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A Darkness More Than Night

A book by Michael Connelly

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Good writing overcomes plot flaws

  • Jan 30, 2001
A bizarre torture killing brings together two series detectives, retired FBI serial-killer profiler Terry McCaleb ("Blood Work") and the brooding LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch.

Ritualistic elements in the murder of a sadistic drunk, trussed up so as to slowly strangle himself, prompt LAPD detective Jaye Winston to consult McCaleb, whose heart transplant forced his retirement. McCaleb's immediate and intense focus on the case threatens his tranquil Catalina Island idyll as new father and husband. His wife, Graciela, views his work as inviting darkness into their lives, while McCaleb sees it as a crusade against darkness.

Bosch's attitude is more sardonic. Having once arrested the victim for the murder of a prostitute but unable to make the charge stick, Bosch would as soon congratulate the killer as arrest him, an attitude which reinforces the horrifying profile McCaleb is compiling. The artfully constructed murder scene points to Bosch himself, whose motive - vigilante justice - is plain.

The prime witness in another murder case - an arrogant Hollywood producer accused of the murder of an aspiring young actress and suspected of another - Bosch spends his time tracking down reluctant witnesses and shoring up the prosecution's shaky case. Alone and cynical, it's almost possible to believe he's crossed the line into darkness.

Though intricate and diabolical, the plot is ultimately incredible. But this takes little from the reader's enjoyment. Connelly's attention to forensic detail, character and setting, his well-developed portrait of depravity and his assured writing successfully drive the story, no doubt to Connelly's next stop on the bestseller list.

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More A Darkness More Than Night reviews
Quick Tip by . June 20, 2010
Harry Bosch & Terry McCaleb together in a Michael Connelly thriller. Taut and fast-paced, this is a real page turner. You won't be disappointed!
review by . January 19, 2010
When the LAPD run into a brick wall solving a bizarre murder, sheriff's detective, Jay Winston, asks her friend Terry McCaleb, a retired FBI agent recently recovered from a heart transplant, to help them out by polishing up his psychological profiling skills and putting them back to work on their stalled case. Edward Gunn, a small-time LA hood involved with the murder of a prostitute was himself found tied, gagged and strangled. McCaleb is convinced that the key to finding Gunn's murderer rests …
review by . November 14, 2007
What's interesting about the Bosch novels is that every one has a slightly different twist. The twist in Darkness is the grudging collaboration between two old pros, Bosch and McCaleb. Neither one is a sweetheart - you don't want to cross these guys, and even when they are forced to cooperate, they can't quite become friends. McCaleb strongly suspects that Bosch has slipped over the edge, morphing from avenging detective to vengeful murderer. Bosch is stunned and insulted, and, when he discovers …
review by . May 05, 2003
In the long series involving his signature character Harry Bosch, Mr. Connelly writes of the darkness found in good men everywhere. Police officers who deal with the worst that society has to offer while trying not to lose their own decency. This novel is no exception and another pleasurable read. If this is your first exposure to Mr. Connellys prose, you are in for a real treat. Harry Bosch is a LAPD detective and is currently involved in an O. J. style celebrity court case. An actress is dead, …
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Lynn Harnett ()
Ranked #182
I love to read, always have, and have been writing reviews for more years than I care to say. Early on, i realized there are more books than there is time to read, so I read only books I like and mostly … more
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About this book


When a sheriff's detective shows up on former FBI man Terry McCaleb's Catalina Island doorstep and requests his help in analyzing photographs of a crime scene, McCaleb at first demurs. He's newly married (to Graciela, who herself dragged him from retirement into a case inBlood Work), has a new baby daughter, and is finally strong again after a heart transplant. But once a bloodhound, always a bloodhound. One look at the video of Edward Gunn's trussed and strangled body puts McCaleb back on the investigative trail, hooked by two details: the small statue of an owl that watches over the murder scene and the Latin words "Cave Cave Dus Videt," meaning "Beware, beware, God sees," on the tape binding the victim's mouth.

Gunn was a small-time criminal who had been questioned repeatedly by LAPD Detective Harry Bosch in the unsolved murder of a prostitute, most recently on the night he was killed. McCaleb knows the tense, cranky Bosch (Michael Connelly's series star--see The Black Echo, The Black Ice, et al.) and decides to start by talking to him. But Bosch has time only for a brief chat. He's a prosecution witness in the high-profile trial of David Storey, a film director accused of killing a young actress during rough sex. By chance, however, McCaleb discovers an abstruse but concrete link between the scene of Gunn's murder and Harry Bosch's name:

"This last guy's work is supposedly replete with owls all over the ...
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ISBN-10: 0316154075
ISBN-13: 978-0316154079
Author: Michael Connelly
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
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