Monday, June 9, 2014

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly: A review

The Brass Verdict (Mickey Haller, #2; Harry Bosch, #14)The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mickey Haller, criminal defense attorney, has been out of action for a year. At first, he was recovering from being shot in the abdomen by an angry mother at the end of The Lincoln Lawyer. Criminal law, as practiced by Haller, turns out to be a hazardous profession.

Following his recovery from surgery, Haller became addicted to pain killers and had to spend time in rehab to get that monkey off his back. He's just about ready to ease himself back into his profession, one case at a time, when his fellow defense lawyer, Jerry Vincent, is murdered.

Vincent and Haller had a legal agreement that in case of the death or disability of either the other lawyer would take over his caseload. Instead of easing back into being a lawyer, Haller has suddenly inherited 31 cases and one of them is his biggest case yet - the defense of Walter Elliott, a prominent motion picture studio executive accused of murdering his wife and her alleged lover.

Soon, Haller is back in his Lincoln, chasing down his new clients and trying to either firm up a relationship with them or cut them loose to find other legal representation. He is really hoping that he will be able to secure Elliott as a client because that case could really launch him into the big time.

He meets with Elliott and gains his approval to proceed with the case. The fly in the ointment is that the trial is to start in a week and Elliott refuses to allow Haller to request a continuance.

Poring over Vincent's records on the Elliott case, Haller believes he has found the "magic bullet," the thing that will implant reasonable doubt in the jury's mind, and he prepares to go to trial.

But there's that other investigation going on - the one in regard to finding Jerry Vincent's killer. Heading that investigation is a name familiar to Michael Connelly's readers. Yes, it's our old friend Harry Bosch.

It appears that the motive for Vincent's murder may have had something to do with the Elliott case. If that is true, then Mickey Haller may now be in the sights of that killer. Bosch is not necessarily averse to using Haller as bait to draw out the killer. And Haller agrees to cooperate with him within the ethical limits of his profession to try to bring that killer to justice.

Although the two have never met, from the first, there seems to be something of a bond between Haller and Bosch. They are both loners and they seem to have much in common. Near the end of the book, we find out just how much.

Once again, as in The Lincoln Lawyer, I found the courtroom scenes and Connelly's explanations of the workings of the court to be compelling. Also, the complicated relationship between a criminal defense attorney and the accused criminal made for fascinating reading. As a reader, I went back and forth between finding Vincent innocent or guilty until the denouement came and all was revealed. Not knowing the answer to the question of guilt or innocence kept my interest up.

That said, I did not find this as much of a page-turner as The Lincoln Lawyer. Overall, the story seemed a bit flat. Perhaps it was the well-known sophomore slump. Still, I enjoyed the read and the ride and I'll be looking forward to climbing into that Lincoln once again.    



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