Book Review: The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

I love a good crime/legal thriller so as Connelly has been touted as the “new John Grisham” I thought I’d check this book out, especially as it was only 50p at HMV.

linclaw

The book follows Mickey Haller, an LA defence attorney who operates largely from the back of his Lincoln town car (hence the title), Haller is getting by and sees the legal system as a machine in which he plays a vital part. His job brings him into contact with various unsavoury types and has cost him two marriages, the first being to Maggie, who he still loves and who works as a prosecutor.

Sensing a big pay day Mickey takes the case of a rich businessman accused of a violent assault on a woman. Mickey takes him on as a client and believes his innocence, but as the case progresses things start to get a little murkier and there may be a connection to an earlier case of Mickey’s. As the machine starts to break down, Mickey must assess his own role as an attorney and begins to question his moral compass.

Can justice prevail? And what will the case mean for Mickey on a personal level?

After a slow start this developed into a pretty decent and gripping read. It’s kind of an airport book, but quite a good one. The legal system in America provides a good background and the case develops nicely as the book goes on, and Connelly manages to create a rather endearing protagonist and narrator in Mickey.

Mickey starts the novel as a fairly confident, self assured guy who’s made peace with his role in the legal system and justifies defending guilty clients to himself by seeing himself as a vital element which serves to help keep the law fair and honest. It’s a rather nice idea, but even in the opening stages Connelly allows little cracks to emerge, telling us that this is merely what Mickey tells himself to keep doing his job.

The argument over Mickey’s role crops up throughout the novel, when he argues with his more idealistic ex and in his run-ins with various police officers along the way.

Connelly keeps his writing simple and without many frills but the characterization he does is quite neat and after taking a while to warm up he hits a rhythm and makes this a great example of a page turner. It took me a few days to get through the first quarter of the book, but I blitzed the rest in a couple of sessions.

The central case doesn’t have a lot of surprises, but Connelly reveals it in a well thought out and engaging way, and it shifts towards something darker smoothly, with Connelly handling the changes in tone and tension building rather well.

One of the problems I did have though was the ending. I was galloping towards it when I realized that I didn’t have that much of the book left, but a few loose ends needing to be tidied up. Sadly, Connelly makes a hash of the ending somewhat and uses the “six months later” style prologue to tie up all the loose ends in a way that feels like a bit of a cop out.

But aside from this, it was quite a satisfying read. It won’t change your life, but it’ll keep you entertained at poolside or on a long flight.

Verdict: A decent enough read, with an engaging central character and entertaining enough. It takes a while to get into gear, but once it does it zips along quite well, even if the ending is disappointing. 6/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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