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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

In tough times, crime is one of the few things that still pays, but if defense attorney Mickey Haller was expecting an uptick in business during the economic downturn, the reality is a different story. Even people needing legal representation to keep them out of jail are having to make cut-backs, it seems. In fact, the most significant part of Mickey's business right now is not about keeping clients out of jail but about keeping a roof over their heads, as the foreclosure boom hits thousands of people who were granted unrealistic mortgages in the good times and now face being kicked to the curb by ruthless corporations. Lisa Trammel had been a client of Mickey's for eight months - his very first foreclosure case, in fact - and although so far he'd managed to stop the bank from taking her house, the strain and sense of injustice are beginning to take their toll, and the bank had recently got a restraining order to prevent her protesting against their fraudulent practices. But now the bank's CEO, Mitchell Bondurant, has been found in the bank's car park with a bullet in his brain, and Lisa is about to be indicted for murder. For Mickey, it's back to what he does best on the biggest stage of all, but if he thought defending Lisa Trammel was going to be a walk in the park, he'd be wrong. Not only is he about to learn some startling truths about his client, but also about himself, and by the time the verdict is in, Mickey's whole world will have been turned upside down.

I am a great fan of Michael Connelly and each year look forward to his new release. Michael has two main characters which each have their own series of books - Harry Bosch and Michael Haller. In Michael's previous book, The Reversal, the two men met up and worked together however this book is Michael Haller - a defense lawyer who has been has been working with people trying to save their home when illegal foreclosure's are pending. However, one of his client's, Lisa Trammel, needs his defense skills when she is arrested and charged with the murder of Mitchell Bondurant, the man who signed the letters actioning the foreclosure of her home loan. She has the motive, has been sighted near the location of the murder at the right time and the murder weapon is found with DNA evidence - but did she commit the crime??

The book tells the story of the case and trial against Trammel and Haller's case against what the prosecution allege has happened. The case is a strong one and Haller believes his client's innocence bringing in experts to disprove the prosecutions case. The case and evidence is complicated, however, as ever, Connelly keeps the readers attention with his sharp and precise writing, allowing yourself to believe you are in the courtroom watching the case. The case is exciting and interesting - who knew so much could be learnt from a skull about a head wound - with much detail being provided in Connelly's writing.

The case ends and the book ends not long after - however, not before Connelly puts in one of his spectacular twists, one that was eluded to previously in the book, however one which seemed an insignificant detail but of course that is the key to a good case, finding that hidden detail. I will not spoil it here but it was a very clever one! Well done Michael - another excellent read!!

I recommend this book to all crime fans - Michael Conelly fans or new readers to this excellent author.

Thank you to Waterstones for sending me this book to review.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really into crime thrillers at the moment, but I haven't read any of Michael Connelly's... yet!