Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Review: The Fifth Witness

Summary: Mickey Haller has fallen on tough times. He expands his business into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home.

Mickey puts his team into high gear to exonerate Lisa Trammel, even though the evidence and his own suspicions tell him his client is guilty. Soon after he learns that the victim had black market dealings of his own, Haller is assaulted, too--and he's certain he's on the right trail.

Despite the danger and uncertainty, Haller mounts the best defense of his career in a trial where the last surprise comes after the verdict is in. Connelly proves again why he "may very well be the best novelist working in the United States today" (San Francisco Chronicle). -- Little Brown

I'm going to have to warn you -- this review of THE FIFTH WITNESS by Michael Connelly is going to be a major love fest! I am a huge fan of Michael Connelly's and pretty much consider him to be one of my all-time favorite authors. Add to that, THE FIFTH WITNESS is a Mickey Haller book and I do love the character of Mickey Haller (especially now that I can imagine that he looks like Matthew McConaughey.) And finally, I just thought this book was so good. I absolutely adored THE FIFTH WITNESS and it encompassed everything I've come to know and love about Michael Connelly and his books!

THE FIFTH WITNESS is probably  more technically a legal thriller than a traditional mystery. Mickey Haller is a down-on-his-luck defense lawyer who was been forced to switch from criminal defense to foreclosure defense -- he's actually doing okay since there certainly isn't a lack of foreclosures in the Los Angeles area. When one of his less than stable clients is accused of murdering the banker who she considers responsible for the foreclosure, Mickey decides to take on her case even though he pretty much knows she's guilty.

But Mickey doesn't care about his client's proclaimed innocence -- in fact, he doesn't even want to discuss those details with her. Like any good defense attorney, his job is to present enough evidence to put doubt into the jurors' minds and get a "not guilty" verdict. So Mickey and his team begin investigating the victim and his associates, and as they appear to get closer to the truth, Mickey winds up getting assaulted by some thugs. The assault proves to Mickey that he's getting a little too close to the truth and his opinion about his client's guilt begins to change....

What can I even say about THE FIFTH WITNESS? I loved the mystery part of this story and I was impressed not only with the complexities of the case, but also with how Mr. Connelly unraveled the story. I was hooked from the very first page and I had a fantastic time riding along with Mickey on this roller coaster ride. Like Mickey, I was initially sure of the client's guilt (she wasn't very likable but does that make her a murderer?); and then my opinion eventually changed. I can't say that I was entirely surprised by the verdict; however, what occurred after the verdict was shocking on so many levels. I can honestly say that the ending was a jaw-dropping one and I loved how Mr. Connelly toyed with this reader!

In addition to the fantastic twists and turns and surprise ending, I just love the characters in THE FIFTH WITNESS. It's a given that I have loved Mickey ever since I first met him in THE LINCOLN LAWYER (and that was even before I  knew he looked like Matthew McConaughey); and I actually loved the direction that Mr. Connelly has taken with is character over the years. In THE FIFTH WITNESS, we saw a rather damaged Mickey Haller -- his career is kind of stalled and his personal life is a mess. While he no longer drinks (yay for Mickey!), he still desperately wants to reconcile with his ex-wife and daughter. Mickey is sort of a rogue at times, but I do believe his heart is in the right place and he does his darnedest to be a good man.

And that's one of the reasons why I loved this book so much -- I really got to see so much of what I like about Mickey. I would definitely say that the surprise ending about his client blew me away; however, there was another surprise (not really any less shocking!) that had to do with Mickey and a major decision about his future. Let's just say that I CAN NOT WAIT for the next Mickey Haller book. It's a good thing that Michael Connelly is a pretty fast writer!

I sure hope I've convinced you to give THE FIFTH WITNESS a try. It's definitely Michael Connelly at his best!

Thanks to the publisher for sending a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

I loved The Lincoln Lawyer, so I'm anxious to read more about Mickey! I'm glad to see the series stays strong!

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

Yay for the love fest! I have heard great things about this book!

Beth F said...

I loved THE LINCOLN LAWYER so you know I"m going to love this. I have it waiting for me!

Anonymous said...

I really have to get off the stick and start reading Michael Connelly, every one just raves about him. This sounds like a winner.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

It is so funny the way the detectives always know they're on the right track when their own lives get in danger. I mean, not funny, but so frequent, I guess is the word! I wonder if that happens in real life!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I kind of have an ebb and flow relationship with his books. But Matthew McConaughey is quite a nice vision while you are reading now, isn't he????