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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 31 January 2009
Michael Connelly has created some of the most engaging characters in detective/legal fiction and his Bosch series has consistently been well above the general mass of the genre. He has also written several one-off novels, and the last of these, The Lincoln Lawyer" featured Mickey Haller, a defence lawyer with some very "interesting" approaches to his role in the legal system.

Well, Mickey is back, as I hoped he would be, because he had the promise that his character would stand the kind of development that was given to Harry Bosch. Connelly doesn't disappoint, as we learn more and more about Haller, how he came to be a lawyer and what drives him. I have a feeling this points the way towards another long running series, and the addition of Bosch provides some fascinating possibilities.

I can't really say too much about the storyline, because I don't want to give anything away for those that haven't read it - the only thing to keep in mind is the basic premise of the tale - everybody lies. Suffice to say that this well up to Connelly's high standards. There are the usual twists, turns and misdirections, with nothing quite as it seems until the final curtain, and that shocking ending. Once you have started it, I doubt you will want to put it down until it's finished.

As to whether you can enjoy this if you haven't read the previous books, difficult to say because I have - so try to read at least "The Lincoln Lawyer" and "The Last Coyote" first so you can enjoy this to the full - you won't regret it
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VINE VOICEon 1 November 2011
As ever Michael Connelly pulls out a tremendous page turner of a story. The novel rattles along and as ever there are a couple of twists and turns. But what struck me most about this latest story is the way in which a sense of melancholia underpins the narrative. This is not a spoiler alert. The ending is rather downbeat but this is consistent with the way in which Harry Bosch reflects on his role as a detective and a father. This is a man trying to come to terms with his own mortality (finding time to be a better father) and the extent to which he can still reconcile his own values, his personal integrity, with the values of the LAPD. As I closed the book it struck me that this could very well be the final HB novel - and there's even a hint that the baton may be passed onto the next generation in the very near future. Maybe I'm wrong but ultimately there's only so much mileage in any character. I hope I'm wrong but if not so be it.

April 2012 I'm pleased to read that I was wrong and a new HB novel, The Black Box, is due out later this year
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on 31 October 2011
Detective Bosch is back and investigates two crimes in Connelly's latest novel : the first involves a cold case sexual crime and the second the recent apparent suicide of an influential politician's son.

This is a great novel with strong investigative elements and just the right amount of often unsavoury politics at many levels.

One of the beauties of this Connelly novel is the absence of nonsense - there are no Batmobiles and Bosch is not Superman. The story is well-written and well-constructed, with plausible scenarios throughout as Bosch identifies clue after clue in each case. Connelly does exceptionally well in keeping us interested and guessing.

I really do like Bosch as a character but, at some point, he is going to have to spend a little more time with his daughter and in developing relationships!

I am not sure the ending is how I would have liked it, but that's about the only "blemish" I could find, and blemish is probably too strong a word. Happily too, no Kindle typo or formatting problems here.

In short, another great Connelly/Bosch novel. 9/10
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VINE VOICEon 4 July 2009
Michael Connelly has created some of the most engaging characters in detective/legal fiction and his Bosch series has consistently been well above the general mass of the genre. He has also written several one-off novels, and the last of these, The Lincoln Lawyer" featured Mickey Haller, a defence lawyer with some very "interesting" approaches to his role in the legal system.

Well, Mickey is back, as I hoped he would be, because he had the promise that his character would stand the kind of development that was given to Harry Bosch. Connelly doesn't disappoint, as we learn more and more about Haller, how he came to be a lawyer and what drives him. I have a feeling this points the way towards another long running series, and the addition of Bosch provides some fascinating possibilities.

I can't really say too much about the storyline, because I don't want to give anything away for those that haven't read it - the only thing to keep in mind is the basic premise of the tale - everybody lies. Suffice to say that this well up to Connelly's high standards. There are the usual twists, turns and misdirections, with nothing quite as it seems until the final curtain, and that shocking ending. Once you have started it, I doubt you will want to put it down until it's finished.

As to whether you can enjoy this if you haven't read the previous books, difficult to say because I have - so try to read at least "The Lincoln Lawyer" and "The Last Coyote" first so you can enjoy this to the full - you won't regret it
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on 28 November 2011
I'm a Michael Connelly fan who buys his books as soon as they come out. This was OK, just not as moving or compelling as his usual stuff, about Bosch or Haller. The "drop" is an acronym for a way of postponing retirement; Bosch has to apply to have his term as a cop extended, and so he needs to be on his best behaviour. Then he's asked to investigate the death of a powerful man's son - and that man can't stand him. The feeling is mutual, but he relies on Bosch to find out what happened to his son: did he fall or was he pushed?

