cover image Desert Star

Desert Star

Michael Connelly. Little, Brown, $29 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-48565-4

In bestseller Connelly’s thrilling fifth outing for Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch (after 2021’s The Dark Hours), Ballard invites the retired Bosch to volunteer for the LAPD’s newly revived Open-Unsolved Unit, which she’s running, enticing him with the prospect of finding the man responsible for the 2013 slaying of an entire family. She also wants to reopen the 1994 murder of 16-year-old Sarah Pearlman, sister of the L.A. city councilman who helped resuscitate the cold case team. Ballard and Bosch work at the department’s new homicide archive where the unsolved murder books are stored: “hallowed ground to Bosch. The library of lost souls.” Both cases require deep dives into the past; both lead to great action scenes; and, as always, Connelly displays his encyclopedic knowledge of the latest forensics, such as “Investigative Genetic Genealogy.” Bosch, however, takes a low-tech approach and follows leads in the field with his trademark intensity, driven by his desire to restore order in a violent world (“The dark engine of murder would never run low on fuel. Not in his lifetime”). This entry, the 24th Bosch novel, may not be as expansive as The Dark Hours, but it ranks up there with Connelly’s best. Agent: Philip G. Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary. (Nov.)