NEW CONNELLY AND REACHER: RESURRECTION WALK By Michael Connelly and THE SECRET By Lee and Andrew Child
Christmas is just around the corner and the big crime titles are coming at a rapid rate. Leading the latest releases are Resurrection Walk by Michael Connelly and The Secret by Lee and Andrew Child.
Michael Connelly is easily in the top half dozen of the world’s best crime writers, and a new release from him is always a highlight of the reading year.
Resurrection Walk (Allen & Unwin, 7 November 2023) is billed as a ‘Lincoln Lawyer Thriller’, but it also features the iconic Harry Bosch in a starring role. After freeing a man wrongly convicted of murder, Mickey Haller has launched a pro bono “in-house innocence project” to investigate questionable convictions. Drawing on the expertise of his half-brother, retired LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, to vet potential clients, Haller sets out to correct some wrongs in the LA legal system, while also maintaining his usual busy legal business.
Bosch recommends that Haller look into the case of Lucinda Sanz, who pled no contest to manslaughter five years earlier for fatally shooting her ex-husband Roberto, an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy. Sanz now claims she was innocent and entered the plea to avoid the risk of a life sentence after a trial. As the case never went to a jury, the records are sparse, but Bosch sees something that does not add up. Gradually he finds some evidence that suggests that Sanz may not be guilty, but he and Haller have to fight off a determined DA’s office, an outraged sheriff’s department and some very nasty types who do not want the truth to get out.
This is another tightly constructed crime novel by Connelly, with the viewpoint shifting seamlessly from Haller’s first person perspective to the third person reflections of Bosch. As always, the plot is tightly constructed and clever, and there is a good developing sense of suspense and tension as the story progresses. Within a few paragraphs Connelly has you caught up in Haller’s and Bosch’s worlds, and before you know it you are totally engrossed in the story and the pages are flying by. He quickly gets the reader across the details of the case that led to Haller’s ‘innocence project’ and a couple of other ongoing court cases, but the main focus is on the Sanz investigation. The details of the case are interesting and mysterious, and Connelly smoothly weaves in the convincing police and forensic detail so important to the story, as well as a raft of interesting legal details.
The highlight of any ‘Lincoln Lawyer’ novel is the court case and the one in Resurrection Walk is a ripper. There is the usual ebbing and flowing of the case, as the advantage moves back and forth between Haller and the DA’s office, and there are a couple of good surprises. Connelly always makes the legal manouvring fascinating and believeable, and there is not shortage of enjoyable antics by Haller.
Resurrection Walk also has the other elements we come to expect from a Connelly novel: astute and interesting characters, interesting reflections on society, vivid descriptions of LA, a strong sense of suspense and an unexpected and exciting conclusion. Regular readers of the Bosch and Haller books will also be interested to learn in the opening pages of Resurrection Walk that Bosch has enrolled in a clinical study for his myeloma leukemia, courtesy of Haller’s contacts and the health insurance that comes with working for him.
Overall, another first rate novel by Connelly and one of my favourites of the year.
Resurrection Walk is released in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States on 7 November, 2023. Thanks to the publishers and the Canberra Weekly for an advanced copy for review.
The other big release is The Secret, (Bantam, 24 October 2023), by Lee Child and Andrew Child.
The Secret is the fourth of the Reacher books since Lee Child handed over the primary writing role to his brother Andrew (Grant), and the first prequel that they have done together.
The Secret is set in 1992 and opens with Keith Bridgeman, who is in his early 60s, waking up in his hospital bed where he is recovering from a cardiac arrest to find two strange women standing there. They identify themselves as Veronica and Roberta Sanson, and they are interested in a top-secret bioweapons project in India that he was a part of in 1969. Before they end his life, by throwing him out of his hospital window, they inform Bridgeman that they have a personal stake in the project. It soon turns out that Bridgeman is just the start, and when two other apparently innocent U.S. citizens die mysteriously the authorities decide to act. The response is swift from Secretary of Defense, Charles Stamoran, who puts together a team to look into these deaths and try to find a connection. Among them is Jack Reacher, who has just recently been demoted from Major to Captain.
The Childs waste little time in setting up the basic premise and the book quickly kicks into gear with good action and some interesting bad guys hiding in the shadows. The actions of the killers are nicely juxtaposed with the efforts of Reacher and his team to work out what is going on, and the story generally proceeds at a good pace. As always, Reacher engages in some unnecessary spurts of violence to keep readers happy, and the central mystery is nicely played out till the end.
I enjoy these ‘flashback’ Reacher tales more than some of his recent books set in present times, and this one is especially enjoyable. The violence is occasionally outlandish, but it is balanced by some gritty scenes. The rationale behind the conspiracy is quite gruesome and topical, and the book builds to a typically well-choreographed finale. There is also the occasional interesting nugget of obscure detail that Lee Child has always loved to throw in.
In all, a typically fun novel by the brothers Child. As an extra bonus, there is also a Christmas themed short Reacher story at the back of the book by Lee Child.
The Secret was released everywhere on 24 October 2023. Thanks to the Canberra Weekly and the publisher for the copy of the book.