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The Brass Verdict - Michael Connelly

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Author: Michael Connelly / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 11 June 2009 / Genre: Crime & Thriller / Publisher: Orion Publishing Co / Title: The Brass Verdict / ISBN 13: 9781409102038 / ISBN 10: 1409102038 / Alternative EAN: 9780752875835

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      26.05.2010 11:03
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      An excellent book full to the brim, & a subtle twist that only readers of previous books will spot!

      I'm quite a big fan of crime writing as a genre, but only when it's GOOD crime writing. I get fed up with people who repeat the same formulaic style over and over again like people such as Tess Geritsen does for example.

      The Brass Verdict is Michael Connelly's 19th fiction book, and I have to own up now that I have all 19 of them from The Black Echo his first, to This 'Brass Verdict' his most recent to come out in paperback. Its ISBN number is 978-1-409-10203-8 and its RRP is £6.99. It can however be bought from Amazon at the moment for just £3.50.

      Michael Connelly's style is very easy to read generally, it flows well and you get a good feeling of who you're dealing with in his books whether it's a stand alone story or one where you're re-meeting someone from an earlier book.

      Many of his books follow a character called Detective Harry Bosch and are written from his perspective - in fact, I'd go as far as to say that the majority of his books are part of the 'Harry Bosch Series'. This one however although it features Harry, isn't written from his perspective, but from the perspective of Mickey Haller who is a defence lawyer. Now if you like me have read other Michael Connelly books, then you'll know Mickey Haller from a previous book called 'The Lincoln Lawyer' which doesn't feature Harry Bosch at all, and which is or rather was until this book was written, one of his stand alone tales.

      This book starts with Mickey's return to the world of the defence lawyer after a time out from the profession. We learn that after being shot he'd become addicted to pain pills, and from this his relationships with his ex wife and daughter are now somewhat strained. He's back now and looking to begin building his practice back up slowly. However, when a colleague - Jerry Vincent - is murdered he finds himself thrown straight into the deep end when he's assigned all of his outstanding legal cases.

      What this means for us as readers, is that we get a little background, and then things really pick up the pace very quickly. There's no meandering through a formulaic stream here, instead we have unanswered questions virtually from the beginning - Who killed Jerry Vincent? Why? Is it related to one of his cases? Why did they steal his brief case? Did Walter Elliot - a high flying movie mogul - commit the crime he's accused of? Can Mickey find out all the information he needs to take this high profile case to trial on time? And finally, is Mickey himself in danger?

      As I mentioned earlier, Detective Harry Bosch features in this story, but not in the normal way. Normally when we meet him, he's a major player in the story and our focus is on him and his investigation, however in this book, although he is the one investigating the murder of Jerry Vincent, he's not the primary character and his isn't the primary story line either. I don't like giving things away from books especially twists, but I will say that his featuring in this book is important, and it's not till right at the very end when everything's been solved that you sort of start to understand why, and it does leave you hoping that Michael Connelly is going to continue that vein of the story somewhere down the line.

      When I first started reading this and realised that Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch were in it, I did wonder if we'd get a clash of personalities as both in previous books have been quite strong characters in their own way. I think however that Michael Connelly has played the clashes and connections between these two really well, so much so that I'm looking forward to his next book where maybe he'll give us more of the background story, and we'll get even more connections and clashes - sorry if that sounds a little vague, but if I say too much I'll give things away, and that would be a shame for anyone reading this who decides to go on and read the book.

      The storyline in this book was quite complex, with a lot of focus on the primary legal case that Mickey takes on. It felt like Michael Connelly had done a lot of background workup here to make sure he'd got his facts straight so that everything flowed properly. I get very frustrated with a book when you find yourself bouncing out of the story because of a glaring error in the technical detail, so for me this is a pretty important thing, to know that the author does his/her research properly. It also had plenty of extra bits to the storyline and little side stories, which, for me, are the things that hold my interest and stop a book being formulaic or dry.

      Despite being filled with all the issues of the murder of a colleague, defending someone who may or may not be a murderer, dealing with past addiction, and having the main character having to watch his back at the same time, this book doesn't drag, and it's not as dark as it could have been. It flows really well, and you're drawn in really easily to the world within the book. (So much so that I actually forgot to do things I was supposed to at least twice while reading it - oops!).

