Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review: The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly (Mickey Haller #2, Harry Bosch #14)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters in a complex, twisty plot
Cons: None when considering the genre
The Bottom Line:
Mickey has big case
While deal with friend's murder
Superb legal plot

The Lincoln Lawyer Rides Again

When I read the first Mickey Haller novel before the movie came out, I really did intend to read more.  Yet someone, the books slipped down my to be read pile until a friend started reading and raving about them.  That bumped The Brass Verdict back up my list, and a recent trip home allowed me a chance to listen to the audio version.

Mickey Haller has taken a year off from practicing law for personal reasons, and he's just about to come back when he gets an unusual phone call.  His friend and colleague Jerry Vincent has been murdered, and Mickey has inherited his practice.

While the police, lead by LA detective Harry Bosch, think that one of Vincent's cases might have gotten him killed, Mickey's focus is on picking up the 31 cases that have fallen into his lap, including this year's "Trial of the Century."  Walter Elliot, chairman of Archway Studios, is accused of killing his wife and her lover.  Mickey is happy with the high profile case and the income, but he's surprised by just how much Elliot wants to run the case, right down to not delaying the trial at all.  Can he will the case?  Is he in danger from Vincent's killer?

Despite the several years off between books for me, I had no problem jumping back into Mickey's world.  Everyone is introduced again, and I was back up to speed very quickly.  I loved the characters.  Mickey is a great lead character, but he's surrounding by a supporting cast that are just as charming.  It's easy to root for all of them to succeed.

In an interesting twist, author Michael Connelly includes Harry Bosch, the star of his other series, in this book as a supporting player.  Honestly, I'm not quite sure why he decided to do that, but it works.  This was my introduction to the character, and I must admit he didn't come across that well.  I'll be curious to read books where he's the main character to see if my impression of him changes.  Part of it is because he spends so much of the book as an antagonist to Mickey, which probably doesn't help my impression of Harry here.

The plot?  The murder mystery and the court case twist and intertwine in unique and entertaining ways.  I was never quite sure what I thought would happen next or even when I wanted to happen next.  I did find some of the court scenes a little slow, but I know that's a matter of taste.  Besides, complaining about court room scenes in a legal thriller is like complaining that an amateur solves the mysteries in a cozy.

The audio version I listened to was narrated by Peter Giles, who did a great job.  I got lost in the story, and the miles flew by, exactly what I wanted for the long car trip I was facing.

So yes, I am thrilled I revisited Mickey Haller.  I'm curious what happens to him next, so you can bet I'll get the sequel to The Brass Verdict very soon.

More courtroom drama can be found in the rest of the Mickey Haller series.  You'll also want to read the Harry Bosch mysteries.

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