Thursday 27 October 2011


The only complaint I have about this novel is that it is just too darn short. I wanted it to go on and on and on because it was such a good read. There were so many interesting subplots and relationships that it could have been twice as long and still as riveting. Who knows, perhaps, Connelly intends to pick this story up at a later date and write a sequel, in which case I shall most certainly read it.

The plot is as thus:-

Jason Jessop, who is a really nasty piece of work, has spent 24 years on death row having been convicted of murdering a young girl, Melissa Landy. However, new DNA evidence has revealed that traces of sperm found on her dress came not from Jessop but from her dead father and so a retrial has been ordered.

Enter Mickey Haller, normally a defence attorney, who has been recruited as a special prosecutor. He is to be aided by Maggie McPherson, a highly effective deputy district attorney. And by the way, she is one of his ex-wives, his secretary being his other ex-wife. Now that's an unusual triangle.

And the wonderful detective Harry Bosch, who is my favourite literary detective, has been hired to act as Haller's investigator. Bosch is a solitary character, dedicated to his job and bloody good at it. His way of relaxing is to drink beer on his balcony overlooking the noisy LA freeway, which quite clearly doesn't bother him, listening to jazz music. He's pretty hopeless at relationships but I, for one, adore him. Above all, I like his integrity and total disregard for authority. And yes, he always solves the crime.

Both Haller and Bosch are regulars in Connelly's novels but this is the first time that I've read a novel featuring both of them. They are very different in personality and since both are strong-willed, tensions arise. But they are united in their desire to re-convict Jessop, particularly as they have teenage daughters whom Jessop could very well target.

Bosch feels sure that Haller has killed before but this is not fully explored hence my suspicion that there is another novel concerning Jessop in the offing.

Most of the action takes place in the courtroom and Connelly gives a fascinating insight into the tactics of both prosecuting and defending lawyers. The most disturbing aspect is the attempts by both sides to destroy the credibility of witnesses. Character assassination at its very worst.

And now you know what I'm going to say. If you want to know more, buy the book and read it and you won't be disappointed.

Unlike many successful authors who produce novels at an alarmingly fast rate, Connelly maintains a consistently high standard of writing and his plots are fresh and riveting and very topical. If I want a novel that I know I will enjoy, particularly if I'm going on holiday, I always turn to Michael Connelly.

Enticingly, the first chapter of Connelly's next novel – The Fifth Witness –is included at the end of The Reversal. Mikey Haller features in this one and it is quite clearly based on the sub-prime scandal. And yes, I'm hooked already!

Monday 17 October 2011


Time flies like an arrow - truth travels like a banana

Saturday 1 October 2011


Treme is the latest HBO production to be available as a box set and since it is advertised as being the first season then hopefully more are to follow.

Set in New Orleans six months after the devastating hurricane which caused massive flooding and thus loss of life, loss of homes, and loss of livelihoods, it tells the story of individual musicians, chefs and residents struggling against the odds to restore some normality to their lives, in many cases to actually find out if close relatives are still alive, to find somewhere to live and to earn a living.

Characterisation is developed very quickly and so you get involved in their lives very quickly. Not surprising really since it comes from the creators of The Wire, which is, of course, the best TV series ever created. YEAH !!!

And it has all the hallmarks of The Wire: a multitude of scenes involving easily identified characters and the subtle weaving together of different plot strands. Plus, many of the actors were also in The Wire. Wendell Pierce, for example, plays a happy-go-lucky charasmatic trombonist who has an eye for the girls, and the wonderful Clarke Peters plays a steely willed musician who concentrates on Native Indian music.

But perhaps the dominant character is the music itself as we see musicians striving to re-establish the great New Orleans tradition of jazz, so there is hardly a scene without wonderful jazz music as the focus or in the background.

Life is exceedingly difficult, money is scarce and it is a struggle to survive. And, as with The Wire, it presents a powerful condemnation of the political situation in America. In the case of Treme, it is the reluctance of the government to help rebuild the city of New Orleans and to help its residents.

This is made abundantly clear by the podcasts of the University academic, played brilliantly by John Goodman, as he berates the government for its inactivity, using very forceful language. These podcasts are very funny but poignant at the same time.

A production like Treme can explore and expose inadequacies in the system far more effectively than a documentary.

Despite this bittersweet underlying theme, Treme is a delight to watch and I shall certainly be getting Season Two if and when it is released.