Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018
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Michael Connelly's latest is one of the year's best novels


The Reversal brings together Connelly's long-standing series hero LAPD detective Harry Bosch and attorney Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer), two half-brothers whose relationship has been, at best, civil. The Reversal, a searing novel that is easily one of the year's best, works well as a legal thriller, a police procedural, and an intimate tale about the vagaries of family.

New DNA evidence exonerates convicted murderer Jason Jessup. But the L.A. district attorney is still convinced that more than 24 years ago Jessup murdered a 12-year-old girl, snatched from her front yard, the victim of “the wrenching serendipity of fate.” A new trial would bring political fallout, especially if the controversial case finds Jessup innocent.

Enter Mickey, whose distrust of prosecutors and police is legendary. “They all hate the defense attorney until they need the defense attorney,” Mickey muses. Mickey agrees to be an “independent prosecutor,” knowing the high-profile case brings publicity and would curry him favor around the courthouse. But the prosecutor and Mickey have different definitions of “independent.”

The prosecutor wants Mickey to work out of the prosecutor's office and keep him informed about every detail. Instead, Mickey uses his own office with Bosch as an investigator and hires one of his ex-wives as his second chair. Details, Mickey will share only with his team. Mickey and Bosch believe the defendant is guilty. Bosch believes that Jessup has more secrets and that his years in prison have amped up his taste for violence.

Working as a prosecutor doesn't come easy for Mickey, who has “the bad feeling that I had crossed some sort of line within myself.” The case is a minefield of legalities. Mickey can't mention in court that Jessup was convicted of the case. Bosch works on tracking down evidence and witnesses, some of whom have died, others who have disappeared during the past 24 years.

Connelly balances the courtroom scenes with Bosch's fieldwork as a detective, making each an exciting component while delving into ethics of both professions. Connelly also gracefully weaves in the personal lives of Mickey and Bosch. Both are fathers so the case cuts close to their hearts, knowing how the death of this child was “the shearing of life” for her family. But Bosch also is learning how to be a father because he has only recently taken custody of his 14-year-old daughter, as well as learning how to be part of an extended family. Neither will come easy.

Connelly has been writing about Bosch since his 1992 Edgar-winning The Black Echo, yet he still finds new depths to his constantly evolving character. With Mickey now in the mix, Connelly continues to show why he is one of the best — and most consistent — living crime writers.

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