The Reversal (A Lincoln Lawyer Novel)
The Reversal (A Lincoln Lawyer Novel)
Michael Connelly
Little, Brown and Company, 2010
389 pp., $27.99

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LaVonne Neff

Beyond Hardboiled

Michael Connelly's dark but hopeful world.

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As a diehard Bosch fan, I was mildly disappointed that the team tends to overshadow him in The Reversal. The book's structure would appear to give both men equal billing—the point of view in every odd-numbered chapter is first-person Mickey Haller's, while in every even-numbered chapter it is third-person Harry Bosch's. However, in many of the even-numbered chapters, Bosch is simply present at a pre-trial conference or courtroom scene starring Haller.

Fans of Haller—a defense attorney who describes himself as a "member of the dark side" and "defender of the damned"—will enjoy watching him switch sides in The Reversal. This time he must use his considerable wits to gain a conviction rather than an acquittal, and it's not going to be easy. "Based on what we know so far," he tells his ex-wife and second chair, "I think I'd have a better chance if I were on the other side of the aisle."

Still, though the trial focuses on Mickey, its outcome hangs on Harry's investigative prowess—a skill based not on procedures or strategy, but on his intuitive understanding of the dark side. "It was about taking that dark thing you knew was out there in the world and bringing it inside," he reflects. " Making it yours. Forging it over an internal fire into something sharp and strong that you could hold in your hands and fight back with. Relentlessly."

Where to begin

The Reversal is a great read even if you've never read another Michael Connelly book, though readers already acquainted with Bosch and Haller are likely to appreciate more of its nuances. I can't imagine a more delightful way to spend every evening from now till Christmas than reading the first 21 Connelly novels, but you may have other plans. No problem—you don't need to read the books in sequence in order to enjoy them.

If you enjoy police procedurals, you might start with Blood Work. If you prefer creepy thrillers, The Scarecrow fills the bill. The Lincoln Lawyer (2005) is a riveting introduction to the ruthless but conflicted Mickey Haller. Echo Park (2006) or The Brass Verdict (2008) will bring you up to speed on Harry Bosch.

The important thing is to get started—really, any of Connelly's books will do—because by this time next year, there is bound to be a new one. By the last page of The Reversal, Bosch is already following another lead. As Haller says, he's "a man on a mission."

LaVonne Neff blogs about books, among other things.

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