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Crime & Beyond met this month to discuss the first in a new series (The Late Show) by Michael Connelly. A recap for those who’ve read 16 books in the meantime:

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.

Dave led us in the discussion and for the most part the book got really good reviews. The highest score was an 8.5, and it also got six 8s, seven 7s, three 6s and dun, dun, dun, one 4. Jose was underwhelmed by the book. He felt that Ballard was a strong female but a flat character. This got us into a discussion about that, and several people noticed the same thing. Jay didn’t think she was well developed either and called her “one dimensional” and “thin.” Chris is a big Connelly fan and she agrees the author needs to develop the character more.

The positive comments were that it was a quick read and entertaining. Lots of people still liked Renee and thought Connelly did a good job of writing from the prospective of a female character. Our hope is that each subsequent book paints a more detailed picture of her. Jeff thought she was a female version of Bosch and Stephanie, who wasn’t able to make the meeting, emailed me that the character was “Bosch in a bra.”

Tammy liked the procedural part of the book and Sharon L. thought it was too procedural. But as Dave said, “Different strokes for different folks.” A quote we will hold over his head for the next time he is ranting about a domestic thriller with a weak female character. Need I remind you that I loved Lo in Cabin 10?! Allie doesn’t think Connelly intended to make Ballard likeable and thought she was intentionally written as abrasive. Kim and Jennifer, as always, loved the references to LA, but Allie wished he would have left those out. DSDF again J

Raj, who is always ready with a page number, said that nothing happened until page 195 - then it got interesting and she ended up giving it a score of 8. We liked the end where they tricked Carr into giving up his gun and entering the interrogation room. Some people guessed Carr was behind the club shooting and others (like me) didn’t see it coming.

There were multiple bad guys in this book, so the slap vote was a near tie. Trent, Mr. Brass Knuckles, won, but Finster and Olivas were a close second. (Remember that I listen to these on audio so I have no idea how to spell their names). The lady who got her credit car stolen even got a slap vote (tough crowd). Doesn’t she know she needs to alter her routine? She’s going to wind up on that I See You dating sight.

We went around the room and declared ourselves Team Bosch, Team Haller, or Team Ballard. Haller and Bosch were dead tied with 7 votes each and Renee got 4 of her own, so not bad.

FlipFlopCupcakes

Thanks Terri for bringing the great cupcakes! We also welcomed new member Paula and she didn’t run screaming from the room like the last one, so I think we’re good.

Dave made a big announcement that he and Peg are moving to the Carolinas. He will be here for a few more months as he prepares his house to sell, though, so no tears just yet.

See everyone a week early, on May 21 (due to the holiday). We will discuss Crime Scene by Jonathan & Jesse Kellerman. I will lead and Janine is bringing the snacks. Janine, I know you’ve got a lot going on, so just let me know if anything changes and you can’t make the meeting and I’ll fill in for you.

Until May,

Kerry

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