The Law of Innocence | Book Review


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.

Book Reviewed
Michael Connelly, The Law of Innocence (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2020).

P.S. If you liked my review, please click “Helpful” on my Amazon review page.

Review of ‘The Concrete Blonde: A Harry Bosch Novel’ by Michael Connelly


The-Concrete-BlondeMichael Connelly, The Concrete Blonde: A Harry Bosch Novel (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1994). Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

The Concrete Blonde is the third Michael Connelly novel to feature LAPD homicide detective Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch. It opens with Bosch shooting a naked, unarmed man named Norman Church. Church was a suspect in the “Dollmaker” serial killings case. After the shooting, forensics tied him to nine of the eleven killings. Nevertheless, Church’s widow sought a civil judgment against Bosch and the LAPD and sued them in federal court.

As the trial gets underway, however, the LAPD receives a note written in the style of the Dollmaker which points them to the body of another woman. Her body bears the signature of the murderer’s other victims. However, she was killed after Bosch shot Norman Church. This casts Church’s guilt into doubt and throws a span into Bosch’s legal defense. Connelly weaves these two strands together in a well-paced narrative that is part police procedural, part legal thriller.

I am a huge fan of mystery series, and Connelly is one of my favorite series writers, through both his Harry Bosch and Mickey Heller (aka, “Lincoln Lawyer”) novels. The Concrete Blonde can be read independently of the series, but if you want to see Bosch’s character develop, start with The Black Echo and work your way through the novels in order.

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P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

Review of ‘The Fifth Witness’ by Michael Connelly


The-Fifth-WitnessMichael Connelly, The Fifth Witness: A Lincoln Lawyer Novel (New York: Little Brown, 2011). Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

During the Great Recession, many people lost their homes to foreclosure. Lisa Trammel was about to become one of those people, and she wasn’t happy about it. So she hired a attorney, launched a website, and organized a protest movement that she named FLAG: Foreclosure Litigants Against Greed.

Her lawyer is Mickey Haller, whose criminal defense practice has fallen on such hard times that he’s taken up foreclosure litigation to make ends meet. Then Trammel gets arrested for murdering Mitchell Bondurant, the mortgage banker who was foreclosing on her property. A witness puts her at the scene, as does a microscopic amount of DNA on her shoes and a hammer. It looks like a cut-and-dried case for the prosecution.

But when Haller digs into the case, he discovers solid evidence pointing to his client’s innocence and the potential guilt of another party with connections to the mob. When he is savagely beaten by two thugs, his determination to clear his client only grows. Will he succeed in clearing his client and catching the real killer?

As with Michael Connelly’s other Lincoln Lawyer books, The Fifth Witness is told in the first person from Haller’s point of view. The story builds patiently but never slowly toward the denouement. I’ve read a lot of mysteries, so I’m used to plot twists and turns, but trust me when I say, I never saw this one coming.

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P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

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