The Lincoln Lawyer: A Novel
Mickey Haller has spent all his professional life afraid that he wouldn’t recognize innocence if it stood right in front of him. But what he should have been on the watch for was evil. Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense pro who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, to defend the clients at the bottom of the legal food chain. It’s no wonder that he is despised by cops, prosecutors, and even some of his own clients. From bikers to con artists to drunk drivers and drug dealers, they’re all on Mickey Haller’s client list. But when a Beverly Hills rich boy is arrested for brutally beating a woman, Haller has his first high-paying client in years. It’s a franchise case and he’s sure it will be a slam dunk in the courtroom. For once, he may be defending a client who is actually innocent. But an investigator is murdered for getting too close to the truth and Haller quickly discovers that his search for innocence has taken him face-to-face with a kind of evil as pure as a flame. To escape without being burned, Haller must use all of his skills to manipulate a system in which he no longer believes.
Best-selling author Michael Connelly, whose character-driven literary mysteries have earned him a wide following, breaks from the gate in the over-crowded field of legal thrillers and leaves every other contender from Grisham to Turow in the dust with this tightly plotted, brilliantly paced, impossible-to-put-down novel.
Criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller’s father was a legendary lawyer whose clients included gangster Mickey Cohen (in a nice twist, Cohen’s gun, given to Dad then bequeathed to his son, plays a key role in the plot). But Dad also passed on an important piece of advice that’s especially relevant when Mickey takes the case of a wealthy Los Angeles realtor accused of attempted murder: “The scariest client a lawyer will ever have is an innocent client. Because if you [screw] up and he goes to prison, it’ll scar you for life.”
Louis Roulet, Mickey’s “franchise client” (so-called becaue he’s able and willing to pay whatever his defense costs) seems to be the one his father warned him against, as well as being a few rungs higher on the socio-economic ladder than the drug dealers, homeboys, and motorcycle thugs who comprise Mickey’s regular case load. But as the holes in Roulet’s story tear Mickey’s theory of the case to shreds, his thoughts turn more to Jesus Menendez, a former client convicted of a similar crime who’s now languishing in San Quentin. Connelly tellingly delineates the code of legal ethics Mickey lives by: “It didn’t matter…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.” But by the time his client goes to trial, Mickey’s feeling a few very reasonable doubts of his own.
While Mickey’s courtroom pyrotechnics dazzle, his behind-the-scenes machinations and manipulations are even more incendiary in this taut, gripping novel, which showcases all of Connelly’s literary gifts. There’s not an excess sentence or padded paragraph in it—what there is, happily, is a character who, like Harry Bosch, deserves a franchise series of his own. —Jane Adams
Barnes and Noble
In the first-ever legal thriller by crime novelist Michael Connelly, author of the bestselling Harry Bosch saga (The Closers, The Narrows, Lost Light, et al.), ethically ambiguous defense attorney Mickey Haller’s search for innocence in a high-profile case involving a young Beverly Hills playboy leads him to the ultimate evil…
A veteran defense attorney, Haller is understandably cynical about the system. (“The law was a large, rusting machine that sucked up people and lives and money. I was just a mechanic. I had become an expert at going into the machine and fixing things and extracting what I needed from it in return.”) When a “franchise” case falls into his lap, one that could give him his biggest payoff ever, Haller jumps at the chance to defend a rich realtor accused of brutally beating and attempting to rape a wannabe actress with a shady background. The baby-faced realtor is vehement about his innocence, and as Haller begins to build his case, he’s confident of victory—that is, until he inadvertently discovers something that will not only overturn an old murder case but also put him and his crew in mortal peril…
Fans of Connelly’s previous Harry Bosch novels will find The Lincoln Lawyer even more compelling—since Haller happens to be Bosch’s half brother and, according to sources, there is a sequel in the works that includes the maverick former LAPD detective! Like its luxury-auto namesake, The Lincoln Lawyer is a sumptuous thriller that excels in every measurable category: plot complexity, character development, pacing, intensity, etc. It is, quite possibly, Connelly’s best yet. Paul Goat Allen
In the gripping thriller The Lincoln Lawyer, Matthew McConaughey stars as Michael “Mick” Haller, a slick, charismatic Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back of his Lincoln Continental sedan. Having spent most of his career defending petty, gutter- variety criminals, Mick unexpectedly lands the case of a lifetime: defending a rich Beverly Hills playboy (Ryan Phillippe) who is accused of attempted murder. However, what initially appears to be a straightforward case with a big money pay-off swiftly develops into a deadly match between two masters of manipulation and a crisis of conscience for Haller.