About the Author
Michael Connelly is a former journalist and has won every major prize for crime fiction. He lives in Florida.
Date of Birth:July 21, 1956
Place of Birth:Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Education:B.A. in Journalism, University of Florida, 1980
Read an Excerpt
Bosch looked through the small square of glass and saw that the man was alone in the tank. He took his gun out of its holster and handed it to the watch sergeant. Standard procedure. The steel door was unlocked and slid open. Immediately the smell of sweat and vomit stung Bosch's nostrils.
"How long's he been in here?"
"About three hours," said the sergeant. "He blew a one-eight, so I don't know what you're going to get."
Bosch stepped into the holding tank and kept his eyes on the prone form on the floor.
"All right, you can close it."
"Let me know."
The door slid closed with a jarring bang and jolt. The man on the floor groaned and moved only slightly. Bosch walked over and sat down on the bench nearest to him. He took the tape recorder out of his jacket pocket and put it down on the bench. Glancing up at the glass window he saw the sergeant's face move away. He used the toe of his shoe to probe the man's side. The man groaned again.
"Wake up, you piece of shit."
The man on the floor of the tank slowly rolled his head and then lifted it. Paint flecked his hair and vomit had caked on the front of his shirt and neck. He opened his eyes and immediately closed them against the harsh over-head lighting of the holding tank. His voice came out in a hoarse whisper.
"Our little dance."
A smile cut across the three-day-old whiskers on the drunk's face. Bosch saw that he was missing a tooth he hadn't been missing last time. He reached down and put his hand on the recorder but did not turn it on yet.
"Get up. It's time to talk."
"Forget it, man. I don't want-"
"You're running out of time. Talk to me."
"Leave me the fuck alone."
Bosch looked up at the window. It was clear. He looked back down at the man on the floor.
"Your salvation is in the truth. Now more than ever. I can't help you without the truth."
"What're you, a priest now? You here to take my confession?"
"You here to give it?"
The man on the floor said nothing. After a while Bosch thought he might have fallen back asleep. He pushed the toe of his shoe into the man's side again, into the kidney. The man erupted in movement, flailing his arms and legs.
"Fuck you!" he yelled. "I don't want you. I want a lawyer."
Bosch was silent a moment. He picked up the recorder and slid it back into his pocket. He then leaned forward, elbows on his knees, and clasped his hands together. He looked at the drunk and slowly shook his head.
"Then I guess I can't help you," he said.
He stood up and knocked on the window for the watch sergeant. He left the man lying on the floor.
Terry McCaleb looked at his wife and then followed her eyes down to the winding road below. He could see the golf cart making its way up the steep and winding road to the house. The driver was obscured by the roof of the cart.
They were sitting on the back deck of the house he and Graciela had rented up on La Mesa Avenue. The view ranged from the narrow winding road below the house to the whole of Avalon and its harbor, and then out across the Santa Monica Bay to the haze of smog that marked overtown. The view was the reason they had chosen this house to make their new home on the island. But at the moment his wife spoke, his gaze had been on the baby in his arms, not the view. He could look no farther than his daughter's wide blue and trusting eyes.
McCaleb saw the rental number on the side of the golf cart passing below. It wasn't a local coming. It was somebody who had probably come from overtown on the Catalina Express. Still, he wondered how Graciela knew that the visitor was coming to their house and not any of the others on La Mesa.
He didn't ask about this-she'd had premonitions before. He just waited and soon after the golf cart disappeared from sight, there was a knock at the front door. Graciela went to answer it and soon came back to the deck with a woman McCaleb had not seen in three years.
Sheriff's detective Jaye Winston smiled when she saw the child in his arms. It was genuine, but at the same time it was the distracted smile of someone who wasn't there to admire a new baby. McCaleb knew the thick green binder she carried in one hand and the videocassette in the other meant Winston was there on business. Death business.
"Terry, howya been?" she asked.
"Couldn't be better. You remember Graciela?"
"Of course. And who is this?"
"This is CiCi."
McCaleb never used the baby's formal name around others. He only liked to call her Cielo when he was alone with her.
"CiCi," Winston said, and hesitated as if waiting for an explanation of the name. When none came, she said,
"Almost four months. She's big."
"Wow, yeah, I can see...And the boy...where's he?"
"Raymond," Graciela said. "He's with some friends today. Terry had a charter and so he went with friends to the park to play softball."
The conversation was halting and strange. Winston either wasn't really interested or was unused to such banal talk.
"Would you like something to drink?" McCaleb offered as he passed the baby to Graciela.
"No, I'm fine. I had a Coke on the boat."
