Mickey Haller # 4
Read by Peter Giles
2011 / ISBN: 9781600247224
Legal Mystery / Los Angeles, CA / Contemporary
by LJ Roberts
First Sentence: Mrs. Pena looked across the seat at me and
held up her hands in a beseeching manner.
Attorney Mickey Haller has left defense law and has been spending
his time defending homeowners against banks and agencies threatening
to foreclose on their homes. One of his clients, Lisa Trammel, started
marching in front of the bank who held her paper, to the point where
they took out a restraining order against her being within 50 feet
of the banks offices. When Mickey receives a call that Lisa has
been arrested for the murder of the bank’s vice president
in charge of foreclosures, not only is he back in defense law, but
out of the rolling office of his Lincoln Town Car and in a formal
office with his team. Although the defense team has slight physical
evidence, Haller works on Lisa having been set up and there being
a “fifth witness,” and someone else behind the murder.
Could there be a book with a more timely plot? Yet rather than
seeming trite, Connolly makes foreclosures a fascinating backdrop
for his latest Mickey Haller book. His inclusion of detailed information
on everything from the processes for foreclosures, setting up book
and movie deals to pay for legal defense, and legal and police procedures
adds interest and veracity to the story, as well as to the character,
but can also take you out of the plot when they become overlong.
Connolly constructs his characters very well. Because he provides
their history, there is no feeling of having been dropped into the
series midstream. You know who each character is and how they relate
to one another. There are several character threads to the story,
and you care about what happens in each case.
Connolly uses language well and writes very evocative descriptions
but doesn’t include enough of them. He has an excellent ear
for dialogue, occasional touches of humor such as when Mickey is
asked whether the actor Matthew McConaughey would be a good choice
to play Mickey in a movie—which, in fact, McConaughey is doing.
There is also a fleeting cameo by Connolly’s character of
Harry Bosch, Connolly’s primary series, and a reference to
the artist Hieronymus Bosch, after whom the character is named.
The plot is very well constructed. It is particularly nice that
Haller, and his team, during their investigation, stay within the
law. There is no smart hacker on the side or “don’t
ask how I got this” moment which is refreshing. Connolly writes
the physical scenes, whether violence or seduction, well. It was
curious and apparent that he was comfortable writing a scene of
graphic violence, while seduction stopped at the bedroom door. There
were very effective twists and, at one point, a good build of intensity.
The ending, with very powerful plot twists, was extremely well done.
There were weaknesses to the story. Connolly heavily salts the
story with mini-cliffhangers which are explained soon thereafter
but became annoying. The character used the analogy of a court case
being similar to the classical piece “Bolero” which
consists of many small high point but finally builds to a dramatic
crescendo. The story did follow that pattern, but there were times
where it felt as though it took a long time to get there.
Keeping the audio critique separate; Mr. Giles was not the best
possible reader. His tone often sounded belligerent or almost angry,
when the scene didn’t warrant it. There were a couple times
where it was difficult to distinguish between dialogue and narration.
With a physical book, one can pass quickly through the detailed
procedural information without losing the flow of the story. This
is not as true of the audio version. Although the information was
interesting, there were times it felt as though it overwhelmed the
The Fifth Witness was not Connolly’s best book and
certainly did not come up to the level of The Lincoln Lawyer.
It was, however, fascinating for its timeliness and engrossing enough
to keep one reading.
of other titles in this series
Lincoln Lawyer #1 [book] [audio]
The Brass Verdict #2 (Haller / Bosch) [audio]
The Reversal # #3 (Haller
/ Bosch) [book]
The Fifth Witness #4 [book]
The Gods of Guilt #5 [audio]
9 Dragons [Bosch series/ Haller has small part] [Audio