Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Brass Verdict

We are leaving for camp later today. It's our fourth year up there, and we've learned a great deal in that time. Leaving on a Friday and coming back on Saturday extended to leaving on Thursday, and for the last two years to leaving on Wednesday. It's purely so we can have more time to enjoy ourselves. The first day is entirely spent setting up. Getting up the tents, setting out the chairs, unpacking food and clothing. By the time the sun sets that first night, we're all exhausted and more than a little cranky. The last day is spent doing a reverse of the first day, but always seems to take even longer. We not only have to pack everything up, but we always go over the campsite with a fine tooth comb to make sure we don't leave anything, including garbage, behind. So that really only leaves us with three days to relax and enjoy ourselves.

The first couple of years, we tried making far too elaborate of meals as well, and that ate into our relaxation time as well (can you see a theme here?). Trying to wash up potatoes and then cut them up for a casserole type dish to be baked in a big pot over the fire is waaaay too much work on vacation. This year it's brats, burgers, pizzas, and Jeff is deep frying a turkey. I can't wait to get up to the campsite, get everything set up, and then collapse into my Coke chair (I got it with my Coke points) and watch the sunlight play on the ripples of the water. That is worth every penny spent and every drop of sweat. One of my favorite times is when the sun has set, and we're all sitting around the campfire just talking. Sometimes we sing goofy camp songs, other times play games, tell jokes, or just pick on each other mercilessly. Those are the moments I treasure until the next years.

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly is his twentieth book and brings together Connelly's two famous characters: Detective Harry Bosch and attorney Mickey Haller. Haller returns to the courtroom after a long absence to take on the case of a Hollywood mogul accused of murder. The mogul's first attorney turns up dead, and Haller is assigned to the case. But it gets a bit sticky when it looks like the killer is now after Haller, and Det. Bosch shows up to "protect" Haller, even if it means botching up his case. I've never read any of Connelly's books before, and I'm not normally a fan of this type of fiction, but Connelly sucked me in from the first page with his masterful dialogue and action scenes. Haller is a compelling character full of hard-won wisdom and surrounded by intriguing characters. Bosch is a bit of a jerk, to say the least, but I couldn't help liking him as well. Connelly creates terrific scenes with tightly plotted suspense. Consider me a new fan!

Say a little prayer for us this weekend, that we all get there safely and have a terrific time.