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
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.
I enjoy counter-terrorism, westerns, historical fiction, detective mysteries, and old school comedy like "A Christmas Story".
I rarely buy a book with less than a 4 star average rating for at least 200 reviews. This means most people give it a 4 or a 5. I ignore the 1's 2's and look at the average being greater than 4. This was a great read. Its intriguing plot with great insights on criminal court issues in Los Angeles, my home town, made this a very pleasurable read. I recommend highly.
Mick is my favorite MC character. 5th Witness was not as good as the previous 2 Mickey books but still a great listen. It gets an extra star due to the great performance by Peter Giles. Giles once again does an excellent job bringing Mick to life. How anyone think Giles doesnt do a great job with Mickey is beyond me.
I awarded this one five stars, although I rarely rate anything that highly. And before I gush, I have to say that audio versions show up Michael Connelly's writing style for what it is: a pedestrian, "just the facts, Ma'am" deadpan that is quicker to read than to listen to. However, this one kept me awake and listening because Connelly keeps the plot propelling along nicely. The narrator, Peter Giles, is pitch perfect as Mickey Haller. If you have followed his adventures in previous books, you know Mickey, his ex-wives, his daughter, and the rest of his entourage. That story line continues in the context of a new legal thriller that revolves around the foreclosure debacle. Connolly oversimplifies that situation, but, after all this is a page-turner pop novel, not an article in The Economist:) And Connelly plays fair, providing sufficient info to figure things out. Highly entertaining, with a boffo ending that sets things up for the next in the series. Go, Mickey!
The percussive consonants, especially the "t's" and "d's" makes listening a bit tiring to the ears. A good start would be to move the mic away from his mouth.
All sentences are delivered with maximum impact, rather than with subtlety based on the rhythm of the story. This reader would be perfect for commercials. I felt like I was being "sold" through the entire book.
Good story, tiring narrator.
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.
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.
Another winner by Mr. Connelly! Mickey is a fun character but it was also nerve-wracking! Great narration also by Mr. Giles!
I bought this based on rave reviews and it was disappointing. A lot of courtroom procedure with too many lose ends. I think the TV Perry Mason does a better job, and it only takes an hour. I liked the character development, though, both the client and the lawyer. Other characters relied a bit too much on cliche. ++semi spoiler alert++ i knew the secret about the client's husband from the first time he was mentioned, and Haller (the lawyer) should have too. I kept waiting and waiting for him to tumble to it, and to a couple of other things. For a smart guy, he was could be pretty dense.
I have read/listened to everything Connelly has put out and this just isn't up to his standards. I'm not a tough critic, and I'm not expecting great "literature" but this book follows a similar pattern to the others in the Lincoln Lawyer series which would be be fine if done in an interesting way. This just didn't deliver for me. Peter Giles has read other books in the Lincoln Lawyer series, so I didn't have a problem with his narration. I am surprised by the volume of positive reviews...to each their own, I guess.
I'm still a Connelly fan, but I couldn't wait for this one to end.
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