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The Lincoln Lawyer: A Novel (Mickey Haller) Hardcover – October 3, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Veteran bestseller Connelly enters the crowded legal thriller field with flash and panache. Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller regularly represents lowlifes, but he's no slickster trolling for loopholes in the ethics laws. He's haunted by how he mishandled the case of (probably innocent) Jesus Menendez, and, though twice divorced, he's on good terms with his ex-wives; one of them manages his office, and the other, an ambitious assistant DA, occasionally tumbles back into bed with him. When Mickey signs on to defend young real estate agent Louis Roulet against charges of assault, he can't help seeing dollar signs: Roulet's imperious mother will spend any amount to prove her beloved son's innocence. But probing the details of the case, Mickey and private investigator Raul Levin dig up a far darker picture of Roulet's personality and his past. Levin's murder and a new connection to the Menendez case make Mickey wonder if he's in over his head, and his defense of Roulet becomes a question of morality as well as a test of his own survival. After Connelly spends the book's first half involving the reader in Mickey's complex world, he thrusts his hero in the middle of two high-stakes duels, against the state and his own client, for heart-stopping twists and topflight storytelling. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • Series: Mickey Haller
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (October 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316734934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316734936
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,152,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Michael Connelly was born in Philadelphia, PA on July 21, 1956. He moved to Florida with his family when he was 12 years old. Michael decided to become a writer after discovering the books of Raymond Chandler while attending the University of Florida. Once he decided on this direction he chose a major in journalism and a minor in creative writing -- a curriculum in which one of his teachers was novelist Harry Crews.

After graduating in 1980, Connelly worked at newspapers in Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, primarily specializing in the crime beat. In Fort Lauderdale he wrote about police and crime during the height of the murder and violence wave that rolled over South Florida during the so-called cocaine wars. In 1986, he and two other reporters spent several months interviewing survivors of a major airline crash. They wrote a magazine story on the crash and the survivors which was later short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. The magazine story also moved Connelly into the upper levels of journalism, landing him a job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, one of the largest papers in the country, and bringing him to the city of which his literary hero, Chandler, had written.

After three years on the crime beat in L.A., Connelly began writing his first novel to feature LAPD Detective Hieronymus Bosch. The novel, The Black Echo, based in part on a true crime that had occurred in Los Angeles, was published in 1992 and won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by the Mystery Writers of America. Connelly followed up with three more Bosch books, The Black Ice, The Concrete Blonde, and The Last Coyote, before publishing The Poet in 1996--a thriller with a newspaper reporter as a protagonist. In 1997, he went back to Bosch with Trunk Music, and in 1998 another non-series thriller, Blood Work, was published. It was inspired in part by a friend's receiving a heart transplant and the attendant "survivor's guilt" the friend experienced, knowing that someone died in order that he have the chance to live. Connelly had been interested and fascinated by those same feelings as expressed by the survivors of the plane crash he wrote about years before. The movie adaptation of Blood Work was released in 2002, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood.

Connelly's next book, Angels Flight, was released in 1999 and was another entry in the Harry Bosch series. The non-series novel Void Moon was released in 2000 and introduced a new character, Cassie Black, a high-stakes Las Vegas thief. His 2001 release, A Darkness More Than Night, united Harry Bosch with Terry McCaleb from Blood Work, and was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Los Angeles Times.

In 2002, Connelly released two novels. The first, the Harry Bosch book City Of Bones, was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. The second release was a stand-alone thriller, Chasing The Dime, which was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Los Angeles Times.

Lost Light was published in 2003 and named one of the Best Books of 2003 by the Los Angeles Times. It is another in the Harry Bosch series but the first written in first person.
Connelly's 2004 novel, The Narrows, is the sequel to The Poet. It was named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Los Angeles Times. His 11th Harry Bosch novel, The Closers, was published in 2005, and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. The Lincoln Lawyer, Connelly's first-ever legal thriller and his 16th novel, was published in 2005 and also debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. This book introduced Mickey Haller, a Los Angeles defense attorney who works out of the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car. The movie adaptation, starring Matthew McConaughey as Haller, was released in 2011. This is the second film adapted from a Connelly novel.

Crime Beat, a non-fiction collection of crime stories from Michael's days as a journalist, was released in 2006, as was the Harry Bosch novel, Echo Park. The Overlook, Michael's 18th novel, was originally serialized in the New York Times Magazine. This Harry Bosch story was published as a book with additional material in 2007.

Michael's 19th novel, The Brass Verdict, was released in 2008, and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It introduces Lincoln lawyer Mickey Haller to LAPD Detective Harry Bosch in a fast-paced legal thriller. Michael's 20th novel, The Scarecrow, was released in 2009, and reunites reporter Jack McEvoy and FBI Agent Rachel Walling for the first time since The Poet. It too debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Michael released a second book in 2009, the 15th Harry Bosch novel, Nine Dragons. In this story, Bosch goes to Hong Kong to find his missing daughter.

