Friday, August 22, 2014

mini-book reviews: Nine Dragons, The Reversal, and The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

I've been tearing through Michael Connelly's lengthy backlist, and I often find myself with repetitive things to say about them, so I'll mostly be doing mini-reviews of his titles, unless one compels me to write more deeply.

Note: these contain spoilers and references to prior Connelly books.

Nine Dragons is the fifteenth Harry Bosch mystery. When Harry and his partner catch the case of a murdered Chinese-American liquor store owner in South Los Angeles, Harry brings in the Asian Gang Unit to help. He also enlists the help of his daughter, Maddie, who lives in Hong Kong. Soon Maddie is kidnapped, and Harry's focus shifts to Hong Kong and saving her, while trying to figure out the connections between Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Nine Dragons is perhaps the most personal Harry Bosch novel yet. It's an intriguing mystery, but Maddie's kidnapping is a suspenseful thrill-ride through the chaotic streets of Hong Kong. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: library

The Reversal is the third Lincoln Lawyer novel featuring Mickey Haller. here, the LA District Attorney asks Mickey to serve as a special prosecutor to retry a child murderer after the 24-year-old verdict is reversed on appeal. Haller agrees, with two stipulations: his ex-wife, Maggie, an assistant district attorney, must serve as second chair, and Harry Bosch must be named the investigator. Seeing Mickey Haller as a prosecutor was fascinating, and it was a delight to have him working closely with Maggie and Harry throughout this novel. The mystery at the heart of this novel was also compelling. Connelly consistently comes up with believable situations to combine characters, and those efforts worth well here. While I found the resolution somewhat anti-climactic, the journey sure was fun.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: library

The Fifth Witness is the fourth Lincoln Lawyer novel featuring criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller. In this installment, criminal defense work has fallen off, and Mickey has become a specialist in foreclosure cases. The timeliness of this plot point was refreshing. Soon, however, Mickey finds himself back in the familiar territory of defending an accused murder. One of his foreclosure clients, a semi-famous anti-foreclosure activist, is accused of killing the banker trying to take away her home. The case receives a flurry of media attention, and it's a nice combination of intriguing mystery (if Lisa didn't do it, who did?) and contemporary social commentary. The trial is the bulk of this novel, and the pace felt slow to me at times, but the bright spots of suspense and surprise were well worth the slow spots.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: library

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