      A really excellent read, and one that I highly recommend to any Crime reader, The book will stand on it's own, and it's perfectly possible to just pick up a copy and read it through, although, if you've never read anything by this author before, I have to say that I'd suggest you start with some of his earlier novels because then you'll understand the twists and turns within the ongoing characters backgrounds so much better than you will without.

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      13.08.2009 12:04
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      An excellent read that I would recommend to fans or newbies to Michael Connelly

      I recently reviewed the first Michael Connelly book I've read. Since that, I was very keen to find another one to satisfy my Connelly fix and came across The Brass Verdict in the library. I can definitely say I agree with the text on the back of his books that read '100% Connelly, 100% addictive".

      On the cover of The Brass Verdict, the caption reads : "When you defend criminals you have to watch your back". As you can guess from this, and as you'd expect from Connelly, this is a crime/detective novel. It's a genre I've only been getting into the past year but Connelly seems to be at the top of the pack where crime writers are concerned.

      You needn't have read any other Connelly novels to get stuck into this book, though knowledge of some of his core characters can only help to reinforce the mental movie.

      The Brass Verdict is written in first person form from the perspective of Mickey Haller. Haller, a US defence lawyer, took time out of the profession after being shot and subsequently becoming addicted to pain pills. We hear of his personal background and relationships with his child and past partners, which builds our personal acquaintance with Haller as he tells us his story.

      Following the murder of lawyer Jerry Vincent, Haller is assigned all of his legal cases. We're therefore thrown straight into a case load of unanswered questions and crimes: firstly, the mysterious shooting of Vincent in his car at the legal centre where he worked, and then all of the cases passed over the Haller.

      Amongst those cases assigned to Haller is the Walter Elliot case, a high profile one that has sparked much media attention. Elliot is a rich, high-flying movie-maker, accused of murdering his wife and her German lover.

      Haller's job is to defend Elliot because that's his job, whether or not he believes in his client's innocence. The prosecutions case seems strong with gun residue tying Elliot to the murder, but Haller comes up with some convincing defence points, and we're left wondering what really happened.

      Meanwhile, detective Bosch investigates the murder of Jerry Vincent. As those of you who are familiar with Connelly will know, Bosch features in his own series, but he's back here as a less pronounced character who comes in to investigate and hopefully save the day.

      Who killed Vincent? Bosch believes the answer lies in one of Jerry's cases and as both Bosch and Haller go further along their investigations on different levels, the answers are revealed. I wont say anymore because I don't want to give the story away too much!

      The characters created in this novel are vivid and strong, each with their own persona and image. There's a lot of characters involved, more than I've mentioned here, and yet Connelly writes in such a way as to carry the reader along with the flow and doesn't lose us along the way. It's easy with some books to forget who's who and who's done what, but Connelly builds the characters so well that they're easy to remember and his prompts help refresh your memory.

      As for the storyline, it's complex and requires concentration. But that's not hard to give to this book because it demands attentions and gets it very easily because it draws you in and compels you to keep reading.

      I really enjoyed the details that arise from the legal cases which Connelly had obviously research thoroughly, from legislation and language, to scientific evidence concerning gun shot residue. All of these details help push this book into the field of distinction, where technicalities are correct and realistic. It also makes it so interesting because you come away having learnt something, which is a nice little bonus. Not that I'm planning on going into the legal field or working with forensics, but it's always good to broaden your horizons.

      As for the title, this will become clear as you read on, with one specific reference to the Brass Verdict later on in the book. It's basically referring to a story of justice, somewhat similar to karma.

      The overall feel to the book is very positive in my opinion. It's well balanced in the sense that it maintains it's complex and detailed appeal, but adds some humour here and there to lighten it up and make it more manageable. It's one of those books that really caught my attention and made me motivated to keep reading.

      Definitely recommended, whether you've read a Connelly novel before or not. It's one to get stuck into and lose yourself in, wrapped around an intriguing storyline and host of characters, perfected by Connelly's no-nonsense writing style.

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