The Brass Verdict Review
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Fifteen years ago, in The Black Ice, crime writer Michael Connelly gave his beloved character, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, a half-brother—one he’d never met. Later, in 2005’s The Lincoln Lawyer, Connelly gave Bosch’s half-brother, hotshot defense attorney Mickey Haller, a story of his own. Now the two finally meet.

For the past year, Haller has been on an extended sabbatical, trying to clean up the mess he’s made of his life—and things are finally getting better. In fact, he’s just about ready to polish up his Lincoln and head back to the courthouse when he gets a call from LA’s chief judge, informing him that his colleague, Jerry Vincent, has been killed. According to Vincent’s will, Haller has just inherited a thriving practice, filled with big-name clients and high-profile cases.

The biggest of Haller’s new cases is the defense of Walter Elliot, a Hollywood studio executive who’s accused of murdering his wife and her lover. The case could put Haller in the spotlight—but, if Vincent’s murder is any indication, it could also get him killed.

So as Haller gets back to business, he also sets out to find Vincent’s killer. But that means doing something that a defense attorney never does: working with the cops. And Haller soon finds himself under the watchful eye of Detective Bosch—a man who bears a striking resemblance to Haller’s late father.

The Brass Verdict finds Harry Bosch in an unfamiliar place: the back seat. Sure, he’s still there, lurking in the background, but he’s not at the center of the action—and his secondary standing gives the novel a completely different feel.

Instead of taking to the streets to solve the case, The Brass Verdict takes to the courtroom. Though Haller does spend some time searching for evidence, much of the story takes place during the trial—so the story includes a whole lot of detail about the process, from jury selection to strategies. But while crime novels that focus heavily on the procedures often tend to get bogged down in details, this one doesn’t. On the contrary, I found the details (especially the jury selection process) fascinating.

Even more fascinating, though, is the story’s main character. Though Mickey makes a living using the system to get guilty men acquitted, you’ll still like him—because Connelly gives him plenty of redeeming qualities. Also, just like his half-brother, he’s a complex character—one who’s introduced and explained with care. By the time you finish reading, you’ll know him well—and you’ll want to read more about him. And since Connelly only touches on his relationship with Bosch, you’ll also be eager to see what’s next for the long-lost half-brothers.

Once again, Connelly has written an irresistible crime thriller. As the multi-faceted story unfolds, you’ll find that there are all kinds of questions to answer—about Vincent’s death, the Elliot case, and a few other interesting little cases that show up along the way. There are plenty of surprises, too—and you won’t really know whom to believe until the very last page. Some minor pieces of the puzzle do seem to come completely out of the blue—but, overall, The Brass Verdict is yet another chilling page-turner from one of the best crime writers out there.

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