Customer Reviews: The Brass Verdict (A Lincoln Lawyer Novel)
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on October 27, 2011
I started reading the latest Harry Bosch book last night. Finished it this morning, it's so enthralling.

The novel deals with two cases. Harry Boschs' nemesis Irvin Irving, ex-deputy police chief and city councillor, requests Harry Bosch to investigate the death of his son, George Irving, who apparently committed suicide by jumping from the seventh floor suite of a Hollywood hotel.

The other case resulted from a cold case discovery of DNA in a blood smear on the neck of a rape-murder victim shown to originate from a sex offender who was just 8 years old at the time.

The title 'the Drop' could be referring to the apparent suicide. It could also refer to 'DROP', 'Deferred Retirement Option Plan', which is the reason why Harry Bosch had returned to the LAPD to the Open-Unsolved Unit. The novel opens with Harry Bosch being told he had a 4 year extension of his second and final contract, meaning that he'd be permanently retired in 39 months time (Michael Connelly has indicated that that will be the end of the Bosch series), so that leaves plenty of time for further novels in the series.

I can hardly wait...
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VINE VOICEon November 3, 2011
This is another excellent book about Harry Bosch, my favorite LAPD homicide investigator. The title of the book may throw the reader off though.
The DROP in this book refers to the Deferred Retirement Option Program of the LAPD. Harry is still working in the Unsolved Cases unit and is at the mandatory retirement age and had put in for a DROP. Through it is not the focal point of the story, it does tie in to Harry's mindset throughout the book.

Harry and his partner Chu get assigned to a cold case of a woman who was murdered several years prior. The DNA evidence on the case points to Clayton, Pell a convicted sex-offender. This would be a slam dunk except that when the crime happened, Pell was only eight years old.

Before Harry can investigate further he is told from the people upstairs (his former partner Kiz Rider) that he must drop everything and devote his entire effort to investigating the apparent suicide of a councilman's son. This brings up an issue for Harry. Firstly, he does not like the councilman at all and is anxious to investigate the other case. He is told that the councilman's son is crucial because the councilman is responsible for department budget cuts and handling this case could help the LAPD get some of their funding back.

Of course Harry will do things his way and will find ways to bypass instructions and work on both cases at once. At times through the book Harry's actions will alienate those around him, especially his partner Chu and his new love interest (a social worker helping Clayton Pell). The book never gets boring and Harry's relentless and methodical pursuit to get to the truth is prevalent throughout. Even his daughter Madeline seems to pitch in for some good advice and could play a bigger role in future books to come.

I give the book four stars and would have rated it higher except that I felt a little uncomfortable with Harry pursuing a relationship with the social worker for Clayton Pell.
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This terrific follow-up to The Lincoln Lawyer, featuring troubled defense lawyer Mickey Haller, also includes famed police detective Hieronymous (Harry) Bosch, who has been a hero in thirteen previous Connelly mysteries. Though Haller and Bosch work on opposite sides (one on defense and one on prosecution) and even live on opposite sides of the bay, they are thrown together against their wills and must cooperate if they are going to see justice served. Haller has just returned to law practice after a hiatus in which he has dealt with his demons and his addictions, the result of a long, painful hospitalization and several complex surgeries after he was "gut shot."

Haller has inherited the entire caseload of former prosecutor Jerry Vincent, who became a defense attorney after Haller beat him soundly in a court case. Vincent has been murdered in the garage beside his office, his laptop and case notes missing, with the biggest case of his career due for trial in less than a week. Walter Elliot, head of the highly successful Archway Pictures, is being tried for the murder of his wife and her lover, and he refuses to agree to a continuance, even though Haller, new to the case, recommends it. This case, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, soon begins to overlap with another of Vincent's cases--one taken pro bono, and not in any of Vincent's files or on his calendar--a complete "mystery case" to Haller.

As he works, Haller relies on stalwart friends and associates, all of whom show their own personalities here as they support Haller and try to keep him from backsliding under stress. His first former wife, Maggie McPherson, a prosecutor, needs to be reassured that he is stable enough to be a father again to his daughter. His second former wife, Lorna Taylor, still works with him, though she is now living with Dennis Wojchiechowski (Cisco), Haller's investigator. Harry Bosch, who is investigating the Jerry Vincent murder for the police, frequently overlaps with Haller regarding issues in Vincent's cases, and they occasionally meet. Though they are alike in many ways, their hostility is often palpable.

