Sunday, May 08, 2011


US cover
Don't start telling me about the movie for The Lincoln Lawyer, please! Due to "life on life's terms," we're late getting to the theater; I think Dave is planning to fit this into tomorrow evening. We're both looking forward to seeing how the film folks have adapted Michael Connelly's 2005 courtroom crime novel that brought Mickey Haller to life.

Meanwhile, the cynical defense attorney -- who'll do anything for a client's case, but can't quite believe in the innocence of any of the people walking in the door -- has seen other appearances, in The Brass Verdict and The Reversal. (He also has a small appearance in 9 Dragons, a Bosch novel.) And this spring, Haller returns in THE FIFTH WITNESS.

UK cover
Here's the basic situation: Haller's criminal defense business has gone to heck during the recession, but he's found a new and profitable niche: defending people from foreclosure on their homes. It's a hot area with plenty of action, and his team's actually grown. Of course, he operates from the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car, with his driver Rojas -- but adding a "junior lawyer" to the team, young Jennifer Aronson, is changing how Mickey feels about making do without an office. It's the disappointment in her otherwise enthusiastic face that gets to him. Maybe a "real office" with desks and doors would be appropriate after all.

Aronson, quickly nicknamed "Bullocks" by Haller, turns out to be a pretty sharp lawyer, a good addition to the firm. But naturally she's idealistic -- hey, she's new! -- and the glow in her eyes when Mickey takes on criminal defense case after all, well, it's enough to keep Mickey thinking about the opinions of the two women who matter most to him: his daughter Hayley, and his ex-wife, Maggie McPherson (better known in her crime-fighting role as Maggie McFierce). Actually, they already know about the case, which involves a foreclosure client that Mickey's already worked with, Lisa Trammel. And it's no surprise that Maggie knows -- but Hayley?? Mickey Haller's not ready for that kind of discussion with his fourteen-year-old.

When I'd read about half the book, I said to Dave, "It's not as intense as I've come to expect from Connelly's books. And it's missing the thing I like the most in a good crime novel: conflict within the investigator's life."

Well, I was wrong. Mickey Haller's life becomes tightly fastened to how he handles the murder case and the witnesses involved in Judge Perry's courtroom. And although there aren't many "dark scary risky" scenes, what's at stake for the former "Lincoln Lawyer" is everything he's come to value, as he's sobered up and come to grips with who he is.

The more I think about it and mull over how Connelly draws all this together -- from the need to ignore whether a client is guilty, to how you treat a potential witness, to being the best at the research end of a case, and to what family means -- the more sure I am that Connelly's invested the best of himself in here, as well as the best of Mickey Haller.

Australia/New Zealand cover
Two extra plusses to mention: The hardcover includes the first chapter of Connelly's next book, The Drop, due to release in October and featuring Mickey Haller's opposite number, Harry Bosch.

And on Connelly's website right now, there's a free download available of Eric Clapton singing "Judgment Day," as well as Connelly's own interview of the singer that Mickey Haller listens to while riding in his Lincoln. Fun!

Look for more here tomorrow, pushing further along the line of "what really matters in life?"

1 comment:

jdsjwm said...

What is Steak Helen that Haller and his wife get in this book? Never heard of it.