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276 of 288 people found the following review helpful
Michael Connelly brings together criminal defense attorney Michael (Mickey) Haller and his half-brother, the cynical and battle-scarred LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, in "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 L. A. District Attorney convinces Mickey to go over to the dark side as an independent special prosecutor in the second trial of Jason Jessup. The defendant has already spent twenty-four years in San Quentin for abducting and strangling twelve-year-old Melissa Landy. Over the last two decades, Jessup filed numerous motions and appeals while steadfastly proclaiming his innocence. Much to his delight, the California Supreme Court reversed his 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 take the case, partly because it will give him an opportunity to work with his ex-wife, deputy district attorney Maggie McPherson, and Harry Bosch, who will be their investigator.

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 Jessup may be a bit shaky, Melissa's sister, Sarah, who was thirteen when the murder occurred, vehemently stands by her eyewitness identification of Jessup as Melissa's abductor. However, Sarah has a history of drug abuse 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 involving legal thrillers in years. It has incisive and realistic dialogue, compelling courtroom scenes, well-drawn characters, and a carefully constructed plot. Fascinating details about surveillance, trial strategy, forensics, and police procedure add to the book's verisimilitude. The only false note is that when Mickey is on the scene, he is the first-person narrator, but otherwise, Connelly writes in the third person. This is slightly jarring; Connelly might have been better off sticking to the third person throughout, especially since Haller, McPherson, and Bosch all share the spotlight. Another familiar face is FBI profiler Rachel Walling, who makes a strong cameo appearance when Bosch requests her analysis of Jessup's behavior. Harry stands out as the person most invested in nailing Jessup, partly because Harry has sole responsibility for his fourteen-year-old daughter whom he adores, 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 effectively shows 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 the importance of always being prepared for the unexpected. Readers who crave a feel-good ending may balk at the novel's disquieting finale. Others may find Connelly's conclusion thought-provoking, daring, and original. It certainly demonstrates the ways in which life's vicissitudes and the capriciousness of fate can undermine the search for truth and pervert the course of justice.
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94 of 104 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 5, 2010
I like Michael Connolly's writing. Detective Harry Bosch is among the leading characters of the genre, having been developed over the course of many novels; however, in Reversal, Bosch becomes part of an ensemble cast, his becomes a supporting role. Reversal's protagonist is Mickey Haller, a veteran of two prior books--a character not yet nearly as completely drawn and therefore lacking the complexity of Detective Bosch. The story of the re-trial of a child murderer, the reversal of whose conviction gives its name to the tale, Reversal has as much to say about the importance of good police work as the nature of justice as served by our legal system.

This is a legal fantasy novel. Sure, the author has researched his stuff and he is (largely) correct on the procedure but it comes together in a way that only happens in fiction. No explanations here because that would spoil the read, however, I note that Connolly anticipates incredulity by offering it up through other characters in the story. Law lends itself to fiction because it allows for a life and death drama to be played out in a systematic fashion--most of us have been jurors, after all. Being a lawyer, albeit a civil lawyer, perhaps I am only noticing that which has been apparent to police detectives throughout the Bosch series--real life is never so neatly resolved. Reversal represents a confluence of a number of rare events, a combination of events not often encountered in the singular much less the plurality evident in this story. But I cannot blame the author for introducing fantastic elements because the twists and turns of actual litigation are often far less believable than the plot created by an imaginative author; you can't fault Connolly for coming up with a fantastic story because, for example, who would believe the OJ story if we hadn't lived through it.

Connolly refrains, thankfully, from the moral ambiguity that is the hallmark of other authors. His is still a world of honest cops and ethical lawyers--though his characters are aware of and note the boundaries of ethics, Connolly's drama is played out by what happens to the ostensible bad guy and our author does not spare characters who cross ethical lines from the consequences of their actions.

