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Bookmarks Issue: 
50-Jan-Feb-2011
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A-The ReversalThis is the 22nd novel by Michael Connelly, who has won every major award given to mystery writers in the United States. Recently reviewed: Nine Dragons ( 3.5 of 5 Stars Jan/Feb 2010), The Scarecrow ( 4 of 5 Stars Selection July/Aug 2009), and The Brass Verdict ( 4 of 5 Stars Jan/Feb 2009), which brings together favorite characters Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch.

The Story: The exoneration based on DNA evidence of falsely convicted criminals is now a familiar story. But what if the reversal were wrong? That's the starting point for the plot of Michael Connelly's latest. The setup also provides an opportunity for an unconventional collaboration between two beloved characters from previous Connelly novels, police detective Harry Bosch and defense attorney Mickey Haller (who also happen to be half brothers). In an unusual twist, Haller joins the prosecution in a new trial of a man he believes abducted a young girl years ago, regardless of what the science says.
Little, Brown and Company. 400 pages. $27.99. ISBN: 9780316069489

Denver Post 4 of 5 Stars
"Michael Connelly's The Reversal grabs you with the first paragraph, and it makes no difference whether you're a newcomer or a longtime fan familiar with the back stories of the novel's serial characters. ... Those familiar with the characters will find both satisfaction and surprise, and newcomers will immediately pick up on the characters' often-prickly relationship." Robin Vidimos

Globe and Mail (Canada) 4 of 5 Stars
"What are the odds of an author, after publishing 20 novels, producing two stunning back-to-back books? In the world of contemporary noirish crime fiction, there's only one writer who can pull that sort of darkness out of a hat: Michael Connelly." Larry Orenstein

Los Angeles Times 4 of 5 Stars
"The Reversal, Connelly's new novel, might be his best: a crackling-good read, smart and emotionally satisfying. It manages to condense decades of time and reams of information into a compelling narrative that adeptly explores various elements of L.A.'s own version of what passes as a criminal justice system." Jonathan Shapiro

South FL Sun-Sentinel 4 of 5 Stars
"The Reversal, a searing novel that is easily one of the year's best, works well as a legal thriller, a police procedural and an intimate tale about the vagaries of family. ... Connelly continues to show why he is one of the best--and most consistent--crime writers around." Oline H. Cogdill

Tampa Bay Tribune 4 of 5 Stars
"[A] DNA exoneration is the beginning of the story, not the end, and a dark and shocking story it is. Connelly is one of the best contemporary writers of crime fiction, and in The Reversal he's at the top of his form." Colette Bancroft

New York Times 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Fortunately Mr. Connelly has returned to solid ground [after last year's Nine Dragons]. ... However venerable and well-loved Harry may be, it's become clear that Mickey's brazenness brings these books a new brio." Janet Maslin

Entertainment Weekly 3 of 5 Stars
"This year's production, the workmanlike The Reversal, is his third [book] in 18 months. ... But this time, Haller preposterously agrees to switch sides, working as a special prosecutor against an accused child killer who's not nearly as compelling as Connelly's best villains." Thom Geier

NY Times Book Review 3 of 5 Stars
"The challenge is to write a thriller that's both a courtroom drama and a police procedural, with perfectly balanced roles for Harry Bosch, the conscience-driven Los Angeles police detective who has long been Connelly's main man, and Mickey Haller, the ethically compromised defense attorney who's proud to call himself the ‘defender of the damned.' ... [D]espite the flashy plot mechanics, Connelly's strenuous efforts to maintain this symmetry inhibits his characters' individual styles. It's a swell stunt, but it's still a stunt." Marilyn Stasio

Critical Summary

The critics--Connelly fans for the most part--were excited to see the change in characterization he attempts here. Most felt that a story shared by police detective Bosh and defense attorney Haller allows Connelly to deepen his portrayal of the characters and to combine a police procedural with a courtroom drama. But some reviewers were skeptical of the setup, and a few found it downright gimmicky. Yet none doubted the consistently high quality of Connelly's mystery plots, and even those who doubted the wisdom of hitching these half brothers together looked forward to their next solo works.