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Bookends: This inheritance turns out to be a mixed blessing February 7, 2016

Posted by klondykewriter in Bookends.
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Bookends: This inheritance turns out to be a mixed blessing

By Dan DavidsonBrass Verdict copy

November 3, 2015

– 933 words –

 

The Brass Verdict

By Michael Connelly

592 pages

Grand Central Publishing

$10.00

 

It’s been almost two years since I read The Lincoln Lawyer (2005), the first of the Mickey Haller novels. My Connelly library up to that point had all been the Harry Bosch novels, and I wasn’t sure if books about the lawyer would be as interesting as books about the cop. I needn’t have worried.

The time span is about right for reading this book. It’s been a year since Mickey nearly got himself disbarred for the events of the first book. He was sort of suspended; “sent to Cuba” was the phrase used, for the 90 day punishment that stretched out to 365 plus. In between he got hooked on the painkillers that he initially started taking to deal with the pain from the gunshot wound he got at the end of the first book.

As we meet him in this book he’s a recovering addict, a guy who doesn’t really feel like he’s ready to reenter the courtroom.

We actually begin with a scene from his past, a time when he destroyed the career of DA Jack Vincent by exploding what was supposed to be an open and shut case in front of the whole world. Vincent crossed the floor to defense practice and made a whole lot more money at it, so he ended up thanking Mickey for the career change.

Over the intervening years they worked together in a collegial manner, occasionally covering each others’ cases. Even so, it was a bit of a shock when Vincent was murdered and Mickey found himself designated the heir to his friend’s practice, office and the works.

In some ways this is a rare gift, a chance to get back in to the lawyer life without having to build up a new client list. On the other hand, the style is weird. Haller likes to work out of the spacious and office equipped back seats of a small fleet of Lincolns, and having a physical office feels weird.

Furthermore, it soon seems to become clear that Vincent died because he was too close to some secrets, and there are people who feel that Mickey must have inherited those along with everything else, so there’s the question of a potential threat to his life.

The biggest of the cases Haller inherited is the defense of Walter Elliot, a prominent studio executive charged with killing his wife and her lover. Elliot is adamant that he didn’t do it, but he is also uncomfortably certain that he won’t be convicted, and Mickey is never quite sure what to make of him.

Meanwhile, just to make the book really interesting, the homicide detective assigned to that case is none other than Harry (Hieronymus) Bosch. Something about that name, its association with the 15th century Dutch artist, and just the general air about Bosch seems awfully familiar to Mickey, but he doesn’t pin it down until quite late in the story. You won’t either unless you have a better memory than I did and recall a scene from the The Black Ice, the second of the Bosch novels, way back in 1993. It really is playing a long game when an author pulls a rabbit out of a 15 year old hat to close a plot circle in a book published in 2008.

There’s a lot to puzzle over here. On the mystery side there’s the Elliot case, along with several others that play out as sidebars just to show Haller getting back on the horse and learning to ride again. There’s the mystery of Vincent’s death, and Bosch’s insistence that the FBI is somehow involved.

On the Scooby gang side, there’s the reactivation of Haller’s team, which includes one of his ex-wives, Lorna, as his office manager and her lover, Cisco, as his investigator.

On the personal side there’s his fragile relationship with his other ex-wife, Maggie, who just happens to be a prosecuting attorney and who, more importantly, in the mother of his daughter, Hayley. Haller keeps trying to fix up that side his life, but his success rate is patchy, to say the least.

With his daughter, Haller has to deal with a bit of an existential conundrum, summed up as, and I’m not exactly quoting, “If Mommy works to put the bad guys away and you work to let them go free, who’s right?” Truth to tell, Maggie has the same problem with him.

Mickey’s in recovery from his addiction, from being out of the game for months and from having a lot of trouble really dealing with people on an emotional level. He sees it as a lack of empathy on his part, maybe from years of dealing with clients who never seem to tell him the truth.

There’s a sign that he is getting a bit better fairly early in the book. One of the clients he’s inherited is a surfer named Patrick who has fallen on hard times and has been busted for jewel theft. Mickey figures out a way to get him out of trouble, gives him a job as his driver, and even manages to reclaim one of his favourite boards for him.

That’s a really minor plot point, but it does show a bit of character development.

To find out how everything else turns out, why Bosch seemed so familiar to him and what the heck the title means, you’ll just have to read the book.

 

-30-

 

 

 

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