Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Review: The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly (Mickey Haller #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Many of the characters; the story overall
Cons: Some pacing with the story
The Bottom Line
Innocent client?
The pacing could be tighter
But the book is good

Has Mickey Haller Found an Innocent Client?

The idea of reading Michael Connelly's books has crossed my mind multiple times, and a couple months before The Lincoln Lawyer was turned into a movie, I finally did just that.

The book stars Mickey Haller, a defense attorney who represents clients all over Los Angeles County.  As a result, he doesn't have an office but conducts business in the back seat of his Lincoln.

As the story opens, Mickey has just gotten a new client.  Louis Roulet is accused of attacking a woman in her home, a charge that Louis denies vehemently.  Since Louis is rich, Mickey sees this as a chance to make some money on a case to refill his always depleted bank accounts.

The case again Louis seems to be straight forward, and Mickey is almost afraid that he will lose out on that big payday.  But the more Mickey gets involved in the case, the more he begins to suspect that something much bigger is a stake.  Is Louis innocent or not?

I don't normally read legal thrillers, so I'm not familiar with the conventions of the genre.  Even so, I felt the pacing was off in the book.  There were some scenes in the beginning that only marginally mattered to the plot.  I was completely caught up in the story in the middle, but things slowed down again for the actual trial. Since very little happened there we weren't expecting, I got frustrated with the pace at times.  Then things picked up again for a climax that left me breathless.

Even with my complaints about the pacing, I liked the story overall.

Very few characters were completely well drawn, but those who were important to the story were fleshed out and very distinct.  Mickey has two ex-wives, and his relationships with them give us an interesting view of him.  The villain of the piece is pure evil and made me look over my shoulder while reading.  Many of the secondary characters were interesting; they just weren't around enough to truly become real to me.

The book is narrated by Mickey, and this is used to really help us get to know him.  While I don't agree with everything he does, I understand him.  The writing gets out of the way and lets you get lost in the story.

So, would I read more Michael Connelly?  Based on The Lincoln Lawyer, I'd certainly be interested in doing that.

More courtroom drama can be found in the rest of the Mickey Haller series.

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