Reflections On The Literary Pages; The Reversal By Michael Connelly

Posted on October 12, 2010

By Mohit Sinha:

Connelly’s The Reversal has just arrived. As far as I could gather from the reviews, the book brings Mickey Haller, the hot shot lawyer from The Lincoln Lawyer, which was the author first foray into legal thrillers and it came close to John Grisham at his very best, and his moodier half brother Harry Bosch, the long-suffering LAPD police detective whom thousands have grown to admire, in the classic setting where a convicted child killer, imprisoned for twenty-years, is granted a retrial on the basis of some new DNA evidence.

Haller, however, is convinced that the convict is guilty and brings the most able investigator Bosch to hunt for clues. This political tainted cold-case makes the opposites rake up the past together and face down a killer. To quote Janet Maslin from the New York Times, “Mr. Connelly has returned to solid ground in The Reversal and, once the story’s larger framework is in place, he executes the subtle sleight of hand that makes each of his books so much more than the sum of its parts. Harry expertly tracks down leads in this long-neglected case, while Mickey prepares for the chess maneuvers of the trial. And when all of the characters begin working together, sparks really fly”.

In this flooded market of thrillers and potboilers, Connelly definitely is a safe bet. This LA Times news reporter does a Raymond Chandler in the modern world of LAPD and his Harry Bosch surely ranks among the best hounds ever created since the times of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes, my childhood hero, was a man of fashionable traits and obviously his reasoning had a captivating charm to it. Bosch, unlike him, is not an intuitive genius and does not exercise “the grey cells” much like Poirot either. As we learn in short order in any mystery, you just never know what someone may be capable of–but Bosch does. Society has vested in Bosch the power to judge–not to convict or sentence, but to judge, a rather fine distinction. He has a great knack of seeing within the cues and following what he believes in. We see often see him stuck and torn between various situations, much like us in real life situations, and his worries are sometimes our own. His most defining character trait describes his motivation to find the truth in any case, no matter where the investigation leads, and no matter the nature of the victim and the circumstances. What is amazing is you get into the head and heart of the detective in such a way that you feel your heart racing.

Echo Park was the first book that I read of Mr. Connelly and I have read a good deal of him since then. I am one of his biggest fans now. Be it The Poet, The Narrows, The Scarecrow, Echo Park, The Brass Verdict or Trunk Music, I have loved them all. I concur with those who hail him as modern Dostoyevsky of crime fiction. Connelly weaves his plots intelligently and his books do not have that formulaic potboiler stink to it. The fact that he has won every major award in his genre says a lot about the man rather than my burgeoning account. He has definitely raised the literary bar for other suspense/thriller writers. His gift is to take simple but powerful themes and invest them with new life and meaning by way of particularly adept characterizations. Janet Masin, correctly, says, “Mr. Connelly writes true-to-life fiction about true crime. What makes his crime stories ring most true is that they’re never really over.”

The Reversal is surely my next read. I’m a Connelly loyalist after all.

The writer is a Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.