Thursday, July 08, 2010

Connelly scores with tale of Defense Lawyer

The Lincoln Lawyer
By Michael Connelly
ISBN: 0-446-61645-1
Pub, Warner Books, PB,
516 pages; released, 2006

Mickey Haller is a Los Angeles defense attorney. He’s been at the job long enough to qualify as a pro. Along the way he’s acquired two ex-wives, a daughter, a free-lance investigator, a host of clients and ex-clients, a driver, and three Lincoln Town cars. Hence the title of the novel.

Connelly is an experienced crime novelist with some serious recognition in hand. He’s a fine writer and that’s a good thing. If he was any less talented, this over-long novel would really weigh you down. Compelling is an overused term, but in an odd way it applies. The novel is a long and twisting trail to a stunning conclusion in a way that almost forces the reader to deal with many of Haller’s shibboleths. His slide into near depression as he dissects and excoriates himself over the growing venality of those who try to enforce the law and those who try to manipulate the machine to preserve the lives and rights of the citizens caught up in our adversarial legal system, provides us with a disturbing inside look at the workings of our justice system. The legal system is a machine and the people in it are gears and levers and wheels. About the only people in the machine he treats lightly are the judges. Everyone else come in for some well-aimed cudgels.

Haller is the son of a famous defense lawyer who echoes his father’s concern. He is afraid he won’t recognize true innocence when he hears and sees it. Indeed, it is Connolly’s contention, as expressed in this novel, that is exactly what happens all too often. One might wonder if defense lawyers around the world have this same concern.

Connelly can be counted on to deliver a well-thought-out, strong and realistic novel, which in the fantasy world of Crime Fiction is a real accomplishment.

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