The Reversal by Michael Connelly

The Reversal by Michael Connelly
The Reversal (Mickey Haller, #3; Harry Bosch Universe, #21) 
by Michael Connelly (Goodreads Author)


EXCERPT: Jason Jessup was a convicted child killer who had spent nearly twenty-four years in prison until a month earlier when the California Supreme Court reversed his conviction and sent the case back to Los Angeles County for either retrial or a dismissal of the charges. The reversal came after a two-decade long legal battle staged primarily from Jessup’s cell and with his own pen. Authoring appeals, motions, complaints and whatever legal challenges he could research, the self-styled lawyer made no headway with state and federal courts but did finally win the attention of an organization of lawyers known as the Genetic Justice Project. They took over his cause and his case and eventually won an order for genetic testing of semen found on the dress of the child Jessup had been convicted of strangling.

Jessup had been convicted before DNA analysis was used in criminal trials. The analysis performed these many years later determined that the semen found on the dress had not come from Jessup but from another unknown individual. Though the courts had repeatedly upheld Jessup’s conviction, this new information tipped the scales in Jessup’s favor. The state’s Supreme Court cited the DNA findings and other inconsistencies in the evidence and trial record and reversed the case.

This was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of the Jessup case, and it was largely information gathered from newspaper stories and courthouse scuttlebutt. While I had not read the court’s complete order, I had read parts of it in the Los Angeles Times and knew it was a blistering decision that echoed many of Jessup’s long-held claims of innocence as well as police and prosecutorial misconduct in the case. As a defense attorney, I can’t say I wasn’t pleased to see the DA’s office raked over the media coals with the ruling. Call it underdog schadenfreude. It didn’t really matter that it wasn’t my case or that the current regime in the DA’s office had nothing to do with the case back in 1986, there are so few victories from the defense side of the bar, that there is always a sense of communal joy in the success of others and the defeat of the establishment.

The Supreme Court’s ruling was announced the week before, starting a 60-day clock during which the DA would have to retry or discharge Jessup. It seemed that not a day had gone by since the ruling that Jessup was not in the news. He gave multiple interviews by phone and in person at San Quentin, proclaiming his innocence and pot-shotting the police and prosecutors who put him there. In his plight, he had garnered the support of several Hollywood celebrities and athletes and had already launched a civil claim against both the city and county seeking millions of dollars in damages for the many long years during which he was falsely incarcerated. In this day of non-stop media cycles, he had a never-ending forum and was using it to elevate himself to folk hero status. When he finally walked out of prison, he too would be a celebrity.

Knowing as little as I did about the case in the details, I was of the impression that he was an innocent man who had been subjected to a quarter century of torture and that he deserved whatever he could get for it. I did, however, know enough about the case to understand that with the DNA evidence cutting Jessup’s way, the case was a loser and the idea of retrying Jessup seemed to be an exercise in political masochism unlikely to come from the brain trust of Williams and Ridell.

Unless . . .

THE BLURB: Longtime defense attorney Mickey Haller is recruited to change stripes and prosecute the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. After 24 years in prison, convicted killer Jason Jessup has been exonerated by new DNA evidence. Haller is convinced Jessup is guilty, and he takes the case on the condition that he gets to choose his investigator, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch.
Together, Bosch and Haller set off on a case fraught with political and personal danger. Opposing them is Jessup, now out on bail, a defense attorney who excels at manipulating the media, and a runaway eyewitness reluctant to testify after so many years.

With the odds and the evidence against them, Bosch and Haller must nail a sadistic killer once and for all. If Bosch is sure of anything, it is that Jason Jessup plans to kill again.

MY THOUGHTS: The Reversal by Michael Connelly is an intense read. I have never been a great fan of the courtroom drama, which this largely is, but I am starting to think that I would read a shopping list if Connelly has written it.

Featuring both Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch, The Reversal is neither a straight courtroom drama, nor a detective story, but a clever and compelling combination of the two. The tension increases throughout the book, relieved only by glimpses into the family lives of the two main characters, and sometimes not even then!

I have previously read #1 in the Mickey Haller series, the Lincoln Lawyer, and rated it 3☆. This is just so much better, a good solid 4☆ read.

I listened to the audiobook of The Reversal by Michael Connelly, narrated by Peter Giles, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2220734356