Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor. But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job no matter what the department throws at her.
A few days ago I said I had never read a Michael Connelly book and then I suddenly had the chance to dive into his new series featuring Renee Ballard, a young detective working the night shift (“The Late Show”). This was a solid start and I quite enjoyed reading about the LAPD and its dynamics.
Renee has been working at night since she decided to file a complaint against one of her bosses. He was sexually harassing her, but he never admitted it and no one ever believed her. Her old partner Chastain didn’t want to help her either so now Renee is working with Jenkins, another detective who wants to work the night shift because of his sick wife. But working at night isn’t easy, because Jenkins and Ballard can never keep the cases (as they have to handle them in the morning). However, one night, Renee deals with two different crimes and decides she wants to keep investigating no matter what.
Renee Ballard is a strong and fierce character and she reminded me of Kinsey Millhone! Renee never gives up, she stands for herself and she’s willing to sacrifice her sleep hours (did she even sleep more than 3 hours straight?) in order to catch the “big evil”. What I liked the most about her is how much she cared about the victims and their life choices. She respected everyone and that is something that I highly value in people (even if they’re fictional).
There are two different cases and both are equally engaging, although there’s one involving police corruption and those are always more interesting because you know there’s going to be a surprising revelation. I kind of expected it, but it’s okay, as it was a good story anyway. All in all, The Late Show was an entertaining police procedural (heavy on the procedural) and while it wasn’t my favorite book ever, I loved that it featured a strong woman dealing with sexism in the police.
Netgalley, Little, Brown and Company, 2017