As if on cue, or perhaps indignant about being passed from one set of hands to another, the baby started to fuss and Graciela said she would take her inside. She left them standing on the porch. McCaleb pointed to the round table and chairs where they ate most nights while the baby slept.
"Let's sit down."
He pointed Winston to the chair that would give her the best view of the harbor. She put the green binder, which McCaleb recognized as a murder book, on the table and the video on top of it.
"Beautiful," she said.
"Yeah, she's amazing. I could watch her all-"
He stopped and smiled when he realized she was talking about the view, not his child. Winston smiled, too.
"She's beautiful, Terry. She really is. You look good, too, so tan and all."
"I've been going out on the boat."
"And your health is good?"
"Can't complain about anything other than all the meds they make me take. But I'm three years in now and no problems. I think I'm in the clear, Jaye. I just have to keep taking the damn pills and it should stay that way."
He smiled and he did appear to be the picture of health. As the sun had turned his skin dark, it had worked to the opposite effect on his hair. Close cropped and neat, it was almost blond now. Working on the boat had also defined the muscles of his arms and shoulders. The only giveaway was hidden under his shirt, the ten-inch scar left by trans-plantation surgery.
"That's great," Winston said. "It looks like you have a wonderful setup here. New family, new home...away from everything."
She was silent a moment, turning her head as if to take in all of the view and the island and McCaleb's life at once. McCaleb had always thought Jaye Winston was attractive in a tomboyish way. She had loose sandy-blond hair that she kept shoulder length. She had never worn makeup back when he worked with her. But she had sharp, knowing eyes and an easy and somewhat sad smile, as if she saw the humor and tragedy in everything at once. She wore black jeans and a white T-shirt beneath a black blazer. She looked cool and tough and McCaleb knew from experience that she was. She had a habit of hooking her hair behind her ear frequently as she spoke. He found that endearing for some unknown reason. He had always thought that if he had not connected with Graciela he might have tried to know Jaye Winston better. He also sensed that Winston intuitively knew that.
"Makes me feel guilty about why I came," she said.
McCaleb nodded at the binder and the tape.
"You came on business. You could have just called, Jaye. Saved some time, probably."
"No, you didn't send out any change-of-address or phone cards. Like maybe you didn't want people to know where you ended up."
She hooked her hair behind her left ear and smiled again.
"Not really," he said. "I just didn't think people would want to know where I was. So how did you find me?"
"Asked around over at the marina on the mainland."
"Overtown. They call it overtown here."
"Overtown, then. They told me in the harbor master's office that you still kept a slip there but you moved the boat over here. I came over and took a water taxi around the harbor until I found it. Your friend was there. He told me how to get up here."
McCaleb looked down into the harbor and picked out The Following Sea. It was about a half mile or so away. He could see Buddy Lockridge bent over in the stern. After a few moments he could tell that Buddy was washing off the reels with the hose from the freshwater tank.
"So what's this about, Jaye?" McCaleb said without looking at Winston. "Must be important for you to go through all of that on your day off. I assume you're off on Sundays."
"Most of them."
She pushed the tape aside and opened the binder. Now McCaleb looked over. Although it was upside down to him, he could tell the top page was a standard homicide occurrence report, usually the first page in every murder book he had ever read. It was the starting point. His eyes went to the address box. Even upside down he could make out that it was a West Hollywood case.
"I've got a case here I was hoping you'd take a look at. In your spare time, I mean. I think it might be your sort of thing. I was hoping you'd give me a read, maybe point me someplace I haven't been yet."
He had known as soon as he saw the binder in her hands that this was what she was going to ask him. But now that it had been asked he felt a confusing rush of sensations.
He felt a thrill at the possibility of having a part of his old life again. He also felt guilt over the idea of bringing death into a home so full of new life and happiness. He glanced toward the open slider to see if Graciela was looking out at them. She wasn't.
"My sort of thing?" he said. "If it's a serial, you shouldn't waste time. Goto the bureau, call Maggie Griffin. She'll -"
"I did all of that, Terry. I still need you."
"How old is this thing?"
Her eyes looked up from the binder to his.
"New Year's Day?"
"First murder of the year," she said. "For L.A. County, at least. Some people think the true millennium didn't start until this year."
"You think this is a millennium nut?"
"Whoever did this was a nut of some order. I think.
That's why I'm here."
"What did the bureau say? Did you take this to Maggie?"
"You haven't kept up, Terry. Maggie was sent back to Quantico. Things slowed downin the last few years out here and Behavioral Sciences pulled her back. No outpost in L.A. anymore. So, yes, I talked to her. But over the phone at Quantico. She ran it through VICAP and got zilched."
