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Book Author: Michael Connelly

RESURRECTION WALK by Michael Connelly: Book Review

When you are in the hands of a master, you know it immediately.  From the opening pages of Resurrection Walk, the reader is drawn into the world of defense attorney Mickey Haller and retired Los Angeles Police Detective Harry Bosch, now a private investigator.

The life sentence of Jorge Ochoa has been vacated after a court finding that he was innocent of the crime of murder for which he was imprisoned fourteen years earlier.  Following the publicity that followed his release due to the efforts of Haller, the lawyer finds himself inundated with letters from prisoners asking for his help.

Most of them don’t convince him of their innocence, but Haller decides to take a closer look at one with the assistance of his friend and half-brother Bosch.  Lucinda Sanz has been incarcerated at Chino Prison for five years for a crime she says she didn’t commit.  She was accused of killing her ex-husband, shooting him twice in the back as he left her home after a brief argument.

Her original attorney, Frank Silver, had persuaded her, given the wealth of evidence that the prosecution had, to plead nolo contendere, guilty to manslaughter, accepting the conviction as though a guilty plea had been submitted to the court but not in fact admitting her guilt.  She did as Silver advised, not being sophisticated in the way the justice system worked, but she has always maintained her innocence and is now reaching out to Haller for his help.

When Haller confronts Silver, the latter is unapologetic, saying he himself had been threatened and was given no choice but to advise his client to plead the way she did.  He tells Haller, “I just told her (Sanz) to take the deal.  That it was the only way.”

Lucinda’s former husband had been a deputy sheriff in a notoriously corrupt sheriff’s department, so Haller and Bosch begin their search there to prove their client’s innocence.  In the process they uncover not only what actually happened the night of the shooting but the reason that the federal government is trying to stop their investigation.

Many of the characters Michael Connelly has created reappear, even if briefly, in a number of his novels including this one, and thus readers get the sense of an actual community of both friends and foes of the protagonist(s).  His skill at making these characters come alive, as well as his brilliant plots, are the reasons he has received nearly every award in the crime fiction genre, including the Edgar, the Anthony, the Maltese Falcon Award (Japan), the Premio Cancarella Award (Italy), and the Cartier Diamond Award.

You can read more about Michael Connelly at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.



THE LAW OF INNOCENCE by Michael Connelly: Book Review

It takes a really talented author to write a mystery in which the protagonist is accused of a crime where all the evidence against him is damning, yet the reader knows that he will be proven innocent.  Such is the case in Michael Connelly’s latest novel, The Law of Innocence.

Of course, mystery readers know that Connelly is a creative writer, one who can start a plot with a missing license plate and end it with the defendant on trial for murder.  And in this case the defendant is Mickey Haller, aka The Lincoln Lawyer.  In the first book of the series, Mickey was without an office, working out of his car; that’s how he got his nickname.

Now he’s a well-known attorney, famous for his defense of criminals both major and minor, and not exactly beloved by the Los Angeles police department and the sheriff’s office.  But even Mickey is surprised by the turn his life takes after his staff and friends put together an impromptu celebration following a not guilty verdict for his client.

Following the party, Mickey gets in his car and drives only a couple of blocks when he’s pulled over by a policeman.  He’s told that his rear license plate is missing, which mystifies him, and when he and the officer walk to the rear of the car, they both see something dripping from the trunk.  “Is that blood?” the cop asks.

The officer puts Mickey in his patrol car, then opens the car’s trunk.  Although Mickey can’t see its interior, he can tell from the cop’s expression that there’s a body inside.  And the next thing Mickey knows, he’s in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles.  He realizes he’s been set up, but he can’t figure out who set him up or why.

Mickey’s team consists of his investigator “Cisco” Wojciechowski, his law partner Jennifer Aronson, and his case manager and second ex-wife Lorna Taylor; the three immediately begin working on his behalf.  As the case progresses, Mickey’s half-brother Harry Bosch, a former detective in the Los Angele police department, and Maggie McPherson, Mickey’s first wife and the mother of his daughter, join the group, convinced of Mickey’s innocence.  Even with this team, things are not looking good for the Lincoln Lawyer, but he’s sticking to the mantra he learned from his late father’s law partner:  Act like a winner and you’ll become a winner.

Mickey Haller is an engaging character, always edging close to the edge of the law but never quite crossing over it.  The Law of Innocence is filled with well-drawn characters and a plot that is clever and engrossing.  As I noted at the beginning of this post, you’re never in doubt of the outcome of Mickey’s trial, but it’s the getting there that makes this novel so enjoyable.

You can read more about Michael Connelly at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden Oldies, Past Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.



THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBY by Michael Connelly: Book Review

Being a cop is in one’s DNA, according to veteran police detective Harry Bosch.  Harry was forced to retire from the Los Angeles Police Department and is now working as a private investigator.  Still missing police work, he’s taken a part-time job working on cold cases, with no pay and no benefits, at the very small San Fernando Police Department.

Now Harry’s working on two cases simultaneously, one private and one official.  The private one comes via his former supervisor at the LAPD, John Creighton, dismissively known to his former colleagues as The Cretin.  Creighton is now the head of Trident Security, a multi-national security firm, and he’s asked Harry to take a job for one of their clients.  Although at first determined not to accept the job due in great part to his dislike of Creighton, Harry reconsiders when he’s offered a $10,000 check simply to meet with the client, the billionaire Whitney Vance.

When he meets Vance the following morning, he’s intrigued by the story the client tells him and the reason he wants to hire the detective.  So Harry agrees to look into the problem, working under an agreement of total secrecy, warned to speak only to Vance himself if/when he discovers anything.

At the same time Harry is working on a series of five rapes that have happened over a period of four years in the city of San Fernando.  Dubbed by the press the Screen Cutter, the rapist slits through the screens of first floor windows or back doors and assaults and terrorizes the women.  Nothing connects the victims, but because the scenarios are identical Harry believes the assailant was the same each time, someone who had access in some way to the women’s homes.  Trying to tie these cases in with others outside the city hasn’t worked, but Harry and his colleague Bella Lourdes continue to follow every lead, hoping to succeed before the rapist finds another victim.

Readers of the Harry Bosch series will discover that age has not softened or slowed down the detective.  Still chaffing at what he regards as unnecessary rules, Harry refuses to sign in or out at the station house as required.  He’s also using the department’s computer to aid him in his search on the Vance matter, another ruler-breaker.  Harry has left a trail of angry supervisors in his wake from previous positions he’s held, in great part because of his disregard for regulations; the only thing that has saved his career over the long haul is his success in closing homicide cases, over one hundred of them.

The author of more than thirty books, both fiction and non-fiction, Michael Connelly is a master story-teller.  The characters in The Wrong Side of Goodbye are real, the plot compelling.  With his latest novel, he has written another winner.

You can read more about Michael Connelly at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.