This isn't a novel to start people onto the Bosch track: it's dark, depressing in parts and I don't know whether you'd have much sympathy for Bosch if you had no prior knowledge! As ever, it's well written, with several subplots, but if you're feeling a bit despairing about the human condition this will not brighten your day. Injustice seems to be ingrained, and people are fighting a losing battle against bureaucracy, personal ambition and exploitation.
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Do not read this review or this book unless you have at least read The Lincoln Lawyer and The Last Coyote. If you have read both of those, you'll probably think The Brass Verdict is a four-star book. If you've read The Lincoln Lawyer and all of the previous Harry Bosch novels, you will probably think The Brass Verdict is a very interesting five-star character study buried in a series of intriguing mysteries.

Characters, to me, are what make or break mysteries. If I like a character or find the character to be interesting, I look forward to each book teaching me something new about the character. In the best mysteries, the characters grow into something more than before which makes the progression interesting to contemplate.

The best writers save some things to surprise readers. Most such surprises are like a little firecracker going off. There's big bang for a second, but it doesn't mean much after a few minutes. Michael Connelly has the ability to set off what seems like a little firecracker that makes you see the whole world differently. It's a great gift, and he employs it in The Brass Verdict. But you need background from the earlier novels to appreciate the beauty of what he does.

I have a problem in reviewing this book. I can't tell you about the two most interesting aspects (what the title means and revelations about the two leading characters in The Brass Verdict). But I can tell you that these aspects will pique your interest and leave you with many fascinating things to think about after you finish the book.

Here's what I can tell you. Mickey Haller is a sadder and a little wiser version of the man who was the hero of The Lincoln Lawyer. He has had a serious run-in with drugs, and he doesn't have his empathy back yet. As a result, he can think clearly about legal issues . . . but human relations are difficult for him. The emotional environment for him is flat . . . which makes reading the book a little flat . . . but that's part of the Connelly's plan.

Michael Connelly also puts Harry Bosch in the background of this story. That's something that you should know before you decide whether or not you want to read the book. There's a good reason for doing this that you won't understand until you finish the book. But you should appreciate that you'll gain new insights into Harry's methods and effectiveness by getting a sense of what it's like to be on the receiving end of one of his investigations.

As the book's blurb reveals, Mickey Haller hasn't been doing criminal defense work since The Lincoln Lawyer events for about two years. When a fellow solo practitioner is executed in his parking garage, Mickey inherits Jerry Vincent's cases . . . including a multiple six-figure defense of a Hollywood mogul who is accused of killing his wife and her lover. Mickey's life is shaken to the core, but he decides he wants to get back in the saddle.

There's only one problem with being a criminal defense attorney . . . you are usually defending guilty people who did the crimes. You have to watch out that you don't get in their way . . . or you may become a victim as well.

Wanting to help with the Jerry Vincent investigation, Mickey Haller provides what information and cooperation he can to Harry Bosch. Bosch isn't too impressed, and soon Mickey finds Bosch putting on unnecessary pressure as well.

Can Mickey hold it all together? Will he become a victim, too?

Ultimately, Mickey has to face up to a question that his daughter asks: Why can't he do what mommy does, and prosecute bad guys?

It's gritty and exciting and filled with many mysteries. It's a keeper.
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on 1 November 2011
Yes, it's not one of the very best, but this is Michael Connelly, so it is very good indeed and great entertainment.
The real mystery is how, when so many other authors (nearly 100%) fall into a bottomless pit of tedious repetition and identikit plots/characters after as few as 6 books, Connelly alone has kept up such a marvellously high standard for over 20. It maybe helps him to switch characters from time to time (I sense a future leading role for Bosch's daughter in the great fight, while praying we may avoid the near universal obsession with the detailed torturing of women) but the Bosch novels are his gold standard and long may they continue.
He must shortly be vying with Ross Macdonald for the longest reign as unchallenged King of US crime novels.
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on 10 September 2012
No doubt about it, another fantastic Harry Bosch novel. But I have to say, like another reviewer I was a bit disappointed when it ended - more than that really as I groaned out loud when I "turned the page" (Kindle-wise) and found that was it. But I suppose that's a good thing. Shows how much I enjoyed it.

As a crime-solver Harry is top notch - picking up on "tells" when interviewing, not being side-tracked by corrupt officials. No-one gets one over on Harry. Don't you just love him ... but wait. To say I was shocked when he rang someone and they said (from his voice) they pictured him looking like Lieutenant Columbo!!! Mac and all. Nooooooooooo! Talk about stunned. I have visions of George Clooney, Harrison Ford, or even Matt Damon. Please Mr. Connolly, don't ruin my daydreams in any future books. No more references to Columbo.
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Mickey Haller is a 42-year-old Los Angeles defence attorney on his way back to the bar after about two years of physical recovery and rehabilitation. He is aided in no small way by the violent and brutal death of Jerry Vincent, another lawyer who had expressed a written wish that all of his active clients be passed on to Haller in the event of his death. Of the thirty-one in need of defence there are none bigger than Hollywood movie mogul Walter Elliot, accused of shooting and killing his wife and her male friend in the Elliot household some six months earlier, minutes before he called 9-1-1 from the murder scene. Haller has less than two weeks to prepare for trial because the defendant is anxious to proceed at that time and absolutely unwilling to delay proceedings. Meanwhile LAPD Detective Harry Bosch is investigating the recent murder of Jerry Vincent.