McCaleb knew she meant the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program computer.
"What about a profile?" he asked.
"I'm on a waiting list. Do you know that across the country there were thirty-four millennium-inspired murders on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day? So they have their hands full at the moment and the bigger departments like us, we're at the end of the line because the bureau figures the smaller departments with less experience and expertise and manpower need their help more."
She waited a moment while letting McCaleb consider all of this. He understood the bureau's philosophy. It was a form of triage.
"I don't mind waiting a month or so until Maggie or somebody else over there can work something up for me, but my gut on this one tells me time is a consideration, Terry. If it is a serial, a month may be too long to wait. That's why I thought of coming to you. I am banging my head on the wall on this one and you might be our last best hope of coming up with something to move on now. I still remember the Cemetery Man and the Code Killer. I know what you can do with a murder book and some crime scene tape."
The last few lines were gratuitous and her only false move so far, McCaleb thought. Otherwise he believed she was sincere in the expression of her belief that the killer she was looking for might strike again.
"It's been a long time for me, Jaye," McCaleb began.
"Other than that thing with Graciela's sister, I haven't been involved in-"
"Come on, Terry, don't bullshit me, okay? You can sit here with a baby in your lap every day of the week and it still won't erase what you were and what you did. I know you. We haven't seen each other or talked in a long time but I know you. And I know that not a day goes by that you don't think about cases. Not a day."
She paused and stared at him.
"When they took out your heart, they didn't take out what makes you tick, know what I mean?"
McCaleb looked away from her and back down at his boat. Buddy was now sitting in the main fighting chair, his feet up on the transom. McCaleb assumed he had a beer in his hand but it was too far to see that.
"If you're so good at reading people, what do you need me for?"
"I may be good but you're the best I ever knew. Hell, even if they weren't backed up till Easter in Quantico, I'd take you over any of those profilers. I mean that. You were -"
"Okay, Jaye, we don't need a sales pitch, okay? My ego is doing okay without all the -"
"Then what do you need?"
He looked back at her.
"Just some time. I need to think about this."
"I'm here because my gut says I don't have much time."
McCaleb got up and walked to the railing. His gaze was out to the sea. A Catalina Express ferry was coming in. He knew it would be almost empty. The winter months brought few visitors.
"The boat's coming in," he said. "It's the winter schedule, Jaye. You better catch it going back or you'll be here all night."
"I'll have dispatch send a chopper for me if I have to. Terry, all I need from you is one day at the most. One night, even. Tonight. You sit down, read the book, look at the tape and then call me in the morning, tell me what you see. Maybe it's nothing or at least nothing that's new. But maybe you'll see something we've missed or you'll get an idea we haven't come up with yet. That's all I'm asking. I don't think it's a lot."
McCaleb looked away from the incoming boat and turned so his back leaned against the rail.
"It doesn't seem like a lot to you because you're in the life. I'm not. I'm out of it, Jaye. Even going back into it for a day is going to change things. I moved out here to start over and to forget all the stuff I was good at. To get good at being something else. At being a father and a husband, for starters."
Winston got up and walked to the railing. She stood next to him but looked out at the view while he remained facing his home. She spoke in a low voice. If Graciela was listening from somewhere inside, she could not hear this.
"Remember with Graciela's sister what you told me?
You told me you got a second shot at life and that there had to be a reason for it. Now you've built this life with her sister and her son and now even your own child. That's wonderful, Terry, I really think so. But that can't be the reason you were looking for. You might think it is but it's not. Deep down you know it. You were good at catching these people. Next to that, what is catching fish?"
McCaleb nodded slightly and was uncomfortable with himself for doing it so readily.
"Leave the stuff," he said. "I'll call you when I can."
On the way to the door Winston looked about for Graciela but didn't see her.
"She's probably in with the baby," McCaleb said.
"Well, tell her I said good-bye."
There was an awkward silence the rest of the way to the door. Finally, as McCaleb opened it, Winston spoke.
"So what's it like, Terry? Being a father."
"It's the best of times, it's the worst of times."
His stock answer. He then thought a moment and added something he had thought about but never said, not even to Graciela.
"It's like having a gun to your head all the time."
Winston looked confused and maybe even a little concerned.
"Because I know if anything ever happens to her, anything, then my life is over."
"I think I can understand that."
She went through the door. She looked rather silly as she left. A seasoned homicide detective riding away in a golf cart.
