Monday, March 7, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
Grand Central Publishing, copyright 2005
Trade Paperback, 432 pages
Mickey Haller Series , #1
ISBN-13: 9781455500246
Highly Recommended

Synopsis from cover:
For defense attorney Mickey Haller, the clock is always running. With two ex-wives, four Lincoln Town Cars that he uses as offices, and dozens of guilty clients, he can't afford to miss a trick. when he gets picked by a Beverly Hills rich boy arrested for assault, Mickey sees a franchise case: a nice, long, expensive trial with maximum billable hours - until it hurtles him into the last place he wants to be. Suddenly hustling, cynical
Mickey Haller is confronted with pure evil and someone who may be truly innocent. Now, for a lawyer who has always gone for the easy score, getting justice means taking the deadliest risk of all.
My Thoughts:

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly is his first legal thriller - and the first book in a new series featuring Mickey Haller. Mickey is a criminal defense lawyer whose office is the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car. He is cynical, shrewd, hard-working, and ethically challenged, but he also has a hidden shred of integrity left.

Mickey is generally scrambling to make a buck any way he can. When he is called to defend Louis Ross Roulet, a Beverly Hills real estate agent, Mickey sees a potentially easy, but big-money making "franchise" case. What he doesn't immediately see is the evil behind Roulet's facade.

Connelly is a master at story telling and moving the plot along. There are several twists and turns that kept me very interested. Additionally, Connelly does a great job developing his characters. Mickey comes across as a very flawed but sympathetic character. This is a great introduction to a new series.

No spoilers, but I was questioning Mickey's actions during a rather important point in the plot. It seemed that he could have done something different - there are avenues of action in place for lawyers with that dilemma.

The Brass Verdict, the second book in series, pairs Haller with his half brother, Harry Bosch, a long-time Connelly character. The Reversal is the third book, and the fourth book, The Fifth Witness, is scheduled to be released at the beginning of April 2011.
The movie version of The Lincoln Lawyer stars Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller and is due to be released on March 18, 2011.
Highly Recommended

Disclosure: This book and a movie poster was sent to me by the publisher after I won a give-away for it at Beth Fish Reads.


The morning air off the Mojave in late winter is as clean and crisp as you'll ever breathe in Los Angeles County. It carries the taste of promise on it. opening

You could say his name is also permanently scratched onto my Christmas list. At the end of the year I give a can of salted nuts to everybody on it. Planters holiday mix. Each can has a ribbon and bow on it. But no nuts inside. Just cash. I have a lot of bail bondsmen on my Christmas list. I eat holiday mix out of Tupperware well into spring. Since my last divorce, it is sometimes all I get for dinner. pg. 3-4

While being held in the Lancaster jail he had cut his hair and shaved, as I had requested, and he looked reasonably presentable except for the tattoos that wrapped both arms and poked up above his collar. But there is only so much you can do. I don't know much about the effect of tattoos on a jury but I suspect it's not overly positive, especially when grinning skulls are involved. I do know that jurors in general don't care for ponytails — on either defendants or the lawyers who represent them. pg. 9

Boyleston was going to go away for a long time and there was almost nothing I could do but negotiate a deal trading Boyleston's cooperation for a lower sentence. That didn't matter, though. What mattered to me were the tapes. I had taken the case because of the tapes. The federal government would pay me to listen to the tapes in preparation for defending my client. That meant I would get a minimum of 50 billable hours out of Boyleston and the government before it was all settled. So I made sure the tapes were in heavy rotation whenever I was riding in the Lincoln. I wanted to make sure that if I ever had to put my hand on the book and swear to tell the truth, I could say in good conscience that I played every one of those tapes I billed Uncle Sugar for. pg. 17

Lorna is the first buffer. To get to me you start with her. My cell number is given out to only a few and Lorna is the gatekeeper. She is tough, smart, professional and beautiful. Lately, though, I only get to verify this last attribute once a month or so when I take her to lunch and sign checks — she's my bookkeeper, too. pg. 18

There was nothing about the law that I cherished anymore. The law school notions about the virtue of the adversarial system, of the system's checks and balances, of the search for truth had long since eroded like the faces of statues from other civilizations. The law was not about truth. It was about negotiation, amelioration, manipulation. I didn't deal in guilt and innocence because everybody was guilty. Of something. But it didn't matter because every case I took on was a house built on a foundation poured by overworked and underpaid laborers. They cut corners. They made mistakes. And then they painted over the mistakes with lies. My job was to peel away the paint and find the cracks. To work my fingers and tools into those cracks and widen them. To make them so big that either the house fell down or, failing that, my client slipped through.
Much of society thought of me as the devil but they were wrong. I was a greasy angel. I was the true road saint. I was needed and wanted. By both sides. I was the oil in the machine. I allowed the gears to crank and turn. I helped keep the engine of the system running.
But all of that would change with the Roulet case. For me. For him. And certainly for Jesus Menendez. pg. 25

It didn't matter in terms of the strategy of the case whether the defendant 'did it' or not. What mattered was the evidence against him - the proof - and if and how it could be neutralized. My job was to bury the proof, to color the proof a shade of gray. Gray was the color of reasonable doubt. pg. 47

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