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The Brass Verdict    by Michael Connelly order for
Brass Verdict
by Michael Connelly
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

There has been an entertaining trend lately of mystery authors intersecting the lives of different series protagonists, Robert B. Parker being a prime example. Now Michael Connelly does the same, showing us his primary protagonist, LAPD Homicide Detective Hieronymus 'Harry' Bosch (last seen in The Overlook), through the eyes of Defense Attorney Michael 'Mickey' Haller, of Lincoln Lawyer fame. It's especially intriguing that the reader and Harry know something that Mickey does not - the two are related.

The story opens as a windfall of cases descends upon Haller after the murder of a colleague, Jerry Vincent. Both in private practice, they 'covered for each other when it was needed' and it's sure needed now! Guess who's investigating the killing? You got it, and that creates immediate conflict between Bosch and Haller, since the former wants access to files the latter deems privileged attorney-client information. Haller still works out of a series of Lincoln Town Cars in LA County, assisted by his ex-wife Lorna Taylor (his case manager) and her fiancÚ, Raul Levin, as his investigator. On the sidelines is tough prosecutor Maggie 'McFierce' (McPherson), mother of his eight-year-old daughter, and the woman he still loves.

Vincent's biggest case is the defense of a movie mogul, Walter Elliot, accused of killing his wife and her interior designer lover in a Malibu beach house. Surprisingly, when Mickey takes over his defense, Elliot insists on an immediate trial despite his attorney's lack of preparation, relying on a 'magic bullet' that Vincent had talked about. Unfortunately, the latter's laptop was taken when he was killed and Mickey has no idea what the magic bullet defense is. As he digs deeper into his murdered associate's past, he also wonders why Vincent was talking to the FBI on a regular basis - and who he bribed. Soon Haller's own life is on the line. Luckily for him, Bosch has his back.

Connelly begins The Brass Verdict by telling readers that 'Everybody lies' in the courtroom and that Haller's job is 'To be the truth in a place where everybody lies.' When Mickey Haller tells Harry Bosch at the end that 'the brass verdict was my last verdict' and he's quitting, Harry seems dubious. Readers will just have to wait and see how Mickey's career - and their uneasy new relationship - develops. Connelly fans - and anyone who enjoys a substantive legal mystery - will not want to miss The Brass Verdict.

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