Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reading Recommendation: The Fifth Witness

I like to think I have pretty eclectic reading taste.  (Pat myself on the back.)  Today I want to encourage you all to go check out Michael Connelly, one of the best legal/crime writers EVA.  (It's truer if it's in all-caps.)

You may have noticed some trailers for a certain Matthew McConaughey (Fact: I have never successfully spelled "McConaughey" without googling) movie called The Lincoln Lawyer.  (Fact: I am a little embarrassed that I have had multiple occasions on which to spell "McConaughey.")  It was a pretty solid film and I was surprised that I didn't hate Mr. No-Shirt playing Mickey Haller.

Well, The Lincoln Lawyer is also the first book in series by Michael Connelly, and one of the few legal thrillers where I didn't immediately get annoyed by something.  Of course Mickey--the Lincoln Lawyer himself--manages to accomplish feats that no other criminal defense lawyer probably could (or should), but it's all within the realm of believability.  He even talks about DISCOVERY.  Everyone skips over discovery, mostly because it's the most boring part of legal practice imaginable, but somehow in this book it was fascinating.  The rules of evidence and ethics also get some shout-outs.  I participated in an Inn of Court (lawyer thingy) as a law student and they ended up discussing the ethical implications in the book.  (There are many.)

To be honest?  The whole thing makes me want to buy a Lincoln towncar and run a practice out of my backseat too.  Of course, I'd also need to find a former-gangbanger to drive for me ... eh, future goal.

So after The Lincoln Lawyer you have The Brass Verdict, The Reversal, and the one I finished last night -- The Fifth Witness.*  Thumbs up, all around!  And while technically each one is a standalone, it's kind of fun to see where all the characters have come and gone previously. 

Here's a brief synopsis:

Mickey and his motley crew (ex-wife/receptionist Lorna; her new husband/ex-biker gang member/investigator Cisco; and Jennifer "Bullocks" Aronson, first-year associate and graduate of a bottom-tier law school) have now begun doing foreclosures in addition to their normal criminal defense. Enter Lisa Trammel, the most annoying client on the planet.  They have been successfully fighting her foreclosure for nearly a year, and boom--the bank executive in charge of her account has been murdered, and Lisa is charged with the crime. 

Go-fight-win!  Eh, mostly.  The great things about these books is you rarely like any of Mickey's clients, and it's rarely clear if they did it or not.  Mickey himself, of course, doesn't care--unless he gets actually duped by a prosecutor or client, and then he's pissed.  (Wouldn't you be as well?)   

Anywho, go forth my friends!  Download, check out, or buy as your reading habits allow.

* Mickey also pops up, really briefly, in Nine Dragons, a Hieronymous Bosch novel.  If you also want to read about Mickey's badass half-brother Harry the cop, go for it, he is also awesome -- but a real downer.  (I get it, you CARE.)  Just as a forewarning. His books are The Black Echo, The Black Ice, The Concrete Blond, The Last Coyote, Trunk Music, Angels Flight, A Darkness More Than Night (probably my favorite), City of Bones, Lost Light, The Narrows, The Closers, Echo Park, The Overlook, The Brass Verdict (the first book where Harry and Mickey overlap), Nine Dragons (the second book where they overlap), and The Reversal (the third book where they overlap). 

Phew, that's a lot of books.  Maybe start with The Lincoln Lawyer ones.


  1. I think we have very similar taste in literature. I love Michael Connelly.

  2. Sarah: e-high five! I love him :)

  3. I am a big fan of John Grisham, and LOVE a good legal thriller. For some reason, I've never read a single word written by Michael Connelly. You've convinced me to change that.

  4. Due to media saturation, when I saw Jennifer "Bullocks" Aronson my mind actually read Jennifer "Bullocks" Aniston. Aaaand I think that's how I'm going to start referering to her from now on.

    "Do you think poor Bullocks will ever find happiness?"

    PS: Fun Fact - my husband and I always refer to Matthew McConaughey as "Dirtbag."

  5. Karen: You will not be disappointed

    NIKOL: Yeah, the "Bullocks" joke got confusing a time or two ... it actually refers to the fact that her law school was in the old Bullocks Department building in LA. Not terribly helpful for those of us not from LA, I guess.

  6. Loved this flick. Thinking about reading the book now too!

  7. I was on the fence about this series. You convinced me to give it a try. Now I just have to wait for it to be available at the library. You must have convinced many people because I'm 69th in line for The Lincoln Lawyer.