Review of ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ by Michael Connelly

The-Lincoln-LawyerMichael Connelly, The Lincoln Lawyer (New York: Grand Central, 2005). Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

Michael “Mickey” Haller is a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who gives his clients the best defense they can afford…and he’d rather not know if they’re actually innocent of the crimes they’ve been accused of. He works out of the backseat of a Lincoln Town Car, chauffeured by a former client still working off his legal debts. Like his chauffeur, many of his clients are behind on payments or on payment programs that keep a steady but low stream of income flowing.

So, when Fernando Valenzuela—a bail bondsman, not the pitcher—tells Haller about a possible “franchise,” Haller’s interest is piqued. A franchise, in Haller’s world, is a client whose case goes to trial and results in large fees. In this case, the client is Louis Roulet, a wealthy Beverly Hills realtor who’s been accused of attempted murder. As Haller prepares Roulet’s defense, he comes face to face with actual innocence…and pure evil. To the very last pages, Michael Connelly keeps readers guessing whether Haller can clear his client and get the real criminal in the process.

Most people probably know this story from the movie staring Matthew McConaughey. The Lincoln Lawyer is a good movie, but trust me, it’s a better book. Connelly narrates the plot through Haller’s eyes and in his voice, giving us a window into our protagonist’s beliefs, doubts, hopes, and fears. Connelly is a world-class storyteller, so even the courtroom back-and-forthing is a page-turner. If you’ve ever sat on a jury, you’ll know how difficult a trick this is to pull off. If you’re anything like me, you’ll close the cover of this book ready to start the next book in this series. In case you’re wondering, it’s The Brass Verdict


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