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Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Brass Verdict. Michael Connelly. Orion (2008)

This is a very gripping and hugely entertaining thriller. Mickey Haller is getting ready to resume his career as a defence lawyer after emerging from an active addiction to pain killers, when another lawyer he worked with is murdered. Mickey finds that he has been nominated to take of the murdered man's cases, including a very high profile murder case. Mickey has to decide if he is ready for the pressure, in particular as he is told that the dead lawyer was probably killed by one of his, now Mickey's, clients. The plot twists and turns at a great pace, the reveals and counter-reveals are cunningly staged right up to the close of the book. The cast are lively and engaging, the legal detail used to considerable effect, the whole story is thoroughly satisfying.
As a first person narrative, the book is carried by Mickey Haller and he does so with ease and confidence. Faced with the decision to return much more suddenly than he had planned the way that he copes with the pressure is credible and thoughtful. The pressure is as much a force in returning him to stability and strenght as it is a sapping demand on his ability to cope. The way that Mickey rediscovers his hunger to work and his desire to assert himself through his professional skills is compelling.
The double helix of the plot, the murder case that Mickey has inherited and the murder case that created the inheritance, is brilliantly spun. They do not crowd each other out, when one falls out of the spotlight the other one emerges in a very natural way, the tension is consistently maintained and the way they are resolved is masterly. The rest of the cast are roundly drawn, Mickey is telling the story, it is not just his story, the supporting cast emerge with force and clarity. The masterful control that Michael Connelly has over the material is nearly invisible, the story flows with such confident ease that the reader is free to simply become absorbed and enjoy the experience. Superb.

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