Friday, July 1, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Fifth Witness

Title: Fifth Witness

Author: Michael Connelly

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

RRP: $32.99

ISBN: 9781742376783

Release Date: June 2011

Pages: 400


In tough times, crime is one of the few things that still pays, but if defence attorney Mickey Haller was expecting an uptick in business during the economic downturn, the reality is a different story. Even people needing legal representation to keep them out of jail are having to make cut-backs, it seems. In fact, the most significant part of Mickey's business right now is not about keeping clients out of jail but about keeping a roof over their heads, as the foreclosure boom hits thousands of people who were granted unrealistic mortgages in the good times and now face being kicked to the curb by ruthless corporations. Lisa Trammel had been a client of Mickey's for eight months - his very first foreclosure case, in fact - and although so far he'd managed to stop the bank from taking her house, the strain and sense of injustice are beginning to take their toll, and the bank had recently got a restraining order to prevent her protesting against their fraudulent practices. But now the bank's CEO, Mitchell Bondurant, has been found in the bank's car park beaten to death, and Lisa is about to be indicted for murder. For Mickey, its back to what he does best on the biggest stage of all, but if he thought defending Lisa Trammel was going to be a walk in the park, he'd be wrong. Not only is he about to learn some startling truths about his client, but also about himself, and by the time the verdict is in, Mickey's whole world will have been turned upside down.


A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connelly is the author of the acclaimed Harry Bosch thriller series and several other bestselling novels. He lives in Tampa, Florida, with his family


Michael Connelly writes mysteries that are intricately plotted and well-paced, with unexpected twists that keep the reader guessing all the way to the end. The Fifth Witness is the fourth book featuring the lawyer who practices out of the back of his Lincoln.

The Fifth Witness finds Mickey working on stalling or nullifying home foreclosures. With the downturn in the economy, he's got no lack of business. Lisa Trammel was one of his first clients. Eight months later, she needs his criminal defence skills instead. She's been charged with the murder of one of the officers of the bank who were foreclosing on her. It doesn't look good for her, but Mickey follows his cardinal rule - don't ask if they did it.

Connelly has taken a very current issue and created an absolutely riveting, page turning tale. The characters are very well drawn. Lisa Trammel is unlikeable - her dialogue and actions paint a vivid image. The supporting cast at the office is quirky, eclectic and loyal.

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