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 Random.org 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!