Michael Connelly

The Fifth Witness

"This is Connolly at his best. "


In tough times, crime is one of the few things that still pays, but if defense attorney Mickey Haller was expecting an uptick in business during the economic downturn, the reality is a different story. Even people needing legal representation to keep them out of jail are having to make cutbacks, it seems. In fact, the most significant part of Mickey's business right now is not about keeping clients out of jail but about keeping a roof over their heads, as the foreclosure boom hits thousands of people who were granted unrealistic mortgages in the good times and now face being kicked to the curb in the bad times.

Lisa Trammel has been a client of Mickey's for eight months — his very first foreclosure case, in fact — and although so far he's managed to stop the bank from taking her house, the strain and sense of injustice have taken a toll. The bank recently got a restraining order to prevent her from protesting against their practices. Now, a high level bank employee, Mitchell Bondurant, has been found dead in the bank's parking lot and Lisa is about to be indicted for murder.

For Mickey, it's back to what he does best on the biggest stage of all, but if he thought defending Lisa Trammel was going to be a walk in the park, he'd be wrong. Not only is he about to learn some startling truths about his client, but also about himself, and by the time the verdict is in, Mickey's whole world will have been turned upside down.

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After reading so many crime thrillers, returning to a legal thriller, especially one that is so well written, reminds me why I enjoy a tense and exciting courtroom drama.This is Connolly at his best. Not until the last page will you know if his client is not only guilty or not but whether they are found guilty by the court. In the meantime, there are plenty of ups and downs in the court room with the prosecution and defense scoring points off each other and the reader not knowing who is winning the game. It is hard to know whether the defendant is guilty or not, and if so, whether her lawyer will ensure that justice is served. But very cleverly written with a sting in its tail. Just when you think it is over, there is more to come. A good author will always enable you to empathise with the protagonist of the story, in this case, defense lawyer Mickey Haller, and feel frustrated with the opposition. Whereas when written from the other side, the tricks played by Mickey Haller would be seen as underhand, but the reader is so keen to see him win, that win he must and at any cost. It is books such as these that serve as an excellent reminder as to just how good and enjoyable a well written legal thriller can really be and I had forgotten just how much I had enjoyed being back in the courtroom. A great read seeing Connelly on top form.

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