The American’s latest novel is a sort of closed door between prison and court with Harry Bosch as a “guest star”.
At least the reader doesn’t travel too much. In Michael Connelly’s latest novel, there is a unity of place that has nothing to envy of Greek tragedies. It starts in the trunk of a car (which is quite common with Connelly), and continues in a jail-court lockdown, before standing in court again.
To summarize, it is out of a pot to celebrate his victory in court, that lawyer Mickey Haller is arrested for a license plate defect. Opening the trunk of the car, a cop conveniently finds a corpse inside. It is that of a crook that our lawyer defended on numerous occasions, until the client in turn scammed him. Logically accused of murder, Haller is imprisoned. He understands that he was trapped, but by whom, and especially why? He decides to ensure his own defense during the trial. The novel tells about the preparation of the trial and then its progress.
We know Connelly’s talent for pulling a thread without ever letting go. And he does it for the umpteenth time very effectively. Even if there are a few strings along the way. Thus, the parade of former women of Haller who come to defend him and relive a little past love. There is, as always, a daughter – in this case Haller’s daughter – who adores her father who adores her himself. There is the news; thus appear the Covid and the masks, but it is a furtive presence, and we guess the advice of the editor, “Give me a little covid to anchor the story in the present moment”. Finally, at a few moments the shadowy and magnificent Harry Bosch appears. Funny appearances… Officially he is Haller’s half-brother, but apart from this family link, his role is secondary, almost anecdotal. He is there, in the background, as if to make us dream.
In short, everything works perfectly. We emerge from Innocence and the law knowing everything about the intricacies of American legal proceedings, without being bored while turning the pages of the proceedings. And this is the main merit of this latest vintage from Michael Connelly.
Innocence and the law, Michael Connelly, translated from English by Robert Pépin, Calmann-Lévy, 450 pp. 876 pp., 21.90 euros.