Saturday, January 10, 2009

Another top ten mystery for 2008 "The Brass Verdict"

In Michael Connelly's "The Brass Verdict," Mickey Haller is back in action.

Haller was last seen in the wonderful "The Lincoln Lawyer." As the action enfolds in "The Brass Verdict," Haller is recovering from a gunshot to the stomach and the complications to the pain medicine. He is a criminal defense lawyer and is summoned to the office of Judge Mary Townes Holder. He learns that his old courthouse competitor and friend Jerry Vincent has been murdered and his computer and laptop are missing. Jerry had named Haller in his legal documents as his successor in all legal matters, in event of his death.

The Judge knows that Haller hasn't practiced in over a year and asks if he is physically and mentally prepared to go back to work and take on Vincent's case load.
When Haller accepts, the Judge gives him the cases but requires a weekly update on his progress.

The biggest and most lucrative case is that of Walter Elliot. A movie studio owner who is a braggart and dislikable character. Elliot is accused of murdering his wife and her lover.

Haller must put together an administrative and investigatory staff immediately, review and case notes and find a way to defend this client.

Along the way Haller also takes on the case of a down and out surfer, who is a puppy like character who becomes Haller's driver in order to pay his legal fee.

Connelly has been correctly described as the best mystery writer around. The court scenes are believable and cleverly depicted. In is fun for the reader to be reacquainted with Harry Bosch who had a main role in previous Connelly novels. Bosch is in charge of Vincent's murder investigation and believes that the killer will now go after Haller because of what he knows and what he may discover.

The characters are well drawn and Haller is a likable hero. Having his young daughter witness her father's achievements in court adds a warmth to the plot.

Highly recommended.

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