“The Brass Verdict,” by Michael Connelly; Little, Brown ($26.99)

A solid, suspenseful plot full of twists and surprises is de rigueur for a Michael Connelly novel – and he certainly brings plenty of that in his 19th novel.

“The Brass Verdict’s” riveting story doubles as a highly charged legal thriller and a finely nuanced police procedural. But a richer, bolder story about family, especially brothers and fathers, redemption and recovery quickly rises to the top.

“The Brass Verdict” is equally a story about L.A.P.D. detective Harry Bosch, Connelly’s perennial series hero, and defense attorney Mickey Haller, who debuted in the evocative “Lincoln Lawyer” (2005). Harry and Mickey are half brothers, a situation Connelly established in his first novel, “The Black Ice” ( 1993.) Separated by decades in age, the two are at opposite ends – Harry raised in foster homes after his prostitute mother was murdered; Mickey was a child of privilege. Harry knows who Mickey is; Mickey has no idea about their shared history.

Mickey returns to the law when he inherits the practice of a high-powered attorney who was murdered mid-trial defending a Hollywood studio executive accused of killing his wife and her lover. As Mickey tries to come up to speed on the case, Harry investigates the attorney’s murder. Connelly sets up the two as competitors – each resentful and suspicious of the other. But for each to succeed, Mickey and Harry will eventually have to cooperate with each other.

Connelly’s skills at melding plot, character and scenery into a cohesive unit shine in “The Brass Verdict.” He spotlights both characters, showing the nuances, flaws and strengths in each. Each is more alike than they know, from the restaurants they frequent to the different view each man’s home has of the same area of Los Angeles to their innate sense of honor and justice.

“The Brass Verdict” is gold.


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