Top positive review
33 people found this helpful
on May 2, 2011
Of course it's court drama; it's the Lincoln Lawyer at work. However, The Fifth Witness is different from the other Haller novels, which are often more traditional crime stories. This is actual courtroom stuff, recalling the earlier work of, e.g., Steve Martini. The novel proceeds day by day, witness by witness and focuses on the workings of a defense attorney's mind. The law and legal strategy are the focal points of the novel. Past surveys have shown that there is a disconnect between readers' interests and publishers' offerings. Bottom line: readers love courtroom drama, but there's too little of it out there. There's too little because you need to be able to think like a defense attorney and you need to know the law and the lore to write such a book. Steve Martini's earlier books were fascinating in their exploration of courtroom procedure, even if the writing was not as polished as in the author's later work. Connelly, however, brings his silk-smooth prose along with the courtroom strategy and lore. The result is something very special (but slightly different from the preceding novels).
Connelly began his career as a journalist, but he has been able to immerse himself in the world of the law and The Fifth Witness is the most dramatic result to date. The subject is also current. A woman who was about to lose her house because of her own defaults and the machinations of a sleazy foreclosure company is accused of murdering a bank official. Although she claims to have never actually met him, his blood is on one of her shoes and one of her tools. Mickey thinks she's been framed because, he argues, she is simply too short in height to deliver the blows to the top of the victim's skull which resulted in his death. The prosecutor thinks otherwise and Mickey's ex, Maggie, a prosecutor herself, sympathizes with both. But what will the jury say and will the trial truly bring justice?
A thoughtful page-turner; don't miss it. (And don't be put off by the overall evaluation numbers. Those who are giving few stars are often expressing their feelings concerning the price of the electronic version of the novel.)