Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Reversal

The Reversal (Harry Bosch, #16; Mickey Haller, #3)The Reversal by Michael Connelly
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Defense attorney Mickey Haller volunteers to act as Special Prosecuter against a man who claims to have been falsely imprisoned for the murder of a young girl - a man Haller and Bosch believe will kill again.

This story blends Connelly's two popular series, the Harry Bosch (#16) and Mickey Haller (#3) stories. The Haller sections are told in the first person, the Bosch sections in third, and it is fun to see the half-brothers working on the same team for once.

While Bosch investigates the twenty-four-year-old murder, Haller and his ex-wife, prosecutor Maggie McPherson, start putting together their case. Haller is uneasy about representing the side of might for once, but he believes the bad guy is bad and will do more evil if he is released. There is considerable doubt that even the dream team of Mickey, Maggie, and Harry will be able to keep him in prison.

Both of the half-brothers are facing the challenges of fatherhood, which adds a charge to their efforts to keep a child-killer in prison. The procedural details are all there for those interested in the criminal justice system, the details of L.A. setting carefully outlined (a key setting is Mulholland Drive).

It's not the best of the Bosch stories: the purely functional prose often comes across as slack instead of muscular and Hemingway-esque. There is no neat resolution, which may leave some mystery/thriller readers uncomfortable. For me, Connelly's stories are the equivalent of watching an action movie on cable just to pass the time. Enjoyable and undemanding - also entirely forgettable, which may be perfect for your next plane or road trip.

Defending the Damned by Kevin Davis is a nonfiction account Connelly drew on for his characterization of the gray-tinged world of defense attorneys. For those who love legal thrillers, there is of course the juggernaut John Grisham to explore, and for action-packed, somewhat bleak detective stories, dip a toe into Ian Rankin or Lee Child.

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