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Home » Books & writing

Book Review + Giveaway: Michael Connelly’s THE REVERSAL

Submitted by on October 1, 2010 – 1:20 am 22 Comments

Mickey Haller for the People.

Say what?

Haller, the renown defense attorney who fiercely stands for the accused, decides to prosecute a convicted murderer in Michael Connelly’s latest, The Reversal (Oct. 5, Little, Brown).

Will Sherlock Holmes become friends with Professor Moriarty next?

The reversal isn’t just Haller’s; the title also refers to a twenty-four-year-old guilty verdict in a murder trial being thrown out. Jason Jessup had been convicted in 1986 of kidnapping and killing a twelve-year-old girl but new DNA evidence reveals the semen found on her dress was not his.

To avoid any semblance of prejudice, the Los Angeles district attorney brings in Haller as an independent prosecutor to retry Jessup. Haller puts together a crack team consisting of his ex-wife, deputy DA Maggie McPherson, as second chair and Harry Bosch as his investigator. But they face an uphill battle as they find that many witnesses from 1986 have died and the most important one, the victim’s sister, has gone off the grid. Meanwhile, Jessup is out on bail and behaving in mysterious ways, making Haller and company fear something ugly is about to go down, something which may involve their own little girls.

This book is like an adventure featuring the Justice League or the Avengers, an all-star lineup of lead players from previous stories. Besides Haller, Bosch and McPherson, FBI Agent Rachel Walling also shows up to profile Jessup. (I kept expecting Jack McEvoy the journalist to make an appearance, too.) While it’s exciting to see them all in one place, they form a team that’s almost too powerful, giving them less to overcome in the courtroom (not that everything goes as planned).

The suspense and obstacles come more from Bosch’s detective work in tracking down former witnesses and shadowing Jessup during his nocturnal activities. Connelly’s meticulous attention to procedural details puts the reader right in Bosch’s shoes. We feel his frustration when he hits road blocks in the cold case and experience his excitement when he makes new discoveries. Connelly also guides us through Los Angeles with a sure hand; his descriptions of Mulholland Drive and the Santa Monica Pier at night are both seductive and sinister.

But the most important thing is Connelly’s ability to convince us that Haller would work for The Man after two decades representing the underdog. It turns out Haller isn’t all about clever lawyerly tactics—his passion for “a true and just verdict” burns as strongly as Bosch’s. He retains a healthy distrust of the DA’s office while getting schooled by his ex in how the prosecution works. His actions aren’t only believable, they make him a better lawyer and give new depth to his character.

Nerd verdict: Bosch and Haller join forces for strong Reversal

The book doesn’t come out until next week but the fantabulous Miriam at Hachette Book Group is allowing me to give away three copies. To enter:

  • be an e-mail subscriber or Twitter follower (tell me which—new subscribers get 1 entry, current followers get 2)
  • leave a comment about something you were sure was true but found out later it wasn’t
  • have U.S./Canada address

Giveaway ends next Friday, October 8, 5 p.m. PST. Winners will be randomly chosen via and announced here and on Twitter. I won’t be notifying via e-mail so please check back to see if you’ve won. Winners will have 48 hours to claim the prize before alternate names are chosen.

Let’s hear about your reversals!



  • LolosLetters says:

    Being of unsound mind, I am both a twitter follower and an email subscriber.

    I was sure I would grow up to be a writer. Lesson in ‘be careful what you ask for and be very specific,” I thought I would be writing mysteries, not legal mumbo jumbo.

    I have a CA address.

  • Erin says:

    Twitter follower here…

    I was in a nasty car accident when I was 3. I was quite certain that following the accident, I was transported to the hospital in a helicopter. Had very specific memories of it! Turns out, it was an ambulance…which my dad finally told me when I was in my 20s.

    US address, check!

  • Jann says:

    Oh, I’m a faithful email subscriber…

    I was in a car accident in L.A. as a child and for years thought that we only witnessed the accident. As an adult, I talked to my mom about it and wondered why the fireman/parametic was asking how I was; found out that we has hit a girl who ran out from between parked cars. Sort of like viewing it from another place. Everyone was okay…

    US address, confirmed.

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      Phew, glad everyone’s okay. Your and Erin’s stories are interesting in how the car accidents gave you false memories. If I were a neurologist-in-training, I’d investigate further.

  • Eddy says:

    Funny that you would bring up this topic. I was just telling a friend of mine at work about something that I have believed for years that might or might not be true.

    This involves bees and wasps. Around here, in addition to honey bees, we have those big bumble bees. Some have a white face and some have a black face. I was told as a kid (by some other kid) that you didn’t have to worry about the white-faced ones, they didn’t sting. The same was true about dirt daubers (what you may call mud wasps). These wasps are black (or a deep indigo blue) and build their nests with red clay mud as opposed the more aggressive red wasps that build paper nests.

    One day it dawned on me that my beliefs were based on what some third grader told me umpteen years ago. Now, I have no desire to test the theory of which flying insects sting and which don’t, but logic tells me that in all probability, white-faced bees and dirt daubers can and will sting me if I give them the chance.

  • Kathy P says:

    I subscribe on GFC and by email.

    Families are full of secrets…amazing what you figure out when you start working on your family’s genealogy…and interesting who doesn’t want to talk!

    Canadian address

  • Paulette says:

    email subscriber…

    I knew that my mother’s father had died when she was eleven years old. Following an industrial accident where my father was seriously injured, I decided not to celebrate my 11th birthday and remained ten for another year. I figured if I were only ten years old, he would not die. He recovered completely and eventually regained his ability to walk. A few years later, I discovered that my mom’s dad had really died when she was ten! Nonetheless, I was convinced that my year-long lie had saved my father’s life. Now, in the too-stupid-to-live category, I had heard, and truly believed, that if a billion people were to jump from a height of three feet simultaneously, the earth would be knocked out of its orbit. I now worship at the altar of

  • Carol M says:

    My dad told me that if I put salt on a bird’s tail I could catch it!! lol

  • Carol M says:

    I’m an old email subscriber.

  • suzquiz says:

    current email subscriber

    I was sure I had had a dream about getting up in the middle of the night & eating 1/2 a pan of fudge.
    However after rounding up & grilling the usual suspects, it turns out it was not a dream after all !!!
    My kids will never let me live it down

  • Emily B says:

    Twitter follower 🙂

    When I was little, we were driving down the 401 and passed a Toyota plant. My dad pulled in, and to my delight, inside the factory was a little toy shop with electric train sets and loads of other fabulous toys.

    Every time we drove down the highway after that, I begged to go to the Toyota plant. My parents thought I was nuts about cars until I reminded them about the toy shop in there.

    To my deep dismay, they insisted it had been a dream.

    I still can vividly recall the shop (30 odd years later)… I’m not entirely convinced it’s not true, though it does seem rather unlikely.

  • Travis says:

    I told an ex of mine that when I was a kid triceratops was my favorite dinosaur because it defended other plant eaters from T-Rex and other meat eating ilk. She went on to law school and told her friends that as a matter of fact.

    So that wasn’t me being fooled. My story happened when I was a preschooler and scared of flying insects. My father told me not to worry, they are just looking for honey. Armed with that knowledge flying insects didn’t bother me until the day I was hanging on a clothesline pole that also housed a hornet’s nest. The hornet buzzed around me and I didn’t care, even when it landed on my forehead. It stung me stung between the eyes. It didn’t want honey.

    My name is Travis and I’m a subscriber.

  • suzquiz says:

    current email subscriber

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