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A few announcements before I jump into the meeting notes (that way if you don't read my emails, you will at least see the important bits):

August: we will be picking our next 6 books (Nov-April). I remembered that I will not be at the August meeting, as I'll be in Nashville visiting Sharon L. I will send the book selections out and we'll do an email vote. Login to BookMovement and add your suggested books by August 15th if you want them on the list. I will send the email vote out that weekend and give everyone a few days to cast their votes before I announce the books we've picked.

October: Lethal White is extremely long! Amazon shows the Hardcover at 656 pages. You may want to start it early. We will have a quiz/game or two in October. I have 2 prizes to give away, so you won't want to miss that meeting.

November: We've moved the meeting date and location. We will be meeting at Kim's house (I'll send her address when it gets closer) on November 18.

December: The Christmas meeting & party is at my house on December 13. Stay tuned for more info.

Crime & Beyond met in June to discuss the latest Michael Connelly book, Dark Sacred Night. It was #2 in the Renee Ballard “Late Show” series and #21 in the long running Harry Bosch one. It appears that it’s also being called #1 in the Bosch/Ballard series, which means he’s going to continue to pair the two in upcoming books. There were mixed opinions on whether or not this is a good idea, so read on.

In Dark Sacred Night, Renee finds Bosch rifling through her cold case files and when she finds out that he’s investigating the death of 15-year-old runaway, Daisy Clayton, she wants in. Together they try and find Daisy’s killer, Ballard through the usual police channels, and Bosch through any means possible. Meanwhile, Bosch, in his capacity as reserve officer at the San Fernando police department, is investigating the murder of a gang leader, which ends up causing a hit to be put on him. All in a day’s work (or a week, which is about the length of time this book spanned).

So what did we think? Did we love or hate the Bosch/Ballard match up? Do we want to read more in the new series? Will Ballard ever spend some quality time with Lola? I will tell you all of the above, but first let me see if I can locate my damn rover, I’m always losing that thing! Here it is.

Ballards Rover

What did we think? Well, overall, we enjoyed it. Ten of us gave it a 7 or 8 (there were no scores higher than 8) which is pretty good. Six people rated it in the 6 range, which is just average. Jose gave it a 4, which translates to what I think amounts to extremely unimpressive.

To be clear, many of us in the higher range of scores weren’t falling over ourselves to sing the author’s praises. We thought it was an easy read, entertaining in a not very deep sort of way. Most of the people in the higher scoring category enjoyed the Bosch & Ballard show, saw Bosch as sort of a mentor to Ballard. We noticed that the straight and narrow Ballard was starting to show signs of veering off that path as she jumped through skylights. Perhaps her mentor isn’t such a great influence.

When we drop down to the 6’s, we get much more mediocre reviews. It wasn’t so much a mystery as a police procedural and it didn’t seem like Connelly really developed Ballard as a character. Ballard seemed flat and one dimensional. Even Bosch was a bit off, when he found out Elizabeth was dead, he wasn’t as upset as we thought he should be—considering all he did to try and help her find out who killed Daisy.

Our mediocre and low scorers weren’t as pleased with the Bosch-Ballard relationship. The pairing of the two seemed forced. Jeff went as far as to say the book was not well-written. I find it interesting that Connelly said in an interview that he started a new series after he turned 60. He felt he should “break out something new creatively before this great ride is over.” He also said “Introducing a new character sort of keeps the old ones on their toes. It helps me recharge.” Considering that he added Bosch to his new character’s series at book #2 we can only wonder if maybe introducing a new series wasn’t all he’d hoped for.

There were mixed opinions of all of the storylines. Some people liked reading about the side cases because it was interesting and much more true to life, as we’re sure that the life of an LAPD detective contains a lot of side cases. Others thought there were too many storylines in between the main investigation.

We went around for the slap vote and the top three people we're slapping are: Michael Connelly, the crime scene cleanup bad guy, and the celebrity comedian with the video camera. Allie wanted to slap all of the dumbasses in the side stories.

It’s still up in the air if we will read more in the series. We’re also not sure whether or not Lola will ever get some quality time with Ballard. We can only hope, for Lola’s sake. We’re pulling for you Lola!

Welcome to new members Liz and Heather. Both ladies read the book and joined in the discussion.....AND......gave me their email addresses to be added to the list. We didn't scare them off, yay us!

Last, but not least, thanks Raj for bringing snacks for the meeting.

Next month we’re discussing Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. I will be leading and Jay is bringing snacks.

See you on the 22nd.

Kerry

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