Review: The Lincoln Lawyer – Michael Connelly

lincoln lawyer book cover

Mickey Haller #1

Michael “Mickey” Haller is a defence attorney with a reputation and not very liked by law enforcement. He practices out of the back of his Lincoln Town car and is viewed as sleazy and criminal in his own right. However, one day bail bondsman Fernando Valenzuela calls him about a case waiting for him – a case that could garner a lot of interest and a lot of money long term. Naturally Mickey is interested and goes down to the court house to see what is waiting. He finds a millionaire playboy real estate agent in lockup, pleading and begging and afraid, claiming he has been locked up for a crime he did not commit, and is vehement about it too. He is in for beating a prostitute up, threatening to rape her and guaranteeing her that she would die. Could this man, this Louis Roulet, be the innocent man that he has been searching? The elusive client, the fabled man?

Mickey takes on the case, and it looks damn strong. He puts his investigator and friend Raul Levin on it to check their man out. Mickey has his ex-wife, Margaret McPherson, thrown from the case over conflict of interest and replaced with Ted Minton, whom Maggie warns him against for playing dirty. Mickey is alright with it, he has the innocent client after all. But upon the first official meeting with Roulet and his mother, Mary Alice Windsor, and family attorney C.C. Dobbs, it becomes evident that there is more to the case than meets the eye. Mickey has a big fish client here, and is unwilling to lose him.

Raul Levin soon turns up with a whole bunch of unsettling information about Roulet, and Minton blindsides Mickey during discovery when it turns out the knife that was in the police evidence file Mikey and them had is not the right one – the real one has Roulet’s initials on it. Mickey’s perfect case is becoming awfully muddled, and it is doing nothing to improve his mood. Something in the Roulet file sets Mickey off, and he goes through his old case files. He is horrified to learns about the similarities between it and an old case where his client went to prison for life for raping and stabbing a prostitute to death. Mickey pays Jesus Menendez a visit in San Quentin, and Jesus identifies Roulet as being the other man at the bar that night.

Mickey has a whole new set of issues to deal with. He locked up an innocent man and is defending a rapist and murderer to free himself, and the knowledge makes him sick. Sharing his suspicions with Raul, he sets his friend on a mission to dig up as much as he can. Mickey has a serious ethical dilemma and a conflict of interest on his hands, and is furious when Raul is murdered after finding out something that was incredibly important. Mickey is the suspect in question seeing as his gun killed his friend, but Mickey knows that Roulet is playing with him. Roulet also threatens Mickey’s family, and that boils his blood. Will he get the murderer out? Does he have a choice now that Roulet has framed him for the murder of Raul? Is Roulet responsible for more murders? How do you save a man you resent? How can you defend him knowing what he has done and the things he is responsible for?

GRADE 7It was a good read and stayed interesting throughout, and the writing style was alright. It took me a few chapters to get into due to it being first person, but ultimately it worked. It dealt with some interesting issues that people always wonder about – such as is the money enough to defend someone you know to be guilty of something, something that goes completely against your morals? There were a few bits in this book that was nonsensical to me, such as always with the rap music and all that. It was just incongruent to his character, and threw me at the best of times. Typical courtroom drama book, though it has the added bonus of a slightly more interesting twist than the average one. An entertaining read, and Connelly writes with a nice style that I could get on board with. Nothing new or totally revolutionary, but not something that is too generic and simply to overlook. I look forward to seeing how Mickey Haller will progress in future.

20 thoughts on “Review: The Lincoln Lawyer – Michael Connelly

  1. Oooohhh. Nice. I never knew the movie was based on a book. And from what I’ve heard, the film adaptation is what set McConaughey off on a roll to greatness. Have you seen the film? If you have, do you think it was handled well? If you haven’t seen it do you want to based on your experience with the book?


    1. 😛 teehee, yeah it is. Yes, I have seen it! I am actually going to rewatch the movie now that I have read the book. 😛 They are pretty similar to one another, so I must give them credit for it, not a bad job at all and quite a loyal adaption!

      McConaughey has always been pretty good, but I am glad to see that he is actually pushing for bigger and better things than romcoms, it would have been such a waste of his talents!


    1. Thanks Tim! This was the first I have read from him and I liked what I saw, so definitely going to be looking at more. Hmm, so you recommend that over the Haller series? If so, then I will just get right onto them instead!


      1. I have only read the Lincoln Lawyer out of the Haller series. I do prefer them, just because they are kind of old fashioned police procedurals, but done really well. And the main character ages in real time and he sort of turns into something quite iconic I think.

        What I am doing (and what I would probably recommend) is to just read Connelly’s books in the order he wrote them. He refers back to events in later books and crosses over the characters as well. The first couple of Bosch books are good, but after about the third they get really excellent. Still read the first couple though if you keen.


      2. Hmmmm, that sounds like a plan. I will get his bibliography then and source them. The used book store across from me has a lot of them there, so I will just pick some up. 🙂

        I like it when books can do that, it is really good. Thanks for the suggestion!


  2. Good review. Haven’t read the book, but I have seen the film, and your description makes it sound as if the adaptation hews fairly closely. Have you seen it?

    Anyway, one of my issues is that this trades in legalistic cliches, most of which do not reflect reality. I.E. Prosecutors hate defense attorneys. Police officers hate them more. And so forth. In my experience, that’s not the way it typically works. In fact, I know several defense attorneys who play poker, watch football and/or do all sorts of other social things with cops and prosecutors. Most officers and criminal attorneys understand that they’re part of the same system and that each of them is essential for the system to work, at least most of the time. Might there be some friction at times? Presumably. But that doesn’t mean the core relationships are adversarial; they aren’t. I wish more fiction would represent as much.


    1. I have seen it yes. They were rather similar, so that is always good. I actually want to rewatch it now that I know what the book’s contents are.

      That is also something that irritates me. Everyone hates everyone, and from my experience working in the legal industry (and my country is not really renowned for being accommodating to one another), everyone got along reasonably well, so I cannot believe it can be that broken overseas.

      I agree, it would be refreshing for someone to write a little bit more realistically about that!


      1. And you’re right. It ISN’T that broken.

        It is, I’m sure, broken in other ways, I’m sure, as most systems are.

        I will probably never read The Lincoln Lawyer, but if I do, I’ll see if I like it as much as you. 🙂


      2. Someone should just get a little more accurate.

        Not most, I think ALL systems are a little screwed somewhere or other.

        It wasn’t too bad. The story was alright and the writing itself was not bad, but it didn’t blow my mind like Stephen King or Karin Slaughter. I will look into his other books, because apparently they are far better, but we shall see. Would be interested in your thoughts!


      3. Oddly, television tends to be somewhat accurate in portraying the USA’s legal system. The Closer and Major Crimes, for instance, show very few arguments between police, DA and Defense Attorney; every one is just doing their job. Law and Order oft implied friendships between Jack and one of the Defense Attorneys. And so forth.

        I don’t know why mainstream novels and movies make it seem so polarized. Maybe they just assume the audience hates Defense Attorneys, so the characters had better do the same. I don’t know.

        Should I read it someday, I’ll let you know. 🙂


      4. I suppose bitterness, resentment and animosity in movies defines early on who you are supposed to root for. Maybe they think that there is not enough time to develop proper characters/relationships in a shorter time.

        I must say you are right, television doesn’t have all that competitiveness and hate towards one another so much!


      5. You could be right. Movies might just be taking a lazy shortcut to tell the audiences what to think.

        Doesn’t explain why so many novels do the same thing, though.


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