April 28, 2011

The Reversal ***

*** The Reversal, Michael Connelly, 2010

In this Bosch/Haller novel Connelly did what I thought he was going to do the first time he brought the two together, and it works. In The Brass Verdict there was one POV, Haller. In The Reversal, there are two POVs - Haller in first as he is in all his novels, and Bosch in third, as he is in all the novels where he's on the force.

It feels like Haller's story, mainly because it's a court case, not an investigation and he has most of the screen time, but Bosch is not shortchanged. He gets some rocking scenes. Also, Haller's switch from defense to prosecution is fascinating. And it was good to get the girls together.

However, at times I got a little weary of the story. It might have something to do with reading 21 Connelly novels back to back. I suspect they're better if you ration them out instead of inhaling them like a family-size bag of potato chips. I did the same thing with Wodehouse in the last millenium and found that if you read too many in a row, they all start to feel the same. Best to only read a few a year. The upside is that if you ration them out, you get to enjoy a good writer over the long haul.

April 21, 2011

9 Dragons ***

*** 9 Dragons, Michael Connelly, 2009

Holy freaking cow! Just when you thought Connelly had pushed things as far as they could go, 9 Dragons comes out and blows the doors off, reinforcing what we already know, that nobody is safe in a Connelly novel. There are no sacred cows, or characters.

I found one thing interesting about the writing. At the end, Connelly goes off camera just before a really big, dramatic scene and then picks up several days later, telling the scene in summary flashback. I'd like to hear his reasoning for taking the edge off a big action scene like that. Then, a page or two later, he reveals in dialog and inner monolog a conclusion Bosch came to days earlier, which also seems like watering it down a bit.

Regarding his conclusion, I knew something was off because the timeline of some key events, but I had misguessed the reason why. Can't say more because of spoilers.

This book illustrates that after twenty novels, Connelly can still deliver the full monty. It's worth reading the whole series just to read this book.

April 14, 2011

The Scarecrow ***

*** The Scarecrow, Michael Connelly, 2009

Off all the books I've read so far, this one is my least favorite. It has a good story, but the first 140 pages didn't grab me. We finally got some momentum a quarter of the way in and things got better, except for the tour of the colocation facility, which was boring even for me, and I know about such places, having helped design one over a decade ago. I can't imagine what it would be like for someone with no interest in technology to read that scene.

But beyond that, it was a story woth reading. I'll grant Connelly an off moment or two, after writing one astounding novel after another. Gracious of me, I know. That's just the kind of guy I am. Ask anybody. Heh.

April 7, 2011

The Brass Verdict ***

*** The Brass Verdict, Michael Connelly, 2008

We now have the answer to how Connelly handles a book with Haller and Bosch in it. It is all in Haller's POV, first person. Bosch doesn't show up much, and mainly in the last half of the book. It was great to see them interact, but I think this is the first time we've seen Bosch with an iPod and it seemed out of character to me. Bosch with an iPod? Even if he is listening to jazz, of course, it still seems weird.

By the way, Connelly pronounces Haller as Holler, which seems odd to me. I always pronouced it like Hal with an er on the end.

It's a great story but I felt it got a little heavy on the procedural side of things at times. Particularly during the 2 chapters (17 pages) of jury selection. It was important to the story, but it seemed tedious at the time. But things got back on track pretty quickly.

The end of the book has a real shocker that I won't spoil here, but it illustrates Connelly's penchant for cross-polinating characters.

SPOILER ALERT!! I do have one complaint which is a spoiler. I'll put it in small print so people who don't want to read it can more easily avoid accidentally picking up info.

I was a little annoyed that in both books, it looks like the client is innocent and then the big reveal at the end is that he's really guilty and Haller didn't know it. It was very effective in The Lincoln Lawyer, but then it happens again in The Bradd Verdict. I was waiting for a new twist on the big aha moment, and it turned out that Haller gets punked both times.

Only four more Connelly books left. I'm not going to know how to act without a Connelly book in my hand.