Friday, 8 February 2013



In tough times, crime is one of the few things that still pays, but even criminals are having to make cut-backs. So for defence lawyer Mickey Haller, most of his new business is not about keeping people out of jail; it's about keeping a roof over their heads as the foreclosure business is booming. Lisa Trammel has been a client of Mickey's for eight months, and so far he's stopped the bank from taking her house. But now the bank's CEO has been found beaten to death - and Lisa is about to be indicted for murder...

I’ve put off reading any Michael Connelly books for a good while now. When I first started reading him, I was absolutely staggered by the quality of his writing. Once I had discovered him, I was like a pig rolling in shit, a dog with two dicks and the cat that had got the cream – all bundled up into one happy parcel of book-reading joy, if you get the picture. I had about 15 or so of his back catalogue to catch up on, which was fantastic reading for a fair few months. I absolutely loved Harry Bosch and couldn’t get enough of him.  

Unfortunately though, and in the words of The Righteous Brothers  crooning “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” his last 3 or 4 books just haven’t done it for me. Connelly had introduced a fresh character, Mickey Haller into his arsenal and whilst he was likeable enough and shared a parent and sometimes a storyline with Bosch, Connelly just didn’t grab me in the way that he used to.

Picking up The Fifth Witness, more with a sense of apprehension than anticipation, I had already put him on notice that once this, The Drop and The Black Box (both on mount TBR) were done, if he didn’t up his game, he was joining the ranks of ex-authors – those that I used to read......James Lee Burke, Jason Starr, James Ellroy, Robert Ferrigno to mention a few.

Well happy to report that this time around he nailed it for me. Haller, criminal defence lawyer extraordinaire defends Lisa Trammel on a murder charge. Lisa, an unsympathetic character relies upon Haller to convince a jury that she is innocent of killing Michael Bondurant, a bank executive who’s actively engaged in trying to foreclose on her property.

Without going into mega detail, Connelly kept me hooked for over 550 pages...........the cops, the investigation, the trial, the prosecution, Haller’s team, his ex-wife and daughter, the absent husband, foreclosures, bank fraud, dubious Hollywood agents and film-makers, East coast Mafiosi linked with West coast banking magnates and an LA biker gang. Plenty of ingredients in the pot, with a few blind alleys and red herrings; all blended together skilfully and served up.

4 from 5

My copy was bought new last year sometime in paperback.   

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