A man is pulled over for driving without a license plate after leaving a bar. The officer notices a liquid dripping from the man’s trunk, and it looks like blood. Claiming exigent circumstances, the officer puts the man in custody and opens the trunk.
Three problems: There’s a dead man in the trunk of the car. Its driver is famed criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller. And Haller is innocent.
But how can he prove his innocence with a dead man in his trunk, a former client who owed him money and whom ballistics show was murdered in his own garage?
That’s the question Michael Connelly sets out to answer in The Law of Innocence, the 6th novel in the “Lincoln Lawyer” series featuring Mickey Haller and the 35th novel in what might be called “The Bosch Universe,” featuring LAPD detective Harry Bosch, LAPD detective Renee Ballard, and former assistant district attorney Jack McEvoy. One of the benefits of this universe is that as Bosch ages, Connelly can introduce new characters (i.e., Ballard) in an organic way, keeping readers’ interest in the series. I know I’m hooked on the Bosch universe, having read every one of Connelly’s novels.
The Law of Innocence, like the other books in the series, is a page turner because it posed an interesting question and held my interest throughout as it unraveled the answer. So, if you’re hooked on the series, you’ll definitely want to read this one too. Like all the Lincoln Lawyer books, it offers a fantastic perspective on how a criminal defense attorney uses legal (and legally questionable) moves to derail a prosecution.
The fact that Haller’s freedom is on the line adds poignancy to the story, even though readers know from the start that Haller is innocent. I have only two criticisms of the book:
First, even though it was a page turner, I found myself turning some of the book’s pages more slowly than others. There were several stretches where I began to think that Connelly’s 400 or so pages could have been made a bit more concise.
Second, I’m still wrestling with Connelly’s solution to the problem. I’m trying to figure out whether I think it’s believable or whether I think it’s a bit too deus ex machina.
Regardless, I enjoyed the novel and look forward to reading whatever story Connelly has waiting in the wings.
Michael Connelly, The Law of Innocence (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2020).
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