Monday, November 01, 2010

BOOKS: The Reversal by Michael Connelly

Lee Goldberg is running a promotion over on his site for The Walk. He's offering free copies to anybody who will accept a free copy of the eVersion of his program and then write a review on their blog or on Amazon. (Limit: 100 freebies) I'm not taking him up on his offer since my November reading list is full. But he DID prompt me into doing another Review Month. Besides, I need this mental work to off-set the absolute joy I'm deriving from The Project From Hell, sarcasm very much intended.

The Reversal by Michael Connelly
is both the 16th book in the Harry Bosch series and the third book in the Mickey Haller series. It's also a crackerjack mystery/legal thriller. I've really enjoyed the Mickey Haller series, which debuted to rave reviews in The Lincoln Lawyer. The follow-up volume, The Brass Verdict, was a step down, down to merely enjoyable. But the third book is of a quality seen in the first one. In other words, five out of five stars.

Haller once again gets co-opted into a case, but by the prosecution this time. A hot potato case that smacked of official malfeasance the first time around is going to be re-tried. The DA has DNA evidence that makes this case look like a loser, especially politically. An outside prosecutor is needed to try the course and take the political fall when it loses. So, Haller's tapped to be the fall guy. Naturally, since this is the universe Haller and Bosch live in, Haller demands good ol' Harry accompany him through this process. Oh, and he wants his ex-wife Maggie to second chair. And naturally, his OTHER ex-wife, Lorna, is his office manager. Oh what a world Connelly weaves.

The case features one Jason Jessup, a creep amongst creeps. A child-killer who has won a new trial thanks to DNA evidence not examined two decades ago, now pointing to a deceased step-father, rather than at him. The rest of the evidence at the time consisted of the eye-witness testimony of the kid's sister, then tween-aged. The new trial is going to be short. Many of the witnesses of the original trial are deceased, the step-father by his own hand. The eyewitness, Regina Landy, had grown up troubled (duh!!!) and having finally kicked all kinds of bad habits, found herself at the ends of the continental U.S., living the quiet life of a glass-blower.

So, we have a trial. Evidence glossed over and/or just plain missed has to be unearthed in order to return Jessup back to his prison cell. Jessup, plays the part of an innocent man wrongfully convicted and now out and about as a mini-celebrity, planning to cash in big on that horrible happenstance. His big name defence team, lead by Clever Clive Royce, is using the probable quick verdict as a PR loss leader, hoping to then cash in as well in the civil suit. Royce is the kind of smooth operator TV loves and prosecutors hate because he'll do just about anything to win. Anything.

That's the basic setup. Decently original and all kinds of chances to go wrong. But Connelly deftly weaves between the Haller and Bosch points of view. There are no outlandish leaps of logic, no deus ex machina moments that make you want to slap your head. You DO want to reach out and slap Jessup, the slimeball that he is. You don't have to, of course. Haller wins the day, if not the verdict he was looking for. Some semi-innocent bystanders suffer the ultimate loss and politics rears its ugly head to deny a complete victory for the Haller/Maggie/Bosch team. Real life, I guess.

But it's a great ride, even if it isn't in a Lincoln (Haller actually takes an office at HQ). Can't wait for the fourth book ... or 17th ... or whatever. More Haller please.

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