Daily Archives: February 6, 2012

The Reversal by Michael Connelly (Review #2)

The Reversal Reviewed by Allen Hott

This guy is good. Every book by Connelly is a best seller but I really believe that The Reversal may be the best of the best. He uses some of his usual characters but in a slightly different manner and that little subtlety makes for a really great story.

Those of you familiar with The Lincoln Lawyer know of Mickey Haller, a defense attorney, who basically uses the Lincoln that he drives as his office. Seems as though he likes to be able to move quickly in response to his clients. Most of which are folks needing help in defending themselves against legal charges, quite often murder charges actually.

Strangely enough in this story Haller has been approached by the District Attorney to work as a prosecuting attorney. The reason being is that the case involves a man being released from prison after serving 24 years for the murder of a young girl. The DA wants to immediately recharge the man because he believes that the courts were wrong in throwing out his murder charge. Not only does he want the man back in prison but he also, along with the local and state authorities, does not want to have to face a suit by the defendant for an old false arrest if the defendant’s lawyer can prove that was the case.

Haller reluctantly agrees to work as a prosecutor but only if the DA will reinstate Haller’s ex-wife (Maggie McPherson) in the main LA office from which she was removed. And also Haller tells the DA that he (Haller) will have full charge of the case as it proceeds. There is to be no interference from the DA or any of his staff. The DA reluctantly agrees because he does feel that Haller is possibly the only one outside of his office who can do this case and get the right results.

Haller also wants Maggie to be the second chair on the prosecuting team. Not only is she extremely competent but she also can give Haller help when he needs it in his courtroom tactics as he is on the opposite side of the aisle on this one.

A lot of snooping is required to find witnesses and information to this very old murder and trial. Along with Haller and Maggie, Harry Bosch is picked by Haller to be the lead investigator for the prosecution. Although the idea of Haller being a prosecuting attorney stuns Bosch, he quickly melds into the group because of his previous dealings with Haller.

And so now the story begins and it is a great one. Not only does Connelly cover the court room activity extremely well he also blends in some mystery and suspense to keep the reader completely entranced. The Reversal is without a doubt one of Connelly’s best it is also one of the best mystery thrillers ever. Great work!

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

In the Garden of BeastsReviewed by Allen Hott

An extremely interesting book that describes life in Germany during the rise of Adolf Hitler. What makes it so interesting is that it is nonfiction and contains many recorded conversations and glimpses of memos, letters and the like that transpired between many of the participants at that time.

William E. Dodd, who was a quiet and private type person, had been a professor in Chicago when he was picked by Franklin D. Roosevelt to become the U.S. ambassador to Germany in 1933. Dodd, a nationally recognized historian, was chosen against the wishes of many diplomats in Washington. Roosevelt had admired Dodd’s character and abilities from years of friendship. After he was unable to get someone to take the job, he picked Dodd. He felt that Dodd was the right man for the ambassadorship at this time because of his Jeffersonian background and his own frugality. These traits seemed to Roosevelt to be what could be helpful to the ambassador to Germany, a country that was having internal problems with their power structure.

So Dodd, his wife, son, and somewhat headstrong daughter head off to Berlin taking along the family auto because Dodd found it was cheaper to ship it over than to buy a new one in Germany. Roosevelt and his staff pressed hard upon Dodd to be sure to do everything possible to get Germany to repay 1.2 billion dollars that was owed to American creditors. However they also admitted to him privately that he was to monitor the political scene especially concerning this new Chancellor, Adolf Hitler.

No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie

No Mark Upon HerReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

No Mark Upon Her is the fourteenth book in the Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid series by Crombie. In my opinion, it is one of the best. The two protagonists have grown as the series has continued and this entry finds them settling into their married bliss with their respective sons, foster daughter and their two dogs. Their foster daughter Charlotte, is still adjusting to the loss of her parents causing first Gemma and then Duncan to plan family leave time to be with her. But being on leave does not keep Gemma from becoming involved when Kincaid is drawn into a case involving a Met Detective who happens to also have been an extremely good rower.

Rebecca Meredith was an A-type personality if ever there was one. She was a person driven in all aspects of her life. Plagued by memories of the Olympics she missed, she has decided to try again, even if it means giving up her job on the force in order to train. She took her shell out for a practice run late one afternoon, and never returned. The next morning, both her former husband and the coach of the Rowing Club sound the alarm. When her body is recovered, it soon becomes clear that Becca had been murdered.

Was Becca killed by a fellow rower to keep her out of the competition? Was her ex-husband regretting the generous divorce settlement? Or had she crossed someone in her job? As James and Kincaid get to know more about the victim, the possible suspect list grows to include one of their own. And if someone in the police is involved, who all was covering it up?

White Lies by Jeremy Bates

White LiesReviewed by Julie Moderson

Katrina Burton drives to her new job in Leavenworth Washington a small town tucked away in the Cascade Mountains and sees a young man hitchhiking on a deserted road in the pouring rain. She decides to do something she has never done before and offers the young man a ride. As soon as he is in her car she regrets it. He is a sullen, angry and obviously drunk. Katie never has been good at not telling the truth but she thought for her safety one little white lie wouldn’t hurt. As they drive, the next turn off is one before her exit so she lies to him and says this is the end of the ride. He gets belligerent and finally gets out of the car. Katie is trying to start a new life after her fiancé dies from cancer so when she found a teaching position she jumped the opportunity. She is shocked when she sees this man teaching at her school. The lies start to pile up as one lie leads to another.

When she meets a man at the hardware store, she jumps in to a relationship. He is the opposite of her former fiancé; Jack is a very tall, muscular take-charge man. He tries to help her straighten out the mess she has created with her little white lies. Then something goes terribly wrong and one lie leads to many more and Katrina is in over her head.