THE VERDICT IS IN


Best-selling mystery writer Michael Connelly brings together his two biggest characters, half-brothers Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch, for the first time in his latest novel "Brass Verdict."

The book, Connelly's 20th, will be released Tuesday; the former police reporter turned novelist is scheduled to make an appearance and sign books at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Barnes & Noble, 8915 W. Charleston Blvd.

Set in Los Angeles, as most of his books are, "Brass Verdict" follows defense attorney Haller as he returns to the courtroom for the first time in a year. Instead of having to drum up business, he inherits the thriving practice of a lawyer who may have been killed by a client. Haller gets drawn into the search for the killer to protect himself while his half-brother, LAPD detective Bosch, heads up the investigation.

And, like much of Connelly's fiction, this plot was based in truth.

"I wish I was this creative genius who thought of this stuff," Connelly says, explaining that the scenario had actually happened to a lawyer he knew. Much of what's in the book is based on anecdotes Connelly gathered during research for his last Haller novel, "Lincoln Lawyer." "It's not creative genius, it's good reporting."

While "Brass Verdict" marks the first meeting between the two characters and was a longtime coming, the story is seen through Haller's eyes, offering readers and fans a new outlook on the crusty, tough Bosch.

That was the most fulfilling part of writing the book, Connelly says by phone from his Florida home.

"I planted seeds for this in other books," Connelly says. "It was kind of time to let them go."

Bosch novels are written in the third person. While the detective may seem hard from the outside, readers know his thoughts and feelings, Connelly says. "Brass Verdict" is told from Haller's first-person view; readers will get to see what Bosch is like without knowing his internal motivations.

Connelly hasn't done a book-signing in Las Vegas since 2003, but he has been a frequent visitor to the city. Though he feels a strong connection to Los Angeles, he has been fascinated with Las Vegas since he moved to the West Coast in the late 1980s. He was in town last month, doing research for his next novel, which will involve Ely.

"I find the place fascinating," Connelly says of Las Vegas. "I've put it in a couple of my books because it is fascinating. I like to observe more than I like to play. I don't get the same kind of vibe or thrill from gambling, but I like to watch people who get that vibe."

Las Vegas and Los Angeles share some similarities, Connelly says. They're both cities that give the impression that anything can happen, good or bad. In Las Vegas, it's luck and fortune. In Los Angeles, it's fame and fortune.

"It's such a hard place to know what's really going on," Connelly says of Las Vegas. "It's intriguing to me as a writer."

Contact Sonya Padgett at spadgett @reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564.