Wednesday, October 06, 2010

New from Michael Connelly: THE REVERSAL -- and Good Reasons to Buy That First Enhanced E-Book

It's the 16th book in the Harry Bosch series, and the third in the Mickey Haller set -- and in one intense package, Michael Connelly has drawn together his two well-liked series of crime fiction in THE REVERSAL. A fast-paced courtroom drama with investigations on the side, it's a daring tour-de-force in the way it plays the protagonists against their situation.

Haller, a defense attorney who works from the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car, is the newer of Connelly's protagonists, brash, ambitious, and eager to win back the respect of his ex-wife and their daughter. A surprising offer from Gabriel Waters, district attorney (DA) of Los Angeles County, gives Haller a chance to switch sides in the courtroom battle: a chance to work as an independent attorney to re-try a murderer who ironically has been freed by DNA evidence -- yet is almost certainly the killer he was revealed to be, 24 years earlier.

It's the sound of the phrase "Mickey Haller for the People" that lures Haller across to the prosecutor's table. That, plus being assured he can have his dream team: his ex-wife Maggie McPherson (a.k.a. Maggie McFierce), who is already a seasoned prosecutor; and the finest investigator possible -- his half-brother, Harry Bosch.

Connelly handles this startling conjunction by writing from two viewpoints: Mickey Haller in first person ("It should have made me feel good. It should have made me feel like I was part of something that was noble and right. But all I had was the bad feeling that I had crossed some sort of line within myself."), and Harry Bosch from the narrator via third person ("Bosch did a double take. Not because he didn't recognize Haller. They were half brothers and he easily knew him on sight. But seeing Haller in the DA's office was one of those images that didn't quite make sense.")

I have an awkward suspicion that in "real life," a threesome like Mickey, Harry, and Maggie would be considered way over-connected and wouldn't be allowed to work together. But with daughters who are cousins and haven't yet met, a lifetime of experience in LA County, and enough back story in previous Connelly volumes to give them a sense of how far they can trust each other -- pretty far, by now -- it's an ideal trio to tackle a truly tough assignment: Without letting the jury know that Jason Jessup was convicted and jailed, get a conviction for him all over again, in spite of the dicey DNA evidence.

Fans of the moody and dark Harry Bosch won't get quite enough of him this time -- but his darkness pairs with an apparent threat from Jessup against Harry's home and daughter, and that puts the stakes about as high as they're likely to get. What I missed here was the front-row seat to Harry's struggles with himself and his past; this story is more gray than noir, partly due to the sane, strong thinking of both Haller and Maggie in so many of the scenes.

But it's a good read, and it sets up another leap for the series. Umm, should we expect that the two have now merged for the forseeable future? There are clearly complications ahead as Harry's daughter and Mickey's daughter become accomplices in outwitting their parents ... On the other hand, the presence of the two girls may mean that the criminal defender and the criminal investigator have to keep things safer, cleaner, clearer -- have to create boundaries around the dirt and disaster of their work, to keep the girls protected. At any cost? Hmm, that's promising for the books ahead.


FLASH! The e-version of THE REVERSAL is already available. And there's an enhanced version for Apple devices (iPad etc.) that contains so many goodies that I am going to have to purchase it: 

  • Contextual in-line video footage relating to the storyline
  • Interactive maps of Los Angeles featuring locations from The Reversal
  • Commentary by Michael Connelly for Enriched Edition readers
  • The Reversal Video Reading Group Guide hosted by Michael Connelly
  • Timeline of Major Events in the Life of Mickey Haller
  • Timeline of Major Events in the Life of Harry Bosch
  • The Reversal location photographs
  • Author Q&A
  • Linked glossary
But I can't do it today, and probably not even this week... life is already jammed. So, if YOU have your copy already, please let the rest of us know how it feels. Wow!!

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