We first meet Michael (Mickey) Haller in Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer (M). Haller is the much younger half-brother of another of Connelly’s creations, homicide detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch (M). Haller runs his legal practice in the Los Angeles area from the comfort and convenience of his Lincoln Town Car.
In The Lincoln Lawyer, “Bikers, con artists, drunk drivers, drug dealers – they’re all on Mickey Haller’s client list. For him, the law is rarely about guilt or innocence, it’s about negotiation and manipulation. Sometimes it’s even about justice. A Beverly Hills playboy arrested for attacking a woman he picked up in a bar chooses Haller to defend him, and Mickey has his first high-paying client in years. It is a defense attorney’s dream, what they call a franchise case. And as the evidence stacks up, Haller comes to believe this may be the easiest case of his career. Then someone close to him is murdered and Haller discovers that his search for innocence has brought him face-to-face with evil as pure as a flame. To escape without being burned, he must deploy every tactic, feint, and instinct in his arsenal – this time to save his own life. ” publisher
By the time we see Haller in the latest installment, The Fifth Witness (M), he is twice divorced and shares custody of his thirteen year old daughter with her mother. He maintains a good relationship with both his ex-wives and fondly hopes to restore good marital relations with Maggie “McFierce” McPherson. Though his staff has grown, he is still operating out of his car. With the downturn in the economy, his practice is now largely dealing with mortgage foreclosures, as criminals are less likely to afford his expensive services. It’s a lucrative business but it does have a slightly uncomfortable feel to it. All he is doing is buying his clients a little more time to stay in their homes. Ultimately he cannot halt the inevitable. Lisa Trammell, a high profile foreclosure client, has been accused of murdering the very man who was in charge of her foreclosure. Haller finds himself in criminal defense once again.
Mickey Haller is sharp-witted, quick on his feet, and possesses a strong nerve. Although he has some misgivings about defending the guilty, he goes about his clients’ defense in a business-like manner. He is contrasted with his idealistic young associate Jennifer Aronson, who believes that it matters whether or not a client is innocent. Haller maintains that it matters not, since his client will get the best defense he can give based on the facts and the law.
The Fifth Witness takes place largely within the courtroom with plenty of verbal and mental sparring amongst Haller, the prosecutor and the judge. Fans of recent televised reality courtroom proceedings will enjoy the legal proceedings, mixed with well drawn characters and a suspenseful and gritty story. Fans of legal thrillers might also consider novels by Scott Turow (M), William Bernhardt (M) and Phillip Margolin (M).
The Lincoln Lawyer was made into a movie (M) this year starring Matthew McConaughey.