Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Reversal Stands Strong in the Michael Connelly Collection

Getting Michael Connelly's newest novel The Reversal in one of those publisher-sent envelopes about a month before its October 6th release date was probably one of the coolest things that's happened to me since I started writing about books on the internet. I really started writing about reading and the books I loved (or hated) because I love to read. ARCs were not in my vocabulary at that time; it never occurred to me that someone would ever send me a FREE copy of a book I was looking forward to reading anyway. However, if you follow several book blogs you learn quickly about the awesome relationship that exists between book bloggers, authors, & the publishing community. I can only say that it is an amazing thing that every once in a while will knock your socks off -- in my case, that happened when I opened The Reversal.

This newest Connelly novel once again joins hard-boiled LAPD detective Harry Bosch with his half-brother Mickey Haller. Although I love Harry, the pairing between him and Mickey always makes for the best novels that Connelly writes. Previously, the two shared written space in The Brass Verdict (and I'm pretty sure both appear briefly in the Jack McEvoy novel The Scarecrow).

In The Reversal defense lawyer Mickey jumps to the other side of the courtroom by accepting a job proposal from the district attorney's office. The DA asks him to join their team as a special contract to try one case -- that of a man who was previously tried, but who won an appeal and will be released if the state doesn't prove their case once again. Mickey agrees with two conditions: he gets to pick both his head investigator and his co-counsel. Harry wins the investigator position, and Mickey's ex-wife -- already a lawyer with the DA's office -- becomes his co-counsel.

Connelly gives fair playing time to both fictional heroes; although billed as a Mickey Haller novel, Harry is very much central to the novel's action, as well. And a funny thing happens during the novel's pages -- we see sides of both Mickey and Harry that we have only glimpsed before. While both are still tough, there is a layer inside each man that shines a bit stronger in this novel. This occurs through each  man's daughter. Harry, now caring for his daughter full-time, and Mickey, now fully sharing custody with his ex-wife, seem to see the world in a slightly different way as they share space with these girls. Rather than a "me-against-the-world" attitude, each man now seems to have a "me-against-the-world-for-you" outlook.

Connelly once again knocks it out of the park with The Reversal. He seems to be leaning slightly towards more Haller novels rather than strictly focusing in Harry as he has for so long. In my opinion, it's a good choice. Harry is an excellent, well-drawn character, but difficult to relate to (and sometimes difficult to like) in long stretches. Mickey seems to make him more human when the two are juxtaposed against one another.

Connelly is special to me for many reasons; I read all of his books between last year and this year, simply because I wanted to read them all in order. I officially decided to make A Worn Path a book blog during my Connelly reading spree, so I've written about almost all of his books during the past year. And I met him this past February at an excellent book event sponsored by a Nashville school. He's definitely a favorite, and one that I snatch up new releases from as soon as they're available.

Connelly will release another new Mickey Haller novel, The Fifth Witness, in April 2011 (and I will read it very soon after that!).

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