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

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,324 customer reviews

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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 (1,324 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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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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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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