Expectations will be sky-high for this one, because not only does it represent the sequel to one of Connelly's most successful and widely-praised novels THE LINCOLN LAWYER, it even manages to include one of crime-fiction's best-loved characters too - the venerable Harry Bosch, although he plays a rather lower-profile role here than I had hoped or expected. It's very much a Haller story, told throughout from a first-person perspective. And although it's very good, hard to fault in truth, it's not quite as good as its one predecessor. I think my reason for saying that is because it's actually rather similar; Haller's personal life is much the same as it was, he's still just as brilliant in the courtroom, and despite representing a highly dislikeable character (as Louis Ross Roulet was in the previous Haller tale) and being capable of successfully defending people who seem to be guilty of their alleged crimes, he's still an attractive personality both within the context of the story and from the perspective of the reader. The only significant difference this time round is that while Haller still has a Lincoln - three identical ones actually - he now has a proper office, inherited from the late Jerry Vincent.

One of the frustrating elements to courtroom stories such as this is that they often begin after the crime has been committed and the central 'bad guy' is assumed to be guilty (or not guilty) from the outset, so the main unknown tends to be the verdict of the jury. This is the second half of a criminal investigation, the first half being the police and detective work that brings the suspect to trial. Thankfully it's a lot more interesting due to some really fascinating insights into the world of jury selection, a little bit depressing too when you think of the lengths that defence lawyers will go to in order to manipulate the system (at least, that in the USA) in order to get as many jurors likely to be sympathetic to, or at least open-minded enough for, a vote of not guilty to someone who may in fact be guilty. That's a little worrying if it represents real life, and from an early stage of this novel I kept on thinking of the trial (and the crime) of OJ Simpson in Los Angeles in 1995, a landmark event that I know shaped Connelly's attitude towards the American justice system. So whereas the Bosch novels tend to be all about Bosch with a story wrapped around him, with Haller it's the other way round in that the story takes precedence over him. All credit to the author for having the ability to write in such different ways, which we are reminded of on the few occasions that Haller and Harry Bosch meet; as soon as Bosch speaks, he increases the reader's pulse rate slightly, and I think this would be the case even for those reading Connelly for the first time. Bosch comes over as dark and dangerous, and it's an amusing experience to read the impressions he makes on Haller and the opinions expressed given that the sometimes negative words come from the same pen, from the creator of both characters.

One element of the tale that Connelly is right to address, I believe, is the ethics behind defending the guilty. It came late on in the novel but it was a relief when it came. Until that point it had been an issue that I can imagine many readers struggling to come to terms with, that a seemingly nice guy like Mickey Haller should have the ability to dismantle state's and prosecutor's evidence to the point that a seemingly nailed-on guilty verdict can be undone. It leaves you wondering if there is such a thing as true justice, at least within the criminal courts, because the outcome can often be based not on the evidence but the skill with which either the prosecutor or the defender presents that evidence and cross-examines witnesses. Issues such as this are raised right at the very beginning of this novel, in a small prologue that suggests that, ultimately, everybody lies. Cops, lawyers, witnesses and victims - they all lie, and the trial is a contest of lies. For lawyers like Mickey Haller, the task in preparing for trial often revolves around finding that magic bullet, that weakness in the prosecution's case that enables him to rip it all to pieces, to at the very least giving rise to reasonable doubt about the defendant's guilt. Looking back through the story, the author addressed these issues very skilfully but perhaps felt he had a moral obligation to not only explain how and why a defence attorney works the way he does, but in addition to demonstrate that some of them - well, Mickey Haller at least - have a sense of humanity and moral conscience after all. It gives the reader an escape route for feeling guilty about liking Haller, to enable them to feel that their judgement in him wasn't misplaced even if they had questioned it for most of the tale.

The surprising and unexpected conclusion to the story proves that it was actually a lot more complex than just whether the defendant 'did it' or not, because there are numerous interwoven sub-plots that all come together to answer some of the questions that might have been lingering in the reader's mind. Just as we were warned at the outset, everybody lies, some people lie about their lies, but at least one conclusion can be drawn: Michael Connelly is still at the very top of his game, and that's the undisputed truth.
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on 21 August 2016
Thoroughly entertaining read I have to say. I was late to the Bosch/Haller party so have only recently started working my way through. Having read Haller #1 The Lincoln Lawyer I really couldn't wait to get started on this. Essentially we have Haller picking up all the cases of his friend and fellow attorney Jerry Vincent whose been killed. The novel centres around one high profile case which lead to many twists and turns of which I didn't see coming. Connelly cleverly introduced several of his characters which adds depth and perspective. Im still working through the early Bosch novels but I really cant wait to get stuck into the next Haller novel
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