Terry McCaleb's heart transplant has ended his career as a profiler, but it hasn't squelched his passion for the challenge of identifying and tracking killers. Although he now lives on Catalina Island and runs a charter fishing business, he is more than eager to volunteer his assistance when a former colleague asks him to look at a murder case. The victim in the bizarre killing was found with his arms and legs tied behind his back, the obvious result of ritualistic torture. The good news is that Terry is able to decipher clues and come up with a profile that identifies a probable murder, the bad news is that the suspected killer is Los Angeles detective, Harry Bosch, a man Terry has worked with and respects. Harry's is currently testifying as lead investigator in the murder trial of a Hollywood director, but when he realizes that his reputation, his career and even his life are at stake he begins his own investigation of the torture killing. As the story lines converge, it gets harder and harder to identify the good guys, and the hope is that the last man standing is really an innocent victim and not a consummate killer.
Michael Connelly brings back several previous characters in this grim, but fascinating police procedural thriller. The main character, Terry McCaleb, a profiler appeared in an earlier Harry Bosch novel, Blood Work. Newspaper reporter, Jack McEvoy was also a featured character in earlier Bosch novels. Instead of working together to solve a murder and expose a killer as they have in the past, the characters are squared off against each other in this book. Harry and Terry are each recognized as experts in their fields, and when they apply their skills to combat each other the result is astonishing. Richard M. Davidson, the reader, does an exceptional job of effectively portraying Harry and Terry with their very different attitudes and agendas.
Although darkness and despair are recurring themes in this audio book, the final outcome brings a feeling of hope and redemption. Terry's optimism and his joy at being a father counteract Bosch's gloominess, keeping the book positive despite images of horrific torture and depravity. Connelly adds to his evolving portrait of Harry Bosch by having information about the painter Hieronymus Bosch and his work, The Garden of Earthly Delights figure prominently in the murders. Readers might be tempted to research the Dutch painter to learn more about his life and paintings, hoping for further insight about Harry Bosch. It's a testament to Connelly's skill as a writer that he can devise a complex, but credible plot involving powerful characters who are seemingly working in opposition to each other, but who converge in a satisfying, if thought-provoking conclusion. Highly recommended.
A Darkness More than Night by Michael Connelly
Read by Richard M. Davidson
Hachette Audio: 12.5 hours on 11 CDs