As Haller looks for the "magic bullet," the "get-out-of-jail-free" card that would clear Walter Elliot of a double murder, he must explore issues of bribery, jury tampering, fraud, police misconduct, organized crime, legal malpractice, federal crime, and even international crime--not to mention murder, including potentially his own. The novel, written in exceptionally clear prose, keeps all the complications from becoming overwhelming as the author recreates the legal one-upsmanship of a case going to trial. Connelly draws the reader in and increases the tension by making him/her an "expert" on the legal importance of events to the Elliot case. Exciting, beautifully crafted, filled with non-stop action, and always centered on achieving justice, this novel is completely satisfying--one that has it all. n Mary Whipple

The Lincoln Lawyer : A Novel
The Overlook (Harry Bosch)
The Last Coyote (Harry Bosch)
The Concrete Blonde (Harry Bosch)
The Harry Bosch Novels: The Black Echo, The Black Ice, The Concrete Blonde
The Harry Bosch Novels Volume 2: The Last Coyote, Trunk Music, Angels Flight
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on November 7, 2011
**SPOILER ALERT - there may be some minor spoilers here!!**

I've read an interview where Connelly said he was thinking about the end of Harry Bosch's series. Even though it makes me sad, being a huge Harry Bosch fan, I think it makes sense. It's about time. Harry is over 60, which is a lot to a Detective, as he himself says in this book.

Besides, he has now more than he ever have to live for - a daughter and a possible girlfriend.

When he retired years ago, it was not well thought, he acted by impulse and had nothing else, so he was kind of depressing/depressed... But now 39 months -or the full 5 years if he gets them- sounds like a good plan. A good time for him and for us to get used to the idea, to say goodbye.

Maddie is sounding more and more like Bosch's successor, and I found it very exciting. She's smart, stubborn, perceptive, a good shooter... Plus, she's got both nature and nurture to help! I can't wait to read her first book as a Detective.

I liked this book very much, and deliberately slowed down my reading pace so it could last longer... It's so hard to say goodbye to a Harry Bosch's book... Specially knowing we are going to have to wait at least a year for the next one!!
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on January 25, 2012
Michael Connelly used to be among my favorite writers in this genre. His earliest novels (Concrete Blonde, Trunk Music, etc.) really started me down the path of being a voracious consumer of mystery fiction. Unfortunately, he continues his downward trajectory with 'The Drop', and I think that's the last one I'll waste my time reading. He's apparently content to rest on his laurels, act as a lazy professor emeritus of the genre, and write gushing blurbs about other writers' books (which I don't trust).

This book brings the laziness to a new level. Connelly combines what appears to be 2 longer short stories into a single novel. In 'The Drop', 2 cases are assigned to Harry Bosch almost simultaneously, and he solves both of them in pretty short order. Of course, there's really no connection between them, so having them in the same book really doesn't work, except for 'padding' purposes.

What does work in the book is that the story lines for both cases are interesting and probably could have been developed into standalone novels by an author who was interested in doing a little work. The procedural stuff seems to be pretty solid, and the conclusions to both crimes are logical. What doesn't work?

- A great character, Harry Bosch, is wasted. Really no background is explained, nothing in his rich past in the series is mined to make the novel more interesting and to help the reader understand his motives.
- The dialogue is wooden. What used to be a strength for Connelly is no longer there.
- The 2 cases just didn't have synergy. There was no reason for them to be in the same book.
- The writing was pedestrian, with absolutely nothing to recommend it.

Anyone starting to read Connelly with this book ought to ask 'what's the big deal with this guy?'. Anyone wanting to start reading him should begin in the beginning and go back to his earliest novels.
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VINE VOICEon October 15, 2008
Connelly's Detective Bosch is an uncommonly well developed and explored character. It stands to reason that our author having described the world from Bosch's view, the best way for the reader to deepen his experience of Bosch is to see him interact with other characters without being privy to his thoughts and intents. An interesting gambit; for Bosch has placed Mr. Connelly in the upper echelons of this genre and it is a brave author who places his franchise in a supporting role. I am heartened to see that Mr. Connelly remains no less a moralist than Bosch's namesake painter, who sought to portray a clear difference between good and evil, innocence and sin, through his art.

Yet despite all the fun with the hugely enjoyable plot and characters, The Brass Verdict contains a much more sobering message. Our system of justice is as fallible as the people who make it run. The opening page is a classic: it contains truth that I intend to utilize in my own legal practice when I attempt to persuade my clients that the Courtroom is the last place to resort for a decision--much better to settle if you can. Yet despite the lies and ugliness of the "real" world, however encumbered we may be by societal expectations, rules, laws and even our own desires, we remain free to determine our own contribution and to participate in the building of a perfectly just society.

We take our system for granted. We take the protection of police for granted. We take the impartiality of juries for granted. We take the honesty of witnesses and judges for granted. But what else can we do? Unless we adhere to the fiction of the "whole truth and nothing but the truth" it all falls apart. Unless we choose to believe in the potential for a better world and then act upon that belief, we remain helpless victims--Mr. Connelly admirably points out that we must each be accountable, that private decisions will ultimately have a most public consequence.

One of the strongest themes in Mr. Connolly's works is the power of family and friendships. His characters learn the hard way to value their children. His books reward loyalty and goodness. In a world that is prepared to throw out the concept of truth as a childish fiction more appropriate to the good old days when people went to Sunday School, Mr. Connelly uses his talents to remind us that truth remains and that goodness is its own reward; he cautions us that we disregard truth at our peril and for that he deserves our respect.

Highly Recommended
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on January 13, 2012
Harry Bosch is the hero of a successful procedural cop novels series. A while ago, he had retired and gone private. Now he is back with the LAPD and has 3 years and 3 months to go on his contract. That's barely enough to see his teenage daughter through high school.

