Michael Connelly on The Dark Hours
The idea behind the Bosch and Ballard relationship is to have one outsider and one insider working together, bouncing each’s unique skills and world view off of each other – sometimes to good results,
I write fiction but I write in real world terms. As the days and years go by in real life, so too with my characters. In other words, they age in real time. They evolve as the world does. This is all well and good but then I got very, very lucky. Harry Bosch stuck around. The character stayed with me and seemed to stay with the readers as well. I wanted to write more, explore more about him and the feeling was that readers would come along for the ride. The only remote issue with that is that I started him off in 1992 at age forty-two and I have been stuck with that ever since. Harry ages and as he has aged it became increasingly clear that I was bending the reality – the verisimilitude – that I cherished. So, to steer back onto course, I at first had him retire and work private investigations and volunteer work for a small police department. That was all good. But the character persisted in my creative mind. I was not through with him. I still had to do something to lengthen my time with him.
Enter Renée Ballard. Much younger, thankfully, but with the same sense of mission as Harry Bosch. I introduced her in her own book, The Late Show, knowing full well that she was the one Bosch would
eventually pass the baton to. After that introduction came the meeting of the minds in Dark Sacred Night and the continuation in The Night Fire. They worked together – realistically, I hope – on cases and fed off
each other’s differences at the same time their shared mission in life kept them together. To me, these two books are about the passing of that baton. And in The Dark Hours we see Ballard move to the front. It is clearly her book. Bosch is there, of course, but he is a step back now. He, in a way, is support staff. He is the professor realizing his student knows the lesson. The parent pushing the baby out of the nest. All of
these things came to mind as I wrote this latest novel. Ballard still needs Bosch. Not to be the teacher but to be the one who understands their joint mission and to be there when the ‘darkness follows her’. And Bosch needs Ballard to stay relevant to himself and to help him complete the mission.
– Michael Connelly