Saturday, January 15, 2011
Book Review: "The Lincoln Lawyer" by Michael Connelly
I've enjoyed Michael Connelly's books for years. Between his exceptional series featuring LA investigator Harry Bosch and his stand-alone novels, Connelly is almost always at the top of his game. That being said, I held off reading his first legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer, for a while, because that genre tends to frustrate me. I know that corruption sadly exists nearly everywhere, but the extent to which legal thrillers portray defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges and jurorsnot to mention defendantsas purely evil starts to stretch my disbelief from time to time. But with the movie adaptation of the book on the horizon, I thought I better get to reading.
Mickey Haller is a fairly successful defense attorney in LA. He doesn't believe, nor does he care, that any of his clients are innocent. He'll defend nearly anyone, as long as they can pay him, and spends most of his days in the back of one of his Lincoln Town Cars, being driven from courthouse to client meeting to jails and back again. Mickey's biggest desire is for a "franchise client," one that can bring in a lot of money and lead to favorable publicity and other jobs. He believes he's found this in Louis Ross Rolet, a rich playboy who is accused of brutally beating and threatening to murder a prostitute. Rolet vehemently insists he is innocent, and evidence that Mickey's investigator finds points in the same direction. And then information surfaces about another of Mickey's cases that makes him begin questioning the foundation of his entire practice of law, and brings him face to face with a pretty dangerous criminal. (As always, I'm being pretty vague so as not to spoil any of the twists.)
This book had me from start to finish. Even though pieces of the story seemed a little formulaic, Connelly threw some good twists into the narrative and really fleshed out many of his characters. While Mickey seemed to be the quintessential defense attorney at the start of the book, Connelly revealed his layers little by little, until you found exactly what made him tick. And while I was fairly sure I knew how the story would wrap itself up (and wasn't entirely wrong), it didn't matter, because I found myself on a very compelling route toward its conclusion. Is this fine literature? No, but this is a really enjoyable addition to Connelly's work, and it just proves how exceptional a writer he is.