Harry works in a cold case unit, applying new forensic technology to unsolved old cases. His new case is about a known sex offender whose blood has been found at a 1989 crime scene. Problem: he was just 8 years old then.
While he is just about to get started, Harry gets called away to a current case. An old nemesis wants him to investigate the alleged suicide of his son, who has jumped or fallen from a hotel balcony. The dead man was an LA influence peddler with a good income and some enemies. Harry's bosses tell him to give top priority to the jumper/faller case, but Harry always sets his own priorities, which is not a good career basis in any outfit.

Connelly is a star of the genre. He used the Bosch character for a long time and is apparently still struggling to find a way for the future.
Connelly's strength lies in procedural and legal know-how (he was a police reporter himself) and in plot construction. His prose is pleasantly matter of fact and lacks pretensions. Good for him and us. Unfortunately he serves us a romantic fairy tale about the lonesome rider, disguised as hard- boiled crime fiction. Harry is the clean one, the un-political one, the one with principles. The populism that comes out in his attitude to questions like death penalty or nurture vs nature shows the essential flatness of this character.

The ending sees Harry frustrated. He has solved both cases, but finds that he has been manipulated for political purposes in one case, and he blames himself for saving the serial killer's life from a revenge killing in the other.
While I appreciated the suspense of the narration, I found the overall reading experience stale and not worth a repetition. There are better ways to deal with the issues at stake here.
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on March 15, 2012
Harry Bosch matured as a character about six or eight books ago, and since then his evolution as a series protagonist has not taken him in a good direction. Harry is flirting with final, no-comebacks retirement in this book, and maybe it is time for him to do it for real. The Harry Bosch in this novel just doesn't have the depth of passion or consistency of character he did in the older books, and this despite author Connelly's attempts to paint him that way; the problem is that his commitment is mostly asserted or discussed by characters rather than revealed through behavior. The cases he and his current partner investigate are interesting enough at the outset and the investigative procedures are adequately presented, but by the time we get to the other end of the investigations, one case dissolves under its own weight and the other evolves into a fairly standard modern monster tale. Characters returning from earlier Bosch outings are basically stick figures, and one, Bosch's longtime nemesis Irvin Irving, needs to retire even more than Bosch does. This guy has not been a credible character for several novels now. He reached his dramatic peak as a moronic superior officer early in the Bosch series, and repeat appearances have not enhanced his dramatic dimensions.

Bosch attributes "high jingo" to those cases that are of special interest to departmental higher-ups and elected officials. In short, a high jingo case is one featuring inherent drama and inviting meddlesome intervention. But for readers (or this reader, at any rate) the jingo in this story never reaches the elevated level that the characters attribute to it.

Bosch is still a better character than Connelly's other series star, Attorney Mickey Haller. And this book is better by far than any of the last three featuring Haller, who is Bosch's half-brother in Connelly's LA universe of criminal investigation and determination of guilt. But "better than a Haller novel" is faint praise; on its own this Bosch outing is no better than a semi-successful entry in its own series.

Other reviews show that Bosch is still a star in the minds of most readers, so I am definitely out of step with majority opinion. In case anyone wants to know what books I favor, I unreservedly recommend the novels of Don Bredes featuring Constable Hector Bellevance, who operates in the meticulously detailed environment of Northern Vermont.
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on October 14, 2008
The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly is his twentieth book and brings together Connelly's two famous characters: Detective Harry Bosch and attorney Mickey Haller. Haller returns to the courtroom after a long absence to take on the case of a Hollywood mogul accused of murder. The mogul's first attorney turns up dead, and Haller is assigned to the case. But it gets a bit sticky when it looks like the killer is now after Haller, and Det. Bosch shows up to "protect" Haller, even if it means botching up his case. I've never read any of Connelly's books before, and I'm not normally a fan of this type of fiction, but Connelly sucked me in from the first page with his masterful dialogue and action scenes. Haller is a compelling character full of hard-won wisdom and surrounded by intriguing characters. Bosch is a bit of a jerk, to say the least, but I couldn't help liking him as well. Connelly creates terrific scenes with tightly plotted suspense. Consider me a new fan!
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VINE VOICEon November 18, 2008
I gave this book 3 1/2 stars. Connelly brings together two of the best characters in police and courtroom thrillers - Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller. I was expecting a lot more but was let down specifically because I did not see the necessity of putting Harry Bosch into the story as his role could have been filled by any no name detective. The book is totally a Mickey Haller story and is told from his perspective. Harry Bosch is a minor character without the normal Harry tenacity we have come to know.

Mickey inherits a number of cases after one of his former law acquaintances is murdered. One of the cases is a high profile case involving one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. As things unfold, Mickey learns his predecessor was murdered because of this case.

The book lacks the tension of The Lincoln Lawyer but does have some good if brief courtroom exchanges. I still give Mr. Connelly the benefit of the doubt and do look foreward to his next effort. I hope it is a lot better than this one.
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