Mickey Haller has fallen on tough times. He expands his business into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home.
Mickey puts his team into high gear to exonerate Lisa Trammel, even though the evidence and his own suspicions tell him his client is guilty. Soon after he learns that the victim had black market dealings of his own, Haller is assaulted, too - and he's certain he's on the right trail.
Despite the danger and uncertainty, Haller mounts the best defense of his career in a trial where the last surprise comes after the verdict is in. Connelly proves again why he "may very well be the best novelist working in the United States today" (San Francisco Chronicle).
©2011 Michael Connelly (P)2011 Hachette Audio
I don't like courtroom/lawyer stories as a rule, but there is something about Connelly that keeps you wanting more. So many people told me this was a 5 star book that I had to try it and am Glad I Did. There is something about his writing that won't let you go once you get started. If I had known that this was courtroom oriented I probably would have passed and missed a great book. The narration and story fit perfectly. The mix of Haller's personal and professional life was a really good mix and done beautifully. Don't miss this one.
Michael Connelly is one of the best mystery writers today. He not only can tell a story but he gives you characters you want to return to again and again. Harry Bosch is as good a detective as you can find. Cassie West almost makes you forget about Lisbeth Salander. And if you ever need a good lawyer, there is none better than Mickey Haller.
Haller has appeared in four Connelly books but does his best work in The Fifth Witness. The story is fast paced and has enough twists and turns for even the most demanding mystery reader. He give you plenty of characters to cheer and a few to boo. The end is not only satisfying but sets us up for a future Haller adventure. My only regret is that I can't give this book six stars.
As a recovering lawyer myself, I rarely read legal thrillers -- I wonder, do doctors avoid medical thrillers for the same reason? But, having liked the early Harry Bosch books, I decided to give this Michael Connolly book a chance. Bottom line: unless I find some other Haller book on a really good sale somewhere, I probably won't buy any more. It's primarily ear fodder, nothing more.
First the good: it's fun to see Connolly insert real people into the novel -- Hollywood agent supreme Joel Gotler, Shami Arselanian, the forensics expert. Rather cleverly done, I thought. Then too, Connolly did a great job of describing the client from hell. I suspect every lawyer has had one of more of these nightmares come in for help and representation. Suffice it to say that Connolly described "Lisa" so perfectly it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Horrors. Been there, done that. (The client from hell is one who doesn't tell you everything, but holds some stuff back, especially the really damaging stuff. They they go off on their own, talking to the media, contacting people, trying to "help". Can drive you nuts -- not to mention kill their own case.) Connolly did that very well.
Now the bad: it's nothing short of mind-numbing to listen to page after page of trial transcript. "And what did you do with the piece of paper then?" "I put it into an envelope." "And what did you do with the envelope?" I put it into the evidence locker..." On and on and on, trivia, to the point that you consider a primal scream as the only possible remedy. If you're reading the book, you can skim and skip all this nonsense. If you're listening, you're pretty much stuck.
But worse than that, I think, is Connolly's -- or "Michael Hallers" -- endless pontificating about what he does in front of the jury, and why he does it. We listen to how -- and exactly where -- he places his hands on his hips, the expression he assumes on his face, how he spins and turns and walks away, all the while wondering if the jury is getting his message. Yes. I expect everyone in the Western world now realizes that a trial is nothing but showtime, and the lawyers must be actors more than anything else -- no wonder Connolly and Joel Gotler are such good friends. But still, Connolly carries it to the point of absurdity. He makes Haller look like a fool, in my opinion. In my experience, most juries -- all except the OJ one, anyway -- would see right through poor acting like this, and penalize the lawyer who does it. From Connolly's description, there's not a shred of sincerity anywhere in Haller's makeup. I don't think that plays well -- with juries not to mention with any of Haller's former wives.
So-so: I thought the plot device of having the prosecution drop "new evidence" on the defense --over and over again, ad nauseum -- both just before and during the trial got a little silly. Too much. And Haller's outrage each time was identical to the time before. I got tired of it.
Summary? I now live in Israel where we don't have jury trials. Judges make decisions on court cases, not lay juries. After reading one of the Michael Haller books, I have more reason than ever before before to thank Gd for that aspect of our national system of justice.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
Wonderful courtroom drama. Great see-saw both in and out of court as Mickey Heller struggles with mob, murder, and his ex-wife. I cannot wait for the next Lincoln Lawyer novel... although I'm hoping he won't be leaving the criminal defense bar. Peter Giles is pitch perfect. This is the best in the series so far and Connelly worked hard and it showed. Nice to hear the value of your purchase in extensive preparation and research. Also like it that Heller stands on his own here without the aid of his half brother Harry Bosch. I'd recommend though that you start this series at the beginning... it's not essential but each is good and they fit together perfectly.
Tell us about yourself! I LOVE TO READ AND BE IN THE KNOW. I LIKE TO TALK TO INTELLIGENT PEOPLE.
This book keeps you wondering, what will happen next. Its good to listen to while driving, because it keeps you alert and on the edge about what happens next,
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This is Michael Connelly at his best. Peter Giles did a great job with the narration. I could hardly stop listening even went to bed with the IPOD and next thing I know it was morning! Then ending was a surprise and a good set up for his next book. Connelly managed to wind Micky's introspection with his values and problems with his x-wife in and around the main story without making the story lag or get you sidetracked.
I always enjoy Connelly's books. I was about to say that I use them as palate cleansers between more literary books, but really, they're more like diving into a big bag of chips. Mickey Haller is a terrific hero, and the secondary characters are at least serviceable, but character is not Connelly's long suit. Devising an intricate plot, and showing how it arises out of an equally intricate subset of the culture (in this case, the mortgage foreclosure crisis) is his great strength. You won't find a clearer or more entertaining explanation of credit default swaps, and the hell they raised, anywhere, and he throws in a confounding murder mystery to boot.
Following Haller trying to work towards victory and the facts as they surfaced was more than fun, it was mentally engaging. I found myself formulating the questions I wanted Haller to ask. He didn't always ask them. It really ticked me off, but I imagine that's this is the way it really is. This book kept me captured and wanting to to read more to get the next revelation. If you like good stories, good people, and how it all works you'll enjoy this.
Okay, let me say I have liked Connelly since his days with the Times. I have liked Harry, was amazed with the Poet, but Haller is so real as an LA criminal attorney I was hooked with the first in the series. Nevertheless, the key to this novel is having a protagonist that you feel a bit uneasy with his ethics (which was not really true with the first two), as well as having a defendant that you really get to distrust to the point of almost disliking. Add to that a contemporary social ill which should have set up the good guy/bad guy dichotomy (and yet never really does in black and white terms). So the imminent reality Connelly sets is kind of like riding the rapids in an inner tube--fun and exciting but never a moment when you can get ignore that next curve.
Few of the 300 books I've listened to on Audible make it to my "driveway" list but this is certainly one of them. My "driveway" list consists of books that 5 stars will not accurately describe how addictive the book really is. "Driveway" books leave me sitting in my car LONG after arriving home from my commute. "One more chapter" usually turns into two, three, and sometimes four additional chapters before I walk into my house. Certainly, in my opinion, this is the best of Connelly's "Haller" novels. The Lincoln
Lawyer was great but this one had a certain courtroom strategy aspect that just kept you wanting more. The ending was one of his best yet and although I can't say much about it without giving too much away, I can say you will
need 30 minutes to just sit and contemplate the entire book after realizing
what just occurred. If you are a Connelly fan, a courtroom drama fan, or just a fan of really good, addictive novels, you will love this read. Highly recommended.
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