Renée Ballard works the overnight shift at LA's Hollywood station aka The Late Show. Cops on this shift don't get to follow their cases - they respond to calls, get information and start the paperwork for the daytime crews to take over. This is why it's considered a punishment for cops that have screwed up in some way. It's rather unfulfilling, and Ballard struggles against this - she's a good cop, and wants to finish a case. She finds a way to keep working on all three of the cases she gets a call out on. One of the cases is a credit card theft that seems pretty straight forward, another is a vicious beating that nearly left the victim dead, and the third, a club shooting that has left 5 dead.
Despite being told to stay away from the club shooting, Ballard keeps poking around, and when her former partner gets killed, she can't leave it until she finds his killer. Ballard is a lot like Connelly's Harry Bosch character - she's a loner and takes advantage of time away from her partner to keep working, even when she's off the clock. She is dogged - the more she's warned off the case, the more determined she is to do the opposite, even at peril to herself. Connelly even throws in a nod to Harry, making mention of the TV show, Bosch.
Renée Ballard is a welcome addition to Connelly's world of L.A. cops - it's fun to read about other characters and see the department from another character's point of view. With three cases going at once, the plot is complicated and twisted, but not overly so. I look forward to learning more about Renée Ballard and following her adventures through the LAPD.
*this review is based upon an Advanced Reader's Copy