In the most recent book in the ‘Lincoln lawyer’ series, defence counsel Mickey Haller can at last be convinced of his client’s innocence… because he IS the client. He’s been brilliantly done up like a kipper, when a very dead body is discovered by a police patrolman in the trunk of his town car.
It turns out that the deceased was indeed murdered in Haller’s garage and they were well acquainted in a professional relationship which turned sour some years back. The dead guy, a class-act conman, still owed Haller a substantial sum of money. All of which adds up to means, motive and opportunity…
What follows is a first-class legal thriller, stuffed full of procedural shenanigans, lawyerly misdirection, genuine tension as Haller endures incarceration among a prison populated with hard-timers who may not have an entirely high opinion of him. He must plan and execute his defence strategy – and the only way he’s going to secure a ‘not guilty’ verdict is if he can point a credible finger at Some Other Guy who actually did the dirty deed.
Author Michael Connelly is a practised hand at balancing the slow-grinding gears of the justice system with a galloping plot and complex characters. He mixes the intricacy of jury selection and the bait-and-switch of evidence discovery with genuine jeopardy, a sprinkle of snappy chat to lighten the moment, and familiar faces crossing over from his other long-running detective series (hallo, Harry).
This time, it’s made all the more believable by the background hum of the rising pandemic. There are offhand mentions of the president, of the virus spreading in China, people starting to wear medical masks in public – and all this puts further pressure on Haller to bring his own trial to verdict as rapidly as possible.
Unusually, there’s no Hollywood ending to this cut-and-thrust courtroom battle of morality. Initially I felt a little bit cheated that we didn’t get a stirring final speech from Haller, effectively pleading for his life in front of an uncertain jury. In retrospect, Connelly chose a more credible solution – with a lot less grandstanding and a lot more gravitas.
Easily up to his usual standard, and easy to read in these troubled times, too. You don’t need to have read all the earlier books in the series to enjoy this one – in fact, if you’ve seen the superb Lincoln Lawyer film then you can probably dive right in.
Reviewed by Rowena Hoseason
The Law Of Innocence by Michael Connelly is available at Amazon
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