pen rainbow

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday—The Reading Corner—The Brass Verdict

 The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly  ★★★★1/2

If you enjoyed, The Lincoln Lawyer, you're going to like The Brass Verdict, too.    In fact, you may even like this one better.

As with any good sequel, The Brass Verdict brings back some of my favorite characters from the first book and introduces some really great new ones.  Without revealing anything about the ending of The Lincoln Lawyer, the Brass Verdict jumps off with an unanticipated set of circumstances.  Our intrepid hero, Mickey Haller, is more vulnerable this time, and we see him work through the labyrinth of his next big case on shakier ground.

Michael Connelly does a great job of putting you in the courtroom as the lawyers, judges, jury, and key witnesses weave through the layers of evidence.  We are introduced to a new character, Hieronymous Bosch, the hard-boiled and somewhat mysterious veteran police detective who works on the case parallel to Mickey's legal team.  Mickey ex-wife/office manager, Lorna, is back.  His other ex-wife, prosecutor Maggie McFierce, is back, along with his daughter.

The Brass Verdict is a great read, especially if you've ever been on jury duty.  I was selected as an alternate juror the first time I was called up thirty years ago.  The case was held at the County courthouse in Martinez, and the defendant was accused of stealing a car.  As an alternate juror, I attended court every day and sat in on the deliberations.  This was my first exposure to a real courtroom, and after a week-long trial, the guy was convicted.

A few years ago, I was called up for a grand jury selection in San Francisco.  I did not make the cut because I'd been a Girl Scout leader for 10 years, and the case involved two teenaged girls in Berkeley who had been illegally brought into the country as part of a forced labor ring.  One died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning in the apartment building owned by the man who had been running the operation.  He was convicted, but the case was on appeal.  During questioning, I was asked by one of the defense attorneys if I had felt protective over the junior-high girls in my troop, and I responded truthfully with, "Yes."  That's the thing about jury selection.  You'll either be chosen or not chosen for all the right reasons.

Last year, I was called up by our local municipal court, and the case was settled before the jury selection began.  The whole process of jury selection is tedious, but the human component can be dramatic, and The Brass Verdict takes you inside of that process.  It drags a little when it comes to courtroom procedures (just like the real thing), but that tends to make the story and the characters more realistic.

I am currently reading, The Reversal, by the same author.  Like Darth Vader, Mickey Haller has gone to the Dark Side, and this time, he's a special prosecutor.  This is a fun series, and the books get more engaging as you work your way through.  Perfect for summer time reading!