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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.)
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on February 2, 2017
Michael Connelly just made me a fiction fan again. I normally read non-fiction (history, political-economics) and sometimes historical fiction here and there....but I have read my share of fiction in the past, and still make sure to read a classic here and there. I did read his book "The Lincoln Lawyer" which I thought was okay (I give it a 6.5 or 7 on a scale of 1 to 10). But I saw this book was highly-recommended, and thought I'd give him another shot. Boy, am I glad I did. This is one of the best novels I've ever read. I am an attorney, and a former criminal defense attorney, and the novel had me riveted. I think he had a few things incorrect (the standard of proof in a Preliminary Hearing is not Preponderance of Evidence, but rather, Probable Cause") but this and other very minor quibbles do not detract from this. It was rather heavy on courtroom narrative and following, blue-print like, the structure of a trial (opening statement, then prosecutions witness after witness, then defense's witness after witness, and the expected ups and downs)...but that's why I bought the book: I wanted to see some true-to-life court legalities---and it was very entertaining and realistic. All I can say is when I was finished, I thrust it upon my wife, insisting that she read it immediately. And I will be reading another of his books as soon as possible.
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on April 27, 2017
Good story. Connelly is very good at fleshing out his characters thoroughly and putting together an interesting plot. What strikes me the most about the Lincoln Lawyer series, however, is how flawed our legal system is. Yes, it's better than what a lot of countries have, but that might not be saying a lot. What we have is games between prosecution and defense, much that is relevant that is withheld from the jury for one reason or another, and juries that are expected to decide whether someone is guilty or innocent based on legal posturing and insufficient, sometimes erroneous information. This is, of course, exaggerated in fictional writing but maybe not by much. Bottom line: Enjoy the book but live your life of crime vicariously and steer clear of the law.
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on March 28, 2015
In the back of my mind, I was giving Michael Connelly's "The Fifth Witness" a five-star rating as I was reading it. This, to me, was another successful Lincoln Lawyer novel, filled with loops and great courtroom drama. Then I got to the last ten pages. I had to drop two stars. Two things happened at the very conclusion that just did not fit. ****SPOILER ALERT****DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU ARE GOING TO READ THIS BOOK!**** First, the killer, for some reason, reveals the truth. Why? I mean, it did not fit the way the killer had been acting before! Second, Michael Haller, telepathically it seems, knows where a dead body is. How? I don't think I missed any clues or anything. If I had, I don't think it was my fault. I hated to change my star value for the book, but the conclusion was just too quick and too out of left field. In fact, it was from another stadium.
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on July 6, 2017
I really enjoyed this book as I did the others that I have read, including the Harry Bosch series. I only have one problem. To this day I don't know what Mickey Haller looks like. In this specific book there is one reference in passing that talks abut his dark looks. What does that mean?

Harry Bosch's physical appearance is a mystery. Only in the first books of this series when he was a young man was he described, but from there onwards, he is just a body.

Come. Mr Connelly, show your main characters' eyes and faces.
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on April 3, 2014
I've been a fan of Michael Connelly for years, both for the Lincoln Lawyer books and for Harry Bosch, their godfather. He not only makes Los Angeles seem attractive, sort of, but he just spins a good yarn. I think sometimes he compresses too far to be believable - here, on the wispiest of evidence, he has the accused dragged from her home, arrested for murder and locked up tight within eight hours of the discovery of the body - don't they have grand juries in California? - but it does get things off to a fast start. The real appeal lies in the twists and turns of the later courtroom exercises. I usually read my mysteries at bedtime - you have to be wide awake for WWII - and I found myself staring in the dark at the ceiling more than once wondering how Mickey Haller, our lawyer, was going to handle this one. I enjoyed the intellectual stretching I had to do. The ending had a twist worth waiting for as well. My only serious gripe stems from the fact that, being part of a series, the book must deal with backstories, which take up time and are really only distracting. Mickey has two(!) ex-wives coming and going here, and most of his staff - he doesn't have just the car - have some personal connections as well, all of which must be recapped. The resulting paragraphs hold things up.
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on June 18, 2017
Mickey is temporarily down on his luck working foreclosures when one if his clients is accused of murder. The prosecution and the police rush to judgement. Mickey is convinced there is a sinister element working in the background, specifically when he is savagely beaten. This is a really hard book to put down!
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on May 30, 2017
Mickey Halley, the Lincoln Lawyer, kind of grows on a reader. I met him through Harry Bosch and I've enjoyed making his acquaintance. This book was the best yet and they were all good leading to this crescendo. Highly recommended reading! Fast paced, full of twists and turns. Great book!
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on June 6, 2015
This is a no frills legal thriller. The story is told from the point of view of defense attorney Mickey Haller, Michael Connelly's famous Lincoln Lawyer character. Haller's client is a school teacher who is accused of murdering a bank official who was involved in foreclosing on her house. The story is told in a straight forward way with only a couple of minor subplots involving Haller's never ending love for his ex-wife and daughter and his efforts to stay off the booze.

The courtroom scenes are excellent, almost riveting in places, and the minor characters are varied and interesting. The plot lacks the usual twists and turns that most legal thrillers have but Haller is a compelling voice and the story itself carries the reader forward, although parts of it are repeated several times. While not as good as the original Lincoln Lawyer, this Mickey Haller outing is a solid read. Perfect for a long plane ride or a day at the beach.
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on June 11, 2013
The Fifth Witness was my introduction to Michael Connelly's work. In my mind, I immediately began to compare him to John Grisham. I knew it would be hard to knock John off my pedestal, and indeed, it didn't happen. Actually, Connelly took a seat right beside Grisham. His crime novels (I'm in the middle of my second one) are just as thrilling, but are just different. It's a real learning experience when you read Connelly.

The topic in The Fifth Witness is detailed and current...foreclosures. You learn how a bank does it... the step by step process. Foreclosures are universal, but the setting for the novel took me aback a little...I'm a New York City retired teacher and Connelly's setting is L.A. I learned some things about L.A. Now, Grisham doesn't stick to Tennessee, but his themes are so personal to me, that I don't think about WHERE they're happening (social injustice, distaste for how the law works , etc.) but WHAT'S happening.

Connelly's work is as "up-all-night" surprising and thrilling as Grisham's, but you're always learning...Grisham is the first to tell you he may be 'off' on some legal points, but he's all about the story. I learned that Connelly's investigator is as important as Mickey Haller, the lawyer, himself. And who would have compared a musical composition (Bolero) to the way a courtroom procedure would go...reaching a crescendo, etc.? I loved it.
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