In 2010, The Reversal was released and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. This book has Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch working together on the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. The Fifth Witness, a Mickey Haller novel, was released in 2011 and also debuted at #1. Michael's 2011 novel, The Drop, a Harry Bosch novel, debuted at #1. Another #1 ranked book, The Black Box, focuses on Harry Bosch once again and is Michael's 25th novel. Its release came in Michael's 20th year in publishing, 2012. The Gods of Guilt , a Mickey Haller novel, was released in 2013, and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. The Burning Room, a Harry Bosch novel, was released in 2014 and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Fifty-eight million copies of Connelly's books have sold worldwide and he has been translated into thirty-nine foreign languages. He has won the Edgar Award, Anthony Award, Macavity Award, Los Angeles Times Best Mystery/Thriller Award, Shamus Award, Dilys Award, Nero Award, Barry Award, Audie Award, Ridley Award, Maltese Falcon Award (Japan), .38 Caliber Award (France), Grand Prix Award (France), Premio Bancarella Award (Italy), and the Pepe Carvalho award (Spain) .

In addition to his literary work, Michael is one of the producers and writers of the TV show, "Bosch," which is streaming on Amazon Prime Instant Video now. All 10 episodes can be watched here: http://amzn.to/1A1czNc

Michael lives with his family in Florida.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

560 of 584 people found the following review helpful By G. Ware Cornell Jr. VINE VOICE on October 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Abraham Lincoln is revered by lawyers everywhere for his courtroom skills and practical wisdom. The Lincoln Michael Connelly refers is not Abraham, but rather the automobile.

Mickey Haller, son of an original Los Angeles superstar lawyer, owns several. At times the limousine business seems preferable to his own. But finally he gets, to his eternal regret the "franchise case", the kind of case that not only pays the bills but causes other clients to want his services.

A young rich real estate broker is charged in the attempted murder of a hooker. His insistence in his innocence causes Haller to realize he may have what he has always dreaded, the actually innocent client. But he finds his defense efforts in disarray as the case sours, and he himself becomes a murder suspect.

Non-lawyers usually do not write good legal thrillers. Michael Connelly, a former reporter and America's best mystery writer, is the exception that proves the rule. He has a great ear for the courtroom and a sense of the professional and economic dilemmas trial lawyers face.

I will say this, however, in real life no matter how secret the client confidence, lawyers are ethically able to access the expertise necessary to know how to respond to any dilemma in an ethically sound way. The real Mickey Haller would have picked up the phone to the Bar's hotline for an ethics opinion. That simple act would have destroyed a helluva tale.

I hope we will see more of Haller. He has his demons but he is not as dark a protagonist as Harry Bosch. The reality is, in his first legal thriller, Connelly has produced a book every bit as good as John Grisham's A Time To Kill. That is saying a lot.
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210 of 225 people found the following review helpful By T. Slaven VINE VOICE on February 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mickey Haller is a dirty-shirt criminal defense lawyer who cleans up well. He has a narrow life that is lived within the parameters of the criminal justice "machine". His friends are investigators, bail bondsmen, and other lawyers. His principal challenge is finding enough clients to enable him to make the mortgage payments and otherwise cope with the high cost of living in LA. That focus predisposes him to cut some ethical corners, ignore some people who should be more central to his life, and put aside questions about purpose and the higher good. It's all about the buck.

The buck is all Mickey sees when he lands a wealthy client accused of assault and attempted rape. He worries that the case will be too easy, and his chance for a big score will evaporate in an early plea or a dismissal. However, that turns out not to be the case as Mickey's "franchise" client leads him through a troubling hall of mirrors that both continually distorts the truth and leaves Mickey staring at reflections of himself that he would rather not acknowledge.

This novel is well written and imaginative, and contains some surprising plot twists. It also has some story elements that just don't hang together. There's no credible explanation for why exactly this case fell into Mickey's lap. The surprise climax left me saying, "aw, c'mon!" In the end, the solution was a lot short of what I stayed up until 3 in the morning hoping to see revealed.

But then again, the story did keep me up reading until 3 in the morning. That doesn't happen often. Despite its flaws, this is a book to recommend.
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132 of 148 people found the following review helpful By Tucker Andersen VINE VOICE on November 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This novel is definitely on a par with the best of the fifteen stories in Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series; any initial disappointment that might be experienced by Bosch's fans when they discover that Connelly has at least temporarily abandoned Harry in favor of Mickey Haller, a criminal defense attorney whose seemingly guilty clients often benefit from police errors, will almost immediately be replaced by the recognition that Connelly has created another character at least as complex and interesting as Harry. Mickey's persona is almost the opposite of Harry's, for him the law is about the art of the possible, his clients are often individuals who are down on their luck and on the wrong side of the law. Harry concentrates on identifying the guilty in order to provide justice for the victims and their families; Mickey is afraid that some day he will be hired to defend a client whose innocence he will be incapable of recognizing and thus he will simply pursue the "best deal" as opposed to throwing all his effort into gaining a "not guilty" verdict.

The story opens with Mickey receiving a telephone call from Fernando Valenzuela (no, not the pitcher, but the bail bondsman) in his office while on his way to a court hearing for Harold Casey, a member of the Road Saints motorcycle gang who is awaiting trial on multiple drug and weapons charges. (The Lincoln Town Car which is his office is an integral element both in his life and also eventually becomes an important detail in the particular case which is at the center of this story.
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