Sunday, November 22, 2009

Reconnecting with Connelly

After my vow a few months back to read every novel ever written by Michael Connelly in chronological order, I did really well. I got within the last three novels (last two, actually, because I'm not sure the last one has been published yet). Then I stopped. One reason is that I couldn't find the newest novels at the used bookstores I frequent. They were also always checked out at the library. I could have put them on hold, but I didn't. I'm going to say now that it was a subconscious way of not letting his books end. There's nothing I hate more than loving an author, having read all of their books, and having to wait until they write something new to read them again. So for whatever reason, I put off reading the last few from Connelly's list. I was not disappointed.

In fact, I think that The Brass Verdict was much better than the first Mickey Haller novel, The Lincoln Lawyer. In this novel, Haller still has his demons (pill addiction being a recent one), but he has matured since the previous story. He makes better choices and prioritizes the important things in life (his daughter, his own health). He's still chasing after his ex-wife (and the mother of his daughter), and he's still defending hardened criminals. But he also sees the good in people and the bad in people. He treats them accordingly, which equals out to him doing the right thing most of the time.

Both Harry Bosch and Jack McEvoy, characters from previous Connelly novels, make appearances in The Brass Verdict. Haller, out of the game for a while during his rehab stint, is thrown back into the courtroom with full force when a lawyer friend is murdered and he is ordered by a judge to take over the dead man's cases. Haller begins his defense for these clients, most particularly a movie mogul who is accused of killing his wife and her lover in their Malibu home. As Haller works to defend his new clients, he also is working with Bosch to solve his friend's murder. McEvoy appears only briefly as a newspaper reporter trying to get an inside scoop on the murder trial. Bosch plays a more prominent role as he and Haller discover some personal connections as they work the case.

The Brass Verdict was an excellent Connelly novel for me to dive back into. Now I only have The Scarecrow (Jack McEvoy & Rachel Walling) and 9 Dragons (Harry Bosch with Mickey Haller) left to go. I also picked up a copy of Connelly's nonfiction piece, Crime Beat, at The Book Cellar in Crossville, Tennessee, last week when I was in there for work. It includes journalism pieces from Connelly's years as a reporter in Los Angeles working the police beat -- a job which led to him writing the novels he's known for now.

Compilation photo courtesy of

Another fun fact: Matthew McConaughey is slated to play Mickey Haller in an upcoming film based on The Lincoln Lawyer, directed by Tommy Lee Jones.

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