The Brass Verdict, by Michael Connelly

The Brass Verdict (Mickey Haller, #2)The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a while now, I’ve been squeezing into my meager reading time books Donald Maass used as examples in his writer’s manual The Fire in Fiction. Connelly’s The Brass Verdict served as an example of cutting a hero down to size, and it was a good choice for this illustration.

Part One of Connelly’s book shows the MC, defense attorney Micky Haller, twisting the knife in a prosecutor’s case and gaining freedom for a reprehensible client. Part Two opens several months later with a different Haller, on who’d been humbled by a gunshot wound. The exchange between him and the judge in the scene illustrates a more mature and reserved defense attorney. One that had been brought down to size. This is where he learns he’d just inherited a remarkable case load from another attorney who’d been murdered.

As the story progresses, Haller begins leaping buildings in single bounds, so to speak, as Connelly builds him up again, making his fall by the end of the book more dramatic. The secret to his fall is revealed in the first chapter:

Everybody lies.
Cops lie. Lawyers lie. Witnesses lie. The victims lie.
A trial is a contest of lies . . .

Even in the glory of figuring out the case, Haller is unwittingly entwined in a web of lies, and the web brings him down, not morally, but deep within his own heart, to the point he announces he’s quitting law. The descent was masterfully crafted, as was the final question: Will he bounce back?

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About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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6 Responses to The Brass Verdict, by Michael Connelly

  1. Nice review, Linda. And great quoted lines. I do love the idea of cutting a hero down to size. It’s much easier for us to fall in love with the characters we create; but necessary to give them problems to make them more interesting—and real.


    • Linda Yezak says:

      It was interesting watching him, comparing him at the first of the book–while he was on top of the world–to later in the book, when Connelly brought him to the top of the world again. That short flirtation with humility was a great contrast, but it didn’t last long. Made for an interesting character arc.


  2. Sounds interesting. Lately, I’ve been dealing with the problem of making potentially unlikable characters likable. Always a challenge!


  3. Again, such good advice and examples. Thanks for sharing, Linda.


  4. jagerfoods says:

    I enjoyed the review. Thanks for keeping us up to date on our crime fiction!


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