THE REVERSAL by Michael Connelly

Book Quote:

“It always bothered Bosch when he saw justice and the law being manipulated by smart lawyers. His part of the process was pure. He started at a crime scene and followed the evidence to a killer.”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky (OCT 5, 2010)

Michael Connelly brings together criminal defense attorney Michael (Mickey) Haller and his half-brother, the cynical and battle-scarred LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, in Connelly’s latest legal thriller, The Reversal. Mickey calls himself “the defender of the damned,” a job he has had for over twenty years. “During that time,” he states, “I’d grown a suspicion and distrust of prosecutors and police….” Still, the Los Angeles District Attorney convinces Mickey to become an independent special prosecutor in the second trial of forty-eight year old Jason Jessup. The defendant has spent twenty-four years in San Quentin for abducting and strangling twelve-old Melissa Landy. Over the last two decades, Jessup has vociferously proclaimed his innocence while filing numerous motions and appeals in an attempt to have his conviction overturned.

Because of possible irregularities during the first prosecution as well as new DNA evidence, the California Supreme Court reversed Jessup’s conviction and sent the case back to Los Angeles County “for either retrial or dismissal of the charges.” Against his better judgment, Mickey agrees to prosecute Jessup, partly because it will give him an opportunity to work with deputy district attorney Maggie McPherson (one of his two ex-wives) and investigator Harry Bosch.

Jessup has a groundswell of support from the liberal media and an organization of lawyers known as the Genetic Justice Project. Although the physical evidence against the defendant is a bit shaky, the eyewitness testimony of Melissa’s sister, Sarah, who was thirteen when the murder occurred, has never wavered. Now thirty-seven, Sarah still stands by her identification of Jessup as Melissa’s abductor. However, Sarah has a history of drug use and run-ins with the law which the defense will undoubtedly exploit in an attempt to discredit her.

This is one of Connelly’s most suspenseful and engrossing legal thrillers in years. It has incisive and realistic dialogue, compelling courtroom scenes, well-drawn characters, a smooth and lucid prose style, and an absorbing, well-constructed plot. The only false note is that when Mickey is on the scene, he is the first-person narrator; the rest of the time, Connelly writes in the third person. This is slightly jarring; Connelly might have been better off sticking to the third person throughout. In any event, Haller shares the spotlight with Bosch and McPherson. In addition, FBI profiler Rachel Walling makes a strong cameo appearance when Bosch asks for her help in analyzing Jessup’s behavior. Harry stands out as the person most invested in nailing Jessup, partly because he is the single parent of a cherished daughter, and partly because he has worked tirelessly on hundreds of homicides during his thirty-five year career as a cop. He is passionate about finding the bad guys and putting them away so that they cannot do any more damage.

In The Reversal, the author demonstrates how politics and public opinion influence the legal process; how the stress of trying a high-profile case can lead to mistakes in judgment; and how, no matter how carefully they plan, lawyers and detectives should expect the unexpected. Readers who enjoy feel-good endings may balk at the novel’s disquieting finale. Others may find Connelly’s conclusion thought-provoking, daring, and original. It certainly demonstrates how life’s vicissitudes and the capriciousness of fate can undermine the search for truth and pervert the course of justice.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-3-5from 94 readers
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company (October 5, 2010)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Michael Connelly
EXTRAS: Reading Guide and Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: MostlyFiction (like many others) are great fans of Michael Connelly. As such, we have reviewed a lot of his books over the years:

For these Harry Bosch reviews, go here:
City of Bones, Lost Light, The Narrows, The Closers, Echo Park, and The Overlook

For a review his latest Harry Bosch, Nine Dragons, go here.

For these Michael Haller reviews, go here:
The Lincoln Lawyer and Brass Verdict

For these stand-alone mysteries, go here:
Bloodwork and Chasing the Dime

And go here for a  review of The Scarecrow


LAPD Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch Series

Mickey Haller:


* Terry McCaleb is in these novels
** Harry Bosch is in these novels
*** The Poet is in these novels.
****Mickey Haller is in this novel


Movies from Books:

October 5, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, California, Mystery/Suspense, Sleuths Series, y Award Winning Author

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