16.99 (£10.19 from amazon this morning) Audiocassette verision Publisher: Orion Trade (Audio) ISBN: 0752838350 Available: Out now RRP: £12.99 (£11.69 from amazon this morning) . • Other books by the same Author If you do enjoy this book, then I strongly recommend that you try some of these others novels by the same author. Hey, just go read them all okay: - The Poet - Blood Work (featuring Terry McCaleb instead of Harry Bosch) - The Concrete Blonde - The Black Ice - Angels Flight (leave until last as it gives away a lot of character backgrounds) I would particularly recommend his previous novels "The Poet" and "Blood Work" if you enjoy the Thomas Harris novels featuring Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter. They are quite similar in the type of subject and the sense of the chase you experience. Where I think they beat Harris hands down is in the style and strength of the characterisations. Very believable and you W
ILL find yourself getting engrossed in these books believe me! Michael Connelly is not as widely known as Thomas Harris (due mostly to the Silence of the Lambs film) but from his work to date he stands out as a far more consistent writer. It can only be a matter of time before someone snaps up one of his works for film adaptation. • Press quotes Here are a few quotes from the press on his work: “Impressive …. Convincing ambience, a mass of procedural detail, authentic dialogue, a speeding plot and a flawed hero” - The Times “Most impressive …. Rich in detail, strong on character, with a fascinating plot that functions on several emotional levels … Connelly has, with great skill, given us a detective who inhabits a world filled only with torment, fear and danger” – People Magazine “The strongest crime series being written in America now” - Spectator • Author’s Website Also worth checking out is his website at www.MichaelConnelly.com, which will give you further background into this excellent author and his published work to date. Definitely one worth checking out, and try your hand at the competitions too, they’re pretty hard but the prizes on offer are worth a stab at it (signed first editions normally). Other features of the site include a small biography of the author, press information, news on the latest or forthcomings novels, information on book signings via email (when is he coming to the UK?!?!) and a message board (which strangely seems to be quite civilised). All in all it’s a cracking little site for fans of his work. BONUS: on the website there is a bonus story specially written by Connelly to supplement “A Darkness More Than Night” and it’s only available to those on the private mailing list. It’s a fairly weighty piece on the first case
“Cielo Azul” (the name McCaleb eventually gives to his daughter) worked on by Bosch and McCaleb, and makes for interesting reading. It’ll be sent to you when you join up via email. ---- Right, I’m off now to get started on “The Black Echo” ………
Michael Connolly is one of my favourite authors. I bought A Darkness More Than Night because the preface mentioned Harry Bosch, my favourite Connelly character. I wasn’t disappointed. This novel reintroduces another Connelly character, Terry McCaleb an ex FBI agent who was teamed with Bosch in a previous investigation. I think I would have enjoyed the story even more if I had read the previous Bosch/McCaleb novel. McCaleb is called in to help investigate a strange killing, the circumstances of which are similar to a case he had once profiled for the FBI What makes the case even more bizarre is the fact that Harry Bosch appears to fit the killers profile exactly. Is this a case of good cop turned bad?. Those of us familiar with Bosch don’t believe that for a minute. He couldn’t possibly be the bad guy – or could he? The plot has the usual exciting twists and turns we have come to expect from Michael Connelly and the reader is kept enthralled until the end. The only aspect of the book which I found a little hard to accept is the fact that McCaleb retired from the FBI because of heart problems – in fact he has actually had a heart transplant! It is stretching the imagination to it’s limits to ask the reader to believe that McCaleb could cope with the physical demands he experiences during this investigation. But then, heroes of thrillers are supposed to be superhuman – aren’t they?
This offering from Michael Connelly is somewhat different in that it features his two main characters in the same novel for the first time, Harry Bosch of the LAPD and Terry McCaleb of the FBI. The cases they are working on overlap, but will the mavericks be able to work together to catch the killer?