- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Independent elements from several earlier books come seamlessly together in Michael Connelly's ingenious, compelling novel, A Darkness More than Night. This one features both Terry McCaleb, last seen in the Edgar-nominated Blood Work, and Hieronymous (Harry) Bosch, the haunted hero of several of Connelly's finest novels. The lives of these two damaged, all-too-human figures intersect in a typically extravagant story that is at once a murder mystery, a legal thriller, and a psychological drama of considerable subtlety and power.
The novel begins when McCaleb, an FBI profiler forced into retirement following a successful heart transplant, agrees to lend his expertise to a particularly baffling murder investigation. The victim is Edward Gunn, an alcoholic lowlife with a violent past. He was once arrested -- by Harry Bosch -- for the murder of a Los Angeles prostitute but managed, despite Harry's best efforts, to avoid prosecution. McCaleb's analysis of the crime scene reveals a number of anomalies: an unexplained head wound, a phrase ("Beware, beware, God sees") written in medieval Latin, the replica of an owl placed in the vicinity of the corpse. Following his instincts, McCaleb locates mirror images of these arcane clues in a number of paintings by Harry's namesake, the 15th-century Dutch master, Hieronymous Bosch.
Harry, meanwhile, is serving as chief investigator and star witness in the sensational murder trial of a world-famous Hollywood director and has no idea that he's just become the primary suspect in an unrelated investigation. As the trial progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that Harry's testimony is critically important and that any attempt to destroy his credibility will undermine the case against a vicious, well-connected killer.
Eventually, Harry learns about McCaleb's suspicions and forces a confrontation. McCaleb takes a second look at the accumulated evidence and begins to discern the outlines of a very different scenario. As new revelations come gradually into view, the disparate elements of the novel coalesce, and the narrative moves with increasing urgency toward a violent, thoroughly satisfying conclusion.
Connelly is only a moderately gifted stylist, but he is a devious, resourceful plotter and a world-class storyteller. His new book generates the kind of irresistible momentum that very few novelists ever manage to achieve. At the same time, it offers empathetic portraits of two memorably complex protagonists with more than their share of ghosts, griefs, and personal demons to contend with. A Darkness More than Night is an intelligent, compassionate, unfailingly entertaining thriller. It deserves the success it is doubtless about to achieve.
Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. His book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub, At the Foot of the Story Tree, has been published by Subterranean Press (www.subterraneanpress.com).