The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: October 3, 2005
Synopsis: “Mickey Haller has spent all his professional life afraid that he wouldn’t recognize innocence if it stood right in front of him. But what he should have been on the watch for was evil.Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense pro who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, to defend the clients at the bottom of the legal food chain. It’s no wonder that he is despised by cops, prosecutors, and even some of his own clients.From bikers to con artists to drunk drivers and drug dealers, they’re all on Mickey Haller’s client list. But when a Beverly Hills rich boy is arrested for brutally beating a woman, Haller has his first high-paying client in years. It’s a franchise case and he’s sure it will be a slam dunk in the courtroom. For once, he may be defending a client who is actually innocent. But an investigator is murdered for getting too close to the truth and Haller quickly discovers that his search for innocence has taken him face-to-face with a kind of evil as pure as a flame. To escape without being burned, Haller must use all of his skills to manipulate a system in which he no longer believes.”
Review: Wow. I really wasn’t expecting this to be that good. I saw the previews for the movie back when it came out and it looked cool. However, if a movie is based off of a book, I like to read the book first, so as such I just added The Lincoln Lawyer to my five-thousand-mile-long reading list and didn’t think much of it after that. I even bought the book a while back at a used bookstore, but again, just shelved it in favor of other books that I wanted to read first. So I finished Locked On, by Tom Clancy, and then was looking at my bookshelves and deciding what to read next. TLL caught my eye, and, after watching the trailer for the movie again, I chose that over the other books I was considering. Needless to say, I was hooked from the beginning, promptly read it, finished it Wednesday, and then starting The Brass Verdict (the next book in the Mickey Haller series) and finishing that in a couple days. Both were amazing.
The Lincoln Lawyer captured my interest from the start. One thing I liked is how you got to see Mickey Haller in court for a short time at the beginning of the novel, starting off the novel very well. At first I felt as if I didn’t have any idea who Haller was, as if there should have been a novel before this one. Of course, this was definitely resolved with quite a bit of characterization throughout the story. And, to be honest, I’m glad it was done that way. Being in first person, the only way to really explain who he is would be to have him say “I am__” which is boring and fourth-wall-ish. It’s like he’s talking directly to the audience. Rather, Connelly uses the book to explain who Haller is; a very enjoyable ride.
Which was definitely one of the things I liked most about this. Mickey Haller is an extremely interesting character; very unique in his ways (Lincoln Town Cars, etc.). He says himself “sometimes I’m not sure which side of the bars I am on” — which makes for a great character and a great chance for characterization, which Michael Connelly definitely utilizes. Continuing with Haller, while it may seem as if he doesn’t care much about innocence and whatnot, deep down, he does, as revealed in the novel. It was cool to have the novel in first person; I greatly enjoyed the Dresden Files in first person, so it was nice to have another awesome first-person novel.
The other characters were all well-written and well thought-out as well. The one thing that was a little weird is the close relationship he had with his two ex-wives. I’m not complaining, however, because Connelly (and Haller) made it work, but it was interesting to see how one was his assistant and the other was still a love interest. Which provided some more great characterization with the tension between Haller and his daughter and her mother. It was really cool to see how much he cared about his daughter.
There were a few times when some of the names got confusing, as Haller was working on several cases which were mentioned periodically throughout the main case of Louis Roulet, as it would all be focused on him and then someone from a different case would be mentioned, but overall it didn’t distract too much from the story, as the plot and writing kept me hooked, wanting to know what would happen next.
There were several great twists throughout the novel. One was completely expected, because I had accidentally read it in the Wikipedia plot summary (though it seemed a little easy to guess anyway), but the twist was still awesome and I still enjoyed reading it and seeing Haller’s and others’ reaction to it.
The best part — or at least the most exciting part — of the novel would definitely be the latter part with the big court scene. Mickey Haller was simply awesome during it, and it seemed very realistic. The ending, too, was very satisfying and well-done. Which is what made me want to immediately start The Brass Verdict.
The movie rendition was also very well done, but the book was far better; the movie was too fast-paced, causing you to miss out on a lot of things/scenes that made the book so great. Characterization also suffered in the movie, as you don’t get to see as much of Haller’s thinking, etc. However, the movie was still very enjoyable, and Matthew McCounaghey was quite awesome as the title role.