Wednesday, August 15, 2012

THE FIFTH WITNESS by Michael Connelly

Mickey Haller is back, in this sequel to The Lincoln Lawyer.  He's now representing people who are in the process of losing their homes to foreclosure, although I'm not sure how they can afford an attorney if they can't pay their mortgage.  Oh, well.  One of his former clients has now been charged with brutally murdering a bank executive, causing Haller to dive back into criminal law.  In this instance, movie rights are expected to cover Haller's fee when the case incites a media circus.  The bulk of the novel follows Lisa Trammel's trial, with lots of bumps and surprises along the way, all of which Haller twists to his and his client's advantage.  With conclusive DNA evidence on the murder weapon and the defendant's shoes, and an eyewitness who places Lisa near the scene of the crime, Haller pursues another angle—the victim's personal financial difficulties and a shady foreclosure processing company—in order to prove that his client was framed.  Most puzzling of all is how a 5'3" woman could bludgeon a standing 6'2" man on the top of the head—an anomaly that the prosecution fails to address.  The plot lacks the nail-biting timing of The Lincoln Lawyer, and the outcome and aftermath of the trial are a little predictable.  Even so, I still really enjoyed the ride, and the book's finale is very satisfying, with things playing out perfectly for Lisa Trammel and for Haller's career.  After all, what's Haller's overriding personal objective?  To get his ex-wife and daughter back.  I hope there's more to come.

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