Book Review | “The Lincoln Lawyer”

Review by Leah CooperUntitled

If you like crime fiction mysteries, I highly recommend Michael Connelly’s books. The first book of his I read was ‘The Lincoln Lawyer.’

Mickey Haller is a criminal defense attorney who works from the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car, defending the underbelly of Los Angeles – con artists, drunk drivers, drug dealers, gangsters.

Haller is introduced in ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ as the half-brother of Connelly’s mainstay detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch, lead character in eleven earlier Connelly police procedurals.

Bosch returned in Connelly’s next book, Echo Park, and continues to solve cold case murders in more than a dozen subsequent books, both as the lead character and as the detective in other Mickey Haller and Renee Ballard novels.

I have read more than twenty Connelly novels, so I guess I am officially a fan. In ‘The Lincoln Lawyer,’ Mickey Haller has a defense attorney’s dream case, as he is hired to defend a Beverly Hills playboy arrested for attacking a woman he picked up in a bar.

For the first time in years, Mickey has a high-paying client. At first, the evidence makes the case seem like a slam dunk win. Then someone close to him is murdered, and everything is not what it seems.

Maybe that earlier client who is now in jail really is innocent. With a blurb by Scott Turow on the back cover – “brisk pacing, clever twists, artful writing, and an atmosphere of complete authority” – this turned out to be Connelly’s breakout book.

Harry Bosch considers defense attorneys sort of the enemy as he works as a cop and investigator to find and put away murderers. This sets up some tension in the books where they interact, while also developing a relationship they first learned about as adults.

In ‘Echo Park,’ LAPD detective Harry Bosch works in the Open-Unsolved Unit, where he still keeps the Marie Gesto disappearance file on his desk. An alleged killer confesses to several murders, including that of Marie Gesto, in an attempt to cop a plea to avoid the death penalty.

When Bosch learns that he and his partner missed a clue thirteen years ago that could have led to Gesto’s killer and prevented several subsequent murders, his whole being as a cop begins to crack.

In his review, Matthew Lewin of The Guardian (London) wrote, “Connelly has produced another blindingly good plot which, mixed with spellbinding action, takes us deep into a corrupt world. Not for the first time do we discover that there is a very fine line indeed between criminals and the police.”

Each of Connelly’s novels can stand alone, but I enjoy seeing the lead characters develop as the years pass, as well trying to figure out “whodunit.” Harry Bosch’s mission statement is “Everyone counts or nobody counts.”

In 2017, the LAPD included this quote on the wall of their remodeled detective bureau’s workspace.

This is a great testimony to the integrity of Connelly’s writing, and one more reason why you should drop by Jefferson Carnegie Library to check out one of his books.


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