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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Desert Star

Series: A Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch

Novel #5

Narrators: Titus Welliver, Christine Lakin, Peter Giles

ISBN: 978-0316485654

Publisher: Little Brown & Co.

Publication Date:11/08/2022

Format: Hardcover & audiobook

My Rating: 5 Stars 🎧


LAPD detective Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch team up to hunt the brutal killer who is Bosch’s “white whale”—a man responsible for the murder of an entire family.

A year has passed since LAPD detective Renée Ballard quit the force in the face of misogyny, demoralization, and endless red tape. But after the chief of police himself tells her she can write her own ticket within the department, Ballard takes back her badge, leaving “the Late Show” to rebuild and lead the cold case unit at the elite Robbery-Homicide Division.

For years, Harry Bosch has been working a case that haunts him—the murder of an entire family by a psychopath who still walks free. Ballard makes Bosch an offer: come volunteer as an investigator in her new Open-Unsolved Unit, and he can pursue his “white whale” with the resources of the LAPD behind him.

First priority for Ballard is to clear the unsolved rape and murder of a sixteen-year-old girl. The decades-old case is essential to the councilman who supported re-forming the unit, and who could shutter it again—the victim was his sister. When Ballard gets a “cold hit” connecting the killing to a similar crime, proving that a serial predator has been at work in the city for years, the political pressure has never been higher. To keep momentum going, she must pull Bosch off his all-consuming investigation, the case that is the consummation of his lifelong mission.

The two must put aside old resentments and new tensions to run to ground not one but two dangerous killers who have operated with brash impunity. In what may be his most gripping and profoundly moving book yet, Michael Connelly shows once again why he has been dubbed “one of the greatest crime writers of all time” (Ryan Steck, Crimereads).

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My Review

Michael Connelly returns from The Dark Hours with his bestselling series —DESERT STAR, powerful and emotional with the duo Renee Ballard and the iconic detective Harry Bosch.

This is Connelly's 24th novel featuring Bosch and the fifth to pair him with another LAPD detective, Renée Ballard.

Proving once again Connelly is the "best crime thriller writer" today mixed with the perfect blending of cop procedure and Bosch (a favorite) character in books and on-screen—proving he has still got it and no one else compares!

In DESERT STAR, Harry takes center stage and sharper than ever, and fans will love this bittersweet installment, where he tackles more than one cold case while simultaneously dealing with his mortality.

The resilient flower Desert Star blooms near a makeshift memorial in the Mojave Desert, a place that remembers the Gallagher family – mother, father, and two young children, whose bodies were uncovered here almost 20 years ago.

The killer executed all four of them, father, mother, 13-year-old-son, and 9-year-old daughter, with a nail gun, buried them in a single grave, then took their money.

It is a case that was never solved. One that has haunted Bosch since. Now he may get the chance to come face to face with the killer in the Florida Keys.

Renee last worked together as a freelancer in The Dark hours, which ended with Ballard leaving the LAPD. However, Ballard is back on the force heading up the Open-Unsolved Unit, reworking cold cases, and she wants Harry on board as a volunteer team member.

She knows how to snag Bosch with Finbar McShane—Bosch's "white whale. The killer who got away. Bosch is all IN.

However, there is another case that Ballard has been charged with from local councilman Jake Pearlman— with his agenda. In 1994, his 16-year-old sister, Sarah, was raped and murdered in her bed in the family's home. The case is still unsolved. The perp was never caught.

As we know, Harry is not always a team player and despises politics. He has killer instincts, and he may lose a vital opportunity if he waits on others with their timelines. However, there is new DNA testing, a genealogy specialist, and another team member, Colleen, a psychic.

A break in the Pearlman case with palm print from years ago with DNA connects from another case, and then Harry is free to concentrate on Finbar McShane and brings us to a heart-pounding and satisfying conclusion. Renne and Maddie are worried about him and send out the search party.

I did not want this one to end.

When I think of Harry Bosch (major crush), I think of smooth vinyl jazz music from his Hollywood Hills home, a determined man with a heart of gold and a loving father to Maddie (now a cop). He is also one of the best detectives alive (even in his old-school ways), knows how to read a murder book like a rock star—and is driven by his mantra, "Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts," as he relentlessly pursues justice.

I hope (please) we will see more of Bosch; however, in this installment, we see Harry facing the unknowns with his health. We are the same age, so I like to believe, Mr. Connelly, that since this is "fiction." as an avid reader, I will be ok for your to rewind his age 10 years and allow him to make a miraculous recovery with no questions asked. 😎 I want to continue to see Harry, and not ready to see this series end. He has a lot of living to do yet! I also like Mickey Haller, which we hear from briefly in this latest.

I enjoy Renee Ballard— she has come a long way since we first met; however, I am glad Bosch was able to be center stage here in Desert Star. One of my favorites!

I, of course, listened to the audiobook (an auto-pre-order) narrated by my favorite (swoon)—Titus Welliver (Bosch), Christine Lakin, and Peter Giles for an outstanding performance!

I also binge-watched the entire Season 2 Lincoln Lawyer and Bosch: Legacy, which I devoured, and all the past Connelly/Bosch series and anxiously awaiting the next!

Looking forward to 2022/2023 “Avalon” from David E. Kelley, which is based on a short story by Michael Connelly. I will read and watch anything by Micheal Connelly!

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: Nov 8, 2022


“Thrilling… 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… 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… [Desert Star] ranks up there with Connelly’s best.”―Publishers Weekly

“Readers will be glad to know that Connelly is still bringing the same intensity and atmosphere to his iconic series.”―Crimereads

“Longtime Bosch followers will be taking deep breaths after this one’s superb finale, especially given its implications for the future.”

– Booklist * Starred Review

At this point, Connelly could be forgiven for phoning it in, but his latest entry in the Bosch canon is as sharp as his first.”

– The Washington Post

About the Author

Michael Connelly is the author of thirty-six previous novels, including the New York Times bestsellers The Dark Hours, The Law of Innocence,Fair Warning, and The Night Fire. His books, which include the Harry Bosch series, the Lincoln Lawyer series, and the Renée Ballard series, have sold more than eighty million copies worldwide. Connelly is a former newspaper reporter who has won numerous awards for his journalism and his novels. He is the executive producer of Bosch, starring Titus Welliver, and the creator and host of the podcasts Murder Book and The Wonderland Murders. He spends his time in California and Florida. WEBSITE



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