Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Reversal, by Michael Connelly (hardcover, $27.99) (release date-10/5/10)

Michael Connelly is a GREAT storyteller. Before you know it, you are turning page after page and are totally immersed in his tale. As with Nine Dragons and The Scarecrow, there are some moments in which a reader just had to suspend belief. At the same time I was saying, "Wow," I was also saying, "Say what?" That said, I really enjoyed this book.

Mickey Haller is the "Lincoln Lawyer." Instead of from an unnecessarily swanky office, he usually practices criminal defense from his car. His manager is one of his ex-wives. He has a young daughter with another ex-wife, and he tries desperately to balance the demands in his life. He is a quirky, brash, amusing character. His half-brother is Harry Bosch: sober, dark, intense. The mother of his daughter is one of the bright lights in the D.A.'s office, although at the moment she is exiled to a lesser satellite office. The last thing on Mickey's mind is becoming the enemy. But that is exactly what happens.

Inexplicably, although Connelly tries his best to rationalize it, Haller is talked into becoming a special prosecutor for a hot-topic case. A man who was accused of kidnapping and murdering a young girl has spent the last 24 years in prison. Using new DNA techniques, evidence is uncovered which requires that the case be remanded for trial. For some contrived reason, no current D.A. can prosecute this case. It would look sooooo much better if the accused were convicted by an attorney who normally bats for the defense. Ooookaaaaay.

It doesn't matter how contrived this sounds, it barely registers on the "nah" graph, because the story is everything. Mickey drafts Harry into being his investigator. He also gets his ex-wife, mother of his daughter and stalwart prosecutor, to be his second chair. Pretty cozy, eh? Once again, barely registers on the "oh-come-on" graph. Connelly races the story along: dredging up old witnesses, surveillance -- Did I mention that the accused is released on his own recognizance after 24 years in jail? Barely registers on the "you've-got-to-be-kidding" graph -- of the accused, and rethinking police procedures from all those years ago. Did I mention almost every important witness is dead? Hardly a hiccup on the "give-me-a-break" graph.

The courtroom proceedings are fascinating. Mickey has a few tricks up his sleeve. Ex-wife/prosecutor Maggie does an excellent job with empathy and courtroom panache. Harry trundles witness after witness up to the stand so Mickey can ask the penetrating questions everyone else forgot to ask years ago. I couldn't wait to find out what happened.

The ending was a little loopy, but I want more Mickey stories anyway.

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