The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover, 404 pages, 2005

Rating: 9/10

Reason for Reading: I haven’t read any fictional books about lawyers since John Grisham scared me away from the genre about a decade ago, but Michael Connelly? I’m there!

Synopsis: It’s L.A. lawyer Mickey Haller’s worst nightmare – a client that seems to be innocent. Strange thinking, maybe, but there’s a lot more pressure to keep an innocent man out of jail than there is to make sure a real criminal gets a reduced sentence. It helps, too, that his client, accused of viciously beating a woman, is rolling in money and doesn’t mind Haller racking up billable hours looking with his investigations, but when a close friend is murdered, Haller begins to see that every man may have his price, and if he underestimates anyone around him, he may find he’s the next murder victim…

Why you should read this book: Back in high school, I read a few of my mother’s John Grisham novels, but after having a confused moment of thinking, ‘Did I actually read this already, or is Grisham so repetitive that I just think I have?’ I decided that maybe I wasn’t cut out for courtroom thrillers – until along came Michael Connelly, casually turning the genre on its head. As with many of Connelly’s books, he starts off with a fairly slow pace; letting you get to know his characters, lulling you into a false sense of security, before – bam – nothing is what it seems. Most of the book takes place outside of the courtroom, although when that is the setting, Connelly is focused on the action, not on recreating all of the small details of court (which are, indeed, incredibly dull when you don’t have a news station to filter out the endless hours of legal bureaucracy). The second half of the book sees Haller facing a lot of threatening, suspenseful situations, but he’s forced to use the courtroom to solve his problems – and the problems of everyone around him. The Lincoln Lawyer is highly recommended both for courtroom thriller addicts and suspense/thriller junkies. You won’t be able to stop reading until you know whether or not everyone will get what’s coming to them – good or bad.

Why you should avoid this book: This isn’t To Kill a Mockingbird – Mickey Haller is a lawyer willing to bend the rules to make money and keep his low-life clients coming back. This makes for an exciting read, but Haller isn’t exactly a heart-warming, altruistic sort of lawyer. Connelly’s writing style won’t win him a Booker Prize, but the slightly choppy writing does suit the fast-paced thriller genre.

Opening paragraph:

The morning air off the Mojave in late winter is as clean and crisp as you’ll ever breathe in Los Angeles County. It carries the taste of promise on it. When it starts blowing in like that I like to keep a window open in my office. There are a few people who know this routine of mine, people like Fernando Valenzuela. The bondsman, not the baseball pitcher. He called me as I was coming into Lancaster for a nine o’clock calendar call. He must have heard the wind whistling in my cell phone.

Fabulous quotes:

‘I don’t care if it means I could walk. I’m not going to plead guilty to something I didn’t do. If that is going to be a problem for you, then we need to part company right here.’
I looked closely at him. Almost all of my clients make protestations of innocence at one point along the way. Especially if it is our first case together. But Roulet’s words came with a fervor and directness I hadn’t seen in a long time. Liars falter. They look away. Roulet’s eyes were holding mine like magnets.

‘Okay. He, uh…he hasn’t done much today. I track it from his home to his office at eight. Looks like he took a little trip nearby – a couple blocks, probably for lunch – and then back to the office. He’s still there.’
I thought about this for a few moments. The bartender delivered my next pint.
‘Val, how do you get that thing off your ankle?’
‘You mean if you were him? You don’t. You can’t. It bolts on and the little wrench you use is unique. It’s like a key. I got the only one.’
‘You’re sure about that?’

Also recommended: The Empty Chair by Jeffery Deaver; Forty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt; The Blue Nowhere by Jeffery Deaver.

Also by this author: The Black Echo; The Black Ice; The Concrete Blonde; The Last Coyote; The Poet; Trunk Music; Blood Work; Angels Flight; Void Moon; A Darkness More Than Night; City of Bones; Chasing the Dime; Lost Light; The Narrows; The Closers; Echo Park; The Overlook.

Author’s website:

Fun tidbit: Click over to Connelly’s website to read about the inspiration behind his genre switch.

Would I read more by this author? Try and stop me.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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