I enjoyed Reversal, reading it was time well spent with an author now so skilled that he can make serious effort look easy. The only problem is that one must judge Reversal against other Connolly books and because so much effort has been put into developing Harry Bosch's character, Haller's journey does not yet produce as much interest. The characters in this book do not really have quite the same internal struggles as in Connolly's other novels--but this is merely a quibble because Haller is a newer character lacking the backstory of Bosch. The book was worth every penny, a good read by a fine author.
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99 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2010
Probably like most of us as we get older and have a family, Harry Bosch is slowing down. Michael Connolly certainly is. This story is long on procedure and short on mystery. Harry, his half-brother, his half-brother's ex-wife, and the two daughters just don't have the edginess of the early characters. This story is very predictable and lacks complexity. Unpredictability and complexity is what made the earlier books so much fun. I think Mr. Connolly should consider putting out books as he crafts a good story vs. once a year according to his publisher's schedule. Having said that, I will admit that it was hard to put down. On the other hand, most of Connolly's early work was impossible to put down. My advice - wait for the paperback or check it out from the library.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
The Reversal brings together Mickey Haller, erstwhile defense attorney (Brass Verdict, Lincoln Lawyer) with long time Connelly hero LAPD detective Harry Bosch. The men are half brothers but uncomfortable allies in this thriller. Haller, a fairly brash and arrogant character in earlier novels has grown psychologically and hence crosses over to the district attorney's side to prosecute a child murderer who is being released from prison after 24 years. His release is based on a new DNA finding. Bosch is in a supporting role as his investigator though he is almost a co-lead in this story. Also playing a supporting role is Haller's ex-wife Maggie McPherson as a prosecuting attorney assisting Haller in this case. One of the things I like so well about the Connelly novels is the way he develops and continually expands our knowledge of his characters; when he intermingles them in novels that only adds to the fun.
The story, replete with the expected twists and turns is a convincing police/legal procedural, certainly up to the standard we have come to expect from Connelly. The action is fast paced and I think tempts the reader to stay up half the night finishing this story. There were two items that prevented me from giving this story five stars. One I struggled with the change in voice. When Haller spoke it was in the first person, when Bosch was the key character it was described in the third person. This might have worked if Bosch was not so frequently present in the story, but for me it was confusing and took some getting used to as the action moved along. The second problem for me was the ending, it was without drama. I won't give away the ending but I bet you guess what happens fairly quickly. There was lots of psychological baggage and moral ambiguity picked up by both Haller and Bosch that I am sure will reappear in future novels. Definitely a solid effort from Connelly!
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59 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2010
I don't see where all the praise for "The Reversal" is coming from. I've read all of Connelly's books in the series and this one is easily the worst. As a suspense/mystery novel I'm trying to find where these elements exist in the story line. There are no twists in the plot and I kept wondering what was going to happen to shake things up but you get nothing. The ending was very anti-climactic with a hint that something was about to happen but then the book ends and that's it.

You can easily skip this book and not miss anything in the development of the characters. My recommendation is that if you still insist on reading it then save your money and check it out from the library.
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54 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2010
There are thousands of terrible books written every year. Yet, even after all this time, it always bothers me when a talented author succumbs to the siren call of mediocrity and starts churning out poor prose. I am aware of the financial pressures on authors, and I am well aware that good writing is not rewarded any more, but you know what? It still bothers me every time.

Whether it's Stephen King, descending from Salem's Lot to reach the depths of Under the Dome; Michael Crichton, whose crisp writing in Andromeda Strain was nowhere evident in his later novels; William Gibson, whose work represents a steep but steady decline since Neuromancer; even Ishiguro, whose latest work was unreadable next to Remains of the Day - all these annoy me.

Now Connelly joins the crowd. While The Lincoln Lawyer was tightly written and suspensefully plotted, this latest Mickey Haller novel is awful. It's terrible in so many ways, that I am not sure where to start, but here goes.

(1) The writing. The prose style is pitched carefully at a sixth-grade reading level, albeit interspersed with a tremendous stream of profanity. It's extremely boring to read, full of simplistic word choices, dull syntax; it mainly comprises insipid dialog in fact.

