Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Brass Verdict - by Michael Connelly

In this legal thriller, Michael Connelly brings back Mickey Haller. Since we left him, in "The Lincoln Lawyer," Mickey has struggled. Confronted with addition, he has critically damaged and jeopordized the relationships with and respect of his daughter and her mother (his ex-wife) that he so values. In this book, we find him putting his life back together.

The story begins with some background about a long-ago case where Mickey, as a young public defender, crosses paths with a rising prosecutor named Jerry Vincent. His loss to Mickey on this case forces Vincent into private practice, something Jerry thanks Haller for. Fast forward a number of years and Jerry Vincent is murdered. It turns out, however, that his contracts contain clauses naming Haller as the person with first shot to take over his cases, should he be unable to represent them himself. Suddenly, Mickey's recovery, going well and including plans to ease back into litigation, is greatly accelerated. Among his "inheritance" from Vincent is is a high profile murder case involving a prominent Hollywood producer, Walter Elliot, who is accused of killing his much younger wife and her lover. The client wants to go to trial on schedule, so Mickey must scramble to keep this case.

Harry Bosch, the lead in many of Connelly's novels, is the detective assigned to the Vincent murder. Harry, the cop, and Mickey, the defense attorney, are somewhat strange allies, but Mickey agrees to be used as bait to draw out the killer. If you are familiar with some of Connelly's other stories, you may already know that Haller and Bosch have a family link. In this novel, more information about that is revealed.

I really like Mickey Haller. He is bright, intelligent, and an excellent lawyer. On the other hand, he has his demons, weaknesses, and flaws. His relationships are somewhat non-traditional. His case manager is an ex-wife and his lead investigator is dating her. The mother of his daughter, Maggie, another ex-wife, is a prosecutor. He genuinely cares for all of them. He adores his daughter, Hayley. In this book, he tries to help out Patrick, a new client he also inherits from Jerry Vincent. He sometimes struggles with the ethics of being a defense attorney, but with good reason. He tries to do the right thing. I really enjoyed seeing this story through his eyes.

Connelly's use of twists and turns in this book, in my opinion, was near perfect. There were enough surprises to keep me engaged and interested, but they were not forced. Many of the events were unexpected, but after reading them, they made sense and fit. All in all, I thought that this was a very good read and I highly recommend it.

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