Copyright (c) 2001 Hieronymus, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I've read all the Harry Bosch novels so far and have loved all of them. But, if this were the first HB book I ever read, I probably would have never continued the series. Terry McCaleb's character is boring and annoying, to say the least. There is nothing intriguing about him whatsoever. I wish there was more Bosch in this book. I do feel that if you are reading the HB series, you should read this though. There is a lot of continuity in the series, and you really don't want to miss anything. I'm glad that HB #8 does not include Terry McCaleb.
In a story that combines two of his characters from earlier novels as main focal points and, at one point or another, mentions just about every other one he has written, Connelly has written one of the best suspense novels in recent memory. Beginning with Bosch interviewing a suspect in an earlier case, the pace is set at fast and just builds until you feel like you are riding the Bullet Train from London to Paris. As you read, you come across references to earlier works 'VOID MOON' and 'THE POET' just to name two. Be prepared though, because once you start you WILL NOT be able to put it down. So plan for at least one sleepless night if not more.
McCaleb and Bosch. Not as interesting as I had hoped. In fact I felt the McCaleb character was almost 'annoying'. And once again Connelly is a little hamfisted in his plot twists. And also once again you really have to suspend your belief that the murders as described would happen. Just seemed like an excuse to leave clues for the pill-popping, transplant patient, family man, in touch with everyone's feelings, Terry McCaleb to find.I was also put off by the throwing in of Jack McEnvoy from the Poet. Seems more like self promotion then a necessary addition to the story. The book moves along at a nice pace and is full of descriptive imagery but all in all I can't say I would recommend it.
This is definately one of his best works. It combines two superb characters with a story that has twists and turns you don't expect. It also delves into the psyche of the characters in typical Connelly fashion.
'A Darkness More Than Night' is a good read but not one of Connelly's best novels. The darkness metaphors are a little thick (count the number of times the title pops up and the many moody jukebox songs in the background) and the decision to throw in characters and references from nearly all of his past books felt a little gimmicky. (Hello, Jack McEvoy! Hello, Thelma Kibble!) The writing and procedural is detail is crackerjack, as always, but the solution to the mystery is a little flat by Connelly standards.
A Darkness More Than Night explores the nature of Harry Bosch as he works to resolve an intertwined plot. Terry McCaleb is learning to live a new life with beautiful family despite the conflict of his nature. McCaleb is drawn into examining a mystery that reminds him of his former career. McCaleb the heart-tranplant survivor probably should not be involved in the darkness of crime. But, isn't that who he is? Along the way, the reader receives a bit of art education that can be researched further for interest sake. There are a number of twists along the way that will challenge the reader's detective skill.
So far, the weakest of the series.Didn't care for the dual principals role thing with Bosch and McCaleb, shifting back and forth. Not a great ending either. Kind of weak compared to the rest. Next..
It is fascinating how the author can lead you down one road then find out that they have been lead down another with the twist and turn of there stories.
The older Harry gets, the more he reveals his true character. Awash with angst, Harry gets help from Terry, our 'Bloodwork' hero, who watches every step because of his transplanted heart. The fact that his heart belongs to his sister-in-law thickens the plot in a positive way. Luckily, I was able to read all of Conneley's novels in chronological order. A wonderful collection that always leaves the reader anticipating the next addition to the series. If I could suggest anything, I would like to see the 'crime novel' style move toward the classic 'who-done-it' style in the Christie mode. I think it would challenge the reader and bring in a whole new group of fans.
What a novel idea to combine his favorite protagonist Harry Bosch with Terry Mc of Blood Work, a somewhat weaker protagonist in my view. Suddenly one is collaborating with, then investigating the other. The reader is forced to look with new eyes at the horrific idea that our usual hero may be more flawed than allowable! As a plus, the reader receives a lesson in art as well as one in the duplicitous nature of evil. If you are a Connelly fan, don't miss this one.
Michael Connelly's newest book, A Darkness More Than Night, features Terry McCaleb and Jaye Winston (from Blood Work)and Harry Bosch in a thriller that will definitely keep you glued to your seat. Be prepared for the pages to seem that they they are flying through your fingers. If you liked Blood Work, you'll greatly enjoy seeing how McCaleb tries to once again see inside a horrifyingly deranged criminal mind. What he uncovers, however, will not seem possible. In typical Connelly fashion, he develops characters, both good and bad, that are very well-developed and ones you'll feel are very real. Further, his plot will keep you engrossed from first page to last. Don't hesitate to add A Darkness More Than Night to your must-read list.
Connelly is probably in a 3-way tie [with the later Dorothy Sayers and Peter Dickinson] as my favorite mystery authors. This is perhaps the most revealing book about Bosch--good to read after several others.