(2) The plot. The plot is just a bunch of cliches from police procedurals strung together. I do not want to be accused of spoiling the plot, such as it is, so I do not want to adduce examples, but there are a ridiculous number of cliches. Basically most every plot point comes from some bad movie or TV show. In Lincoln Lawyer, I sensed the author knew something about how law was actually practiced; here, I just sense the author has watched a lot of movies about the police.

(3) The characters. The most annoying thing about this book is that it eviscerates the character of Haller. Rather than being a reflective, intelligent attorney who peers beneath the surface of things as in the earlier books, Haller is portayed as a simple-minded bully. If Connelly must write a bad book, why can't he at least use new characters? Why ruin good characters?

In conclusion, there is nothing to recommend about this book.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2010
I agree with all the # 3 and lower ratings. I loved Bosch and Haller - just not together. This was just a revolving door of previously excellent characters just popping in and out at random. All were shadows of their former selves - just one dimensional at best. While plots are important it's the character development that I enjoy the most and this was very deficient in that area. I've read all the Bosch books, The Lincoln Lawyer and The Brass Verdict, all which I loved. This falls so far short of any of the others I'm just mystified about the positive reviews. I think most of those reviewers might actually make it in Hollywood as screenwriters. The reviews were very diagnostic and thoughtful, but to get that much meat out of vegetarian fare requires no small amount of literary talent.

This reminds me of the next to last John Sanford/Lucas Davenport book where he let his son either help him write it or edit it - just a disaster. Fortunately it only took him one book to figure out that it didn't work. Ditto the Robert K. Tanenbaum/Butch Karp books written with ghost writer Michael Gruber. They apparently stopped writing together and Tanenbaum wrote the next book, Hoax, by himself. I never bought another of his books after that - they were that bad. However, I did buy some Michael Gruber books. I hope Connelly reverts to his normal method with his next book, although with the encouragement of the rave reviews I might have to cross him off too.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2010
I was going to download this to my Sony Reader, but I wasn't about to pay $14.99, so I got it from the library. I'm glad I did. I have read all of Connelly's books and this one was disappointing. The story was too heavy on the courtroom scene and he can't tell a courtroom drama like John Grisham. It seemed at the end that Connelly remembered that Harry Bosch was in this one and turned it into a detective story.

The story never grabbed you and made you want to read more, like his other books. I hope he isn't going the way of other writers, like Stuart Woods, and just popping out a book a year to make the deadline on his contract.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This book starts with an interesting premise, Haller changes sides and becomes a prosecutor. All the drama getting ready for the trial and watching him reorient his thinking is quite interesting. But after that, the book just falls flat. The story just ends. There is no resolution in any of the story lines. I wouldn't recommend buying it or investing too much time in it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The perceptive voice of former defense attorney Mickey Hatcher leads the reader into a case of kidnapping and murder that occurred twenty-four years ago. Most of the witnesses and officials are deceased or mentally unable to remember the details of the case.

Mickey crosses the aisle from defense and is hired by the prosecuting attorney to work on this case as a prosecutor. Jason Jessup has been in prison for nearly a quarter of a century for his crime but is granted a retrial based on new DNA evidence.

To recreate this case, Mickey is joined by Harry Bosch of the LAPD.

Harry must review the evidence and attempt to find a key witness, the victim's sister, Sarah, who was age thirteen when the crime was committed.

Celebrity defense attorney Clive Rivas defends Jessup and relishes his every moment in front of TV and news reporters. Jessup feels that he will be set free and make millions from a book deal. Clive Rivas doesn't mind bending the rules while defending Jessup.

The novel does a nice job in dealing with the grievous subject of a child kidnapping and murder. Both Mickey and Harry have young daughters themselves and we can see the feeling of a parent when there is a killer who preys on the most innocent and vulnerable children.

The enticing story mixes the history of the crime and what was happening at that time. We also see the present and Mickey and Harry's attempt to prove that Jessup was guilty and send him back to prison.

Harry, Mickey and Sarah are sympathetic characters who are well described and generate feelings of hope for the reader. I enjoyed the story and felt drawn to the characters and what they were going through.
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