Praise for Michael Connelly
âHis methods of killing and eluding detection are infernally ingenious, adding an intellectual charge to the visceral kick of the hunt'
New York Times
âConnelly is a crime-writing genius. His Harry Bosch stories are genuine modern classics ... Unmissable'
Independent on Sunday
âConnelly has great skills. One is the creation of characters who live and breathe, so that we care about them far more than we do for the cardboard figures stamped out by most thriller writers. His second skill is mastery of pace. His books are page-turners, and the author is in sublime control of the speed at which we turn those pages'
Mail on Sunday
âWhile the themes of Connelly's LA crime novels are familiar (power, envy, corruption), his plotting is anything but'
âA superb legal thriller that manages three final twists ... The first line of
The Brass Verdict
is “everybody lies”, so there are plenty of surprises. And, of course, as a writer of fiction, Connelly proves to be a brilliant liar'
âA clever plot, full of twists, to make a first-rate legal thriller'
âIntensely clever, entirely credible ... thrilling, suspenseful and securely anchored in procedure and purpose. Not a false note; deeply satisfying stuff'
âNo one writes a better modern thriller than Connelly. Guaranteed to keep you riveted until the very last page'
âThe best writer of tough detective fiction at the moment is Michael Connelly ... For those who like a bit of contrariness and astringency in their heroes, Bosch has to come head of the list'
Chasing the Dime
The Black Echo
The Black Ice
The Concrete Blonde
The Last Coyote
A Darkness More than Night
City of Bones
Chasing the Dime
The Lincoln Lawyer
The Brass Verdict
This edition first published in Australia and New Zealand by Allen & Unwin in 2009.
This edition first published in the United States in 2002 by Orion Books, a division of Orion Publishing Group
Copyright Â© Hieronymous, Inc 2002
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. The Australian Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or 10 per cent of this book, whichever is the greater, to be photocopied by any educational institution for its educational purposes provided that the educational institution (or body that administers it) has given a remuneration notice to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) under the Act.
Allen & Unwin
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Cataloguing-in-Publication details are available
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Ebook ISBN 978 1 74269 8397
A former police reporter for theLos Angeles Times
, Michael Connelly is the author of more than a dozen acclaimed Harry Bosch thrillers and several courtroom dramas featuring Mickey Haller, as well as stand-alone bestsellers such asThe Poet
. Michael Connelly is a former President of the Mystery Writers of America. His novels have won an Edgar Award, the Nero Wolfe prize and the Anthony Award. He lives with his family in Tampa, Florida. Visit his website atwww.michaelconnelly.com.au
Table of Contents
This book could not have been written without the help of Dr. James Heath, professor of chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, and Carolyn Chriss, researcher extraordinaire. This story is fiction. However, the science contained within it is real. The race to build the first molecular computer is real. Any errors or unintended exaggerations within the story are solely the responsibility of the author.
For their help and advice the author is also indebted to Terrill Lee Lankford, Larry Bernard, Jane Davis, Robert Connelly, Paul Connelly, John Houghton, Mary Lavelle, Linda Connelly, Philip Spitzer and Joel Gotler.
Many thanks also go to Michael Pietsch and Jane Wood for going beyond the call of duty as editors with this manuscript, and as well to Stephen Lamont for the excellent copyediting.
The voice on the phone was a whisper. It had a forceful, almost desperate quality to it.
Henry Pierce told the caller he had the wrong number. But the voice became insistent.
âWhere is Lilly?' the man asked.
âI don't know,' Pierce said. âI don't know anything about her.'
âThis is her number. It's on the site.'
âNo, you have the wrong number. There is no one named Lilly here. And I don't know anything about any site. Okay?'
The caller hung up without responding. Then Pierce hung up, annoyed. He had plugged in the new phone only fifteen minutes earlier and already he had gotten two calls for someone named Lilly.
He put the phone down on the floor and looked around the almost empty apartment. All he had was the black leather couch he sat on, the six boxes of clothes in the bedroom and the new phone. And now the phone was going to be a problem.
Nicole had kept everything â the furniture, the books, the CDs and the house on Amalfi Drive. She didn't keep it, actually: he had given it all to her. The price of his guilt for letting things slip away. The new apartment was nice. It was high luxury and security, a premier address in Santa Monica. But he was going to miss the house on Amalfi. And the woman who was still living in it.
He looked down at the phone on the beige carpet, wondering if he should call Nicole and let her know he had moved from the hotel to the apartment and had the new number. But then he shook his head. He had already sent her the e-mail with all the new information. To call her would be breaking the rules she had set and he had promised to follow on their last night together.
The phone rang. He leaned down and checked the caller ID screen this time. The call was coming from the Casa Del Mar again. It was the same guy. Pierce thought about letting it ring through to the message service that came with the new phone number, but then he picked up the phone and clicked the talk button.
âLook, man, I don't know what the problem is. You have the wrong number. There is nobody here named â'
The caller hung up without saying a word.
Pierce reached over to his backpack and pulled out the yellow pad on which his assistant had written down the voice mail instructions. Monica Purl had set up the phone service for him, as he had been too busy in the lab all week preparing for the following week's presentation. And because that was what personal assistants were for.
He tried to read the notes in the dying light of the day. The sun had just slipped beneath the Pacific and he had no lamps yet for the new apartment's living room. Most new places had sunken lights in the ceiling. Not this one. The apartments were newly renovated, with new kitchens and windows, but the building was old. And slab ceilings without internal wiring could not be renovated in a cost-effective way. Pierce didn't think about that when he rented the place. The bottom line was he needed lamps.
He quickly read through instructions on using the phone's caller ID and caller directory features. He saw that Monica had set him up with something called the convenience package â caller ID, caller directory, call waiting, call forwarding, call everything. And she noted on the page that she had already sent the new number out to his A-level e-mail list. There were almost eighty people on this list. People who he would want to be able to reach him at any time, almost all of them business associates or business associates he also considered friends.
Pierce pressed the talk button again and called the number Monica had listed for setting up and accessing his voice mail program. He then followed the instructions provided by an electronic voice for creating a pass code number. He decided on 92I02 â the day Nicole had told him that their three-year relationship was over.
He decided not to record a personal greeting. He would rather hide behind the disembodied electronic voice that announced the number and instructed the caller to leave a message. It was impersonal, but it was an impersonal world out there. He didn't have time to make everything personal.
When he was finished setting up the program a new electronic voice told him he had nine messages. Pierce was surprised by the number â his phone had not been put into service until that morning â but immediately hopeful that maybe one was from Nicole. Maybe several. He suddenly envisioned himself returning all the furniture Monica had ordered for him online. He saw himself carrying the cardboard boxes of his clothes back inside the house on Amalfi Drive.
But none of the messages were from Nicole. None of them were from Pierce's associates or associates/friends, either. Only one was for him â a âwelcome to the system' message delivered by the now familiar electronic voice.