A Darkness More than Night. Michael Connelly. 2001. I have been looking at and reading about Connelly¿s Hieronymus Bosch character, a California policeman, thinking that Jim might enjoy them. We both thoroughly enjoyed all aspects: character, plot, place, suspense, etc. This book also features Terry McCaleb, a former FBI profiler is the major character in this book. McCaleb profiles a murderer and comes to the conclusion that Bosch must be the murderer. Bosch must prove his innocence. I located a list of Connelly books by the main character and we¿ll start reading them in order. This is a great police procedural.
mystery/police procedural. McCaleb is again pulled into an unofficial investigation; this time, Bosch turns up as a suspect. emphasis on Bosch the painter and his work. suspenseful, complex, fast-paced, page-turner. dark and gritty; look into human beauty and depravity. contemporary LA setting and culture important. continue getting to know serial characters better. family life, even love. beautiful.
This is the one that got me hooked...it was my first Harry Bosch book. I love Connelly's intelligent writing style. It is so interesting to me to have the juxtaposition of a gritty character like Bosch with Connelly's prose-like narrative. After this one, I went back and read the series from the beginning.
A Harry Bosch/Terry McCaleb police procedural.McCaleb, in retirement from the FBI as a profiler in serial killer cases and an enthralled new father, is living on Catalina Island with his family, working a charter sports fishing business. He receives a surprise visit from LA County Sheriff¿s detective Jayne Winston, with whom he has worked previously. She asks him to look over the files of what may be a serial killer and to just do a brief profile on the murderer. Despite his wife Graciela¿s strong objections to being sucked back in, McCaleb takes on the investigation¿which points him to Harry Bosch as the killer.That¿s the premise of this outstanding police procedural. Connelly has a particular style when writing about Bosch, and yet another when following McCaleb. The two voices are similar¿after all, they¿re in the same line of work¿but yet distinct. It works quite well.What sets this book apart in plotting is the truly superior way that Connelly shows how obsessiveness can lead to the wrong conclusion, and how a mind set can find plenty of evidence to back up a pre-determined theory.The book is something of a sequel to Blood Work, although it can stand alone¿and in fact, can stand alone from the rest of the Bosch series.Connelly¿s books are hallmarked by very taut writing, excellent plotting, some sort of unexpected twist towards the end, and very fine denouements. This one is no exception; the only quibble I have with it is the very end, which I think weakens the book overall. But that¿s minor¿it¿s just that Connelly sets such a high standard that, if he¿s not practically perfect, you notice it.All in all, another outstanding book in the genre from Michael Connelly
A little too contrived for my tastes. Some good stuff about observing the details.
Funny thing happened on the way to read this, I realized after a couple of pages that I needed to read Blood Work first because of the introduction of a new character that has his own series--I don't know if this was Connelly's original intent, maybe it just happened that way? If you don't have Blood Work or just don't want to get into that series, it won't hurt you to miss it. But it does give you an idea of what makes McCaleb tick. As for this story, it was quite interesting, but very easy to determine the who dunnit early on. A lot of Harry's personal issues still aren't addressed from Angel's Flight, but Connelly throws a lot at you by focusing as much on McCaleb as Bosch to keep you interested until the end.
A Darkness More Than Night is a fascinating and compelling entry in Michael Connelly¿s Harry Bosch/contemporary-noir series. Connelly reframes the ordinary murder mystery setup in an unusual way: Bosch is tied up in court, and instead of tracking down the bad guys, he unknowingly becomes a suspect himself in a killing that¿s got `avenging angel¿ written all over it. This twist sounds forced, but Connelly executes it neatly, with sometimes-protagonist Terry McCaleb brought into the story to do the legwork. Very enjoyable, and highly recommended.
Another excellent entry in the Harry Bosch series. This time Bosch himself is suspected of being a killer, and he has to depend on Terry McCaleb to help clear his name. Unfortunately, McCaleb is initially convinced that Bosch is the killer because of some artful deception by the real culprit.
Former FBI agent Terry McCaleb is enjoying his new life on Catalina when he is asked to come back to the mainland and consult on a bizarre case. He zeros in on a clue – a plastic owl. Where will that lead him? Meanwhile, Harry Bosch is working closely with the prosecution on a case that he investigated. The defendant is a Hollywood director. Is their case strong enough to win? Fans of Michael Connelly will enjoy getting to see these two characters team up in one book. We even get appearances by some characters from other Connelly books, which is a treat for fans, although not knowing the backstory doesn’t hamper anything if you start with this book. The characters are sharp, both returning and new. The pacing was a bit off as times since we can guess one twist early and Bosch’s scenes in court tend to slow things down, but overall, this is another great book with a fantastic climax.