I Can Read: The Brass Verdict

Michael Connelly, the crime writer (factual) turned crime writer (fictional), has emerged blinking from his workshop to offer fans of the long-running Detective Harry Bosch Mystery Thriller series a spanking new Detective Harry Bosch Mystery Thriller, but this time with saturnine LAPD Detective Harry Bosch relegated to Guest Star status while Harry’s half-brother, sardonic criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller, commands center stage.

brassverdHaller, you may recall, had the starring rôle —  the title rôle! — in Connelly’s 2005 adventure mystery, The Lincoln Lawyer. He gets a mention in passing in another Bosch book, Echo Park (2006), and also in the non-Bosch Book, Blood Work (1998) — but his debut happened way, way back in 1993 when saturnine Harry Bosch was but two novels old: In The Black Ice, our gloomy detective meets the Father-He-Never-Knew for the first and last time — the old man, Mickey Haller, Sr., is gasping on his deathbed — and Dad lets Harry know about his sardonic half-brother, Mickey Haller, Jr.

The Brass Verdict, like most of Connelly’s crime novels, is set in a Los Angeles so meticulously depicted the obsessive reader can follow the action on an L.A. road map, or dine, if he gets peckish, at the various eateries patronized by saturnine Bosch and sardonic Haller. Some of the gunplay takes place just down Mulholland Highway, in Malibu Creek State Park, near where I live, but before we moved here, so I heard nothing.

The ball gets rolling in this new novel when sardonic Mickey Jr. inherits the caseload of a colleague of his — another defense lawyer but not sardonic — after the fellow is shot dead in the parking lot of his office building. Who killed the lawyer? Why was the lawyer killed? Do you suppose the attornicide relates to one of Mickey Jr.’s inherited cases? Is… is… is Mickey Jr. now in danger himself? Well, yeah. Sure. I mean, of course. Why even ask?

As to the Who and Why: Eventually sardonic Mickey Jr. noodles all that out with the help of saturnine Det. Bosch, but only after the killer has tried and tried, yet all in vain, to boot him over the side of Mulholland Drive into a Hollywood hot tub hundreds of feet below. If he had asked me I could have ID’d the culprit many pages sooner, but Mickey Jr. rigorously observed the convention of the “fourth wall” and pretended to be unaware of my presence. I admire his discipline, but it almost cost him his life.

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly
(Little Brown and Company, Hardcover, 422pp.)

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