Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Harry Bosch Meets Mickey Haller in This Great Novel from Michael Connelly

The Brass Verdict is, I think, one of Michael Connelly's best books, and it reinforces the notion that in this genre, virtually nobody does it better. It's Connelly's eighteenth book and is significant because it is the first to feature both his long-time L.A. homicide detective, Harry Bosch, and the defense lawyer, Mickey Haller. It's principally Haller's book, but Bosch plays a prominent role.

As the book opens, Haller is just returning to work after a prolonged absence. At the close of the last book in which he appeared, The Lincoln Lawyer, Haller was wounded. He then wound up addicted to drugs following his surgery and has been through rehab, and is now making a comeback. He intends to do so slowly, but then another attorney, Jerry Vincent, is murdered in the parking garage of his office building. Vincent and Haller were friends of a sort and occasionally pinch-hit for each other. Vincent had named Haller as his legal successor, and on the morning of Vincent's murder, a judge calls Haller to inform him that he now has in excess of thirty new cases, including a couple that demand immediate appearances in court.

Among the cases that Haller inherits is an especially high profile murder case. A major Hollywood executive has been accused of killing his wife and her lover. The evidence against him seems fairly strong, and the trial is due to start the following week. Most of Vincent's case notes have disappeared, along with his computer, and Mickey has no idea how Vincent planned to structure the executive's defense.

Logically, Haller wants to file a motion to delay the trial so that he can get up to speed and plan a defense. But his client seems totally unconcerned about all of this and insists that there be no delay. He is innocent, he says, and wants his good name restored ASAP. If Haller can't be ready to go, he will get someone who can. Given no choice in the matter, Haller plunges in, determined to do the best he can.

Meanwhile, Harry Bosch is investigating the murder of Jerry Vincent, which brings Bosch and Mickey Haller into contact and conflict. Bosch suspects that there might be information in Vincent's files suggesting who might have a motive to kill him, but Haller insists on protecting the confidentiality of the clients he has just inherited. Bosch suggest that by doing so, Haller might make himself a target, and thus the dance is on.

Watching these two work their respective parts of the criminal system is great fun. The case is an intriguing one and gives Connelly an opportunity to further develop the Haller character. The legal maneuverings are interesting and it's always entertaining to watch Harry Bosch investigate a murder. I found the combination irresistible and when I first read it, it immediately became one of my favorites of all of Connelly's books. It's hard to imagine that there's any fan of crime fiction that would not enjoy it.

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