Friday, March 2, 2012

Listened: "The Fifth Witness" by Michael Connelly

Listened: The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly, 2011, Overdrive download.

Connelly not Connolly.

Mickey Haller's criminal defense work has dried up in the recession.. There are plenty of criminals but none can pay. Haller takes a couple seminars on real estate and foreclosure law and starts recruiting clients facing foreclosure. Each case pays a relatively small amount, but with hundreds of cases he is making enough dough another to hire an associate attorney.

But, what fun is a financial case? Connelly With An E needs a murder to show us. So, Connelly With An E has one of Haller's foreclosure clients accused of murder. The client, Jennifer, is accused of murdering a banker involved in her foreclosure. Connelly With An E makes clear early on that Jennifer is a nut. Jennifer had made foreclosures her life. She campaigns against banks, foreclosures, etc. She leads protests, picket lies, websites, etc.

Haller takes the case because of the big publicity and the possibility Haller can sell the story to Hollywood and a publisher to cover his firm's pay. Haller works. Haller spars. Haller pushes buttons and envelopes. Connelly With An E writes about the big business of foreclosures in Southern California.

Haller finds a straw man to give the case some reasonable doubt. Haller clashes with the prosecutor. Crazy client. Scum-sucking Hollywood producer sucking on Crazy Client. Haller presses his luck with the judge. Haller still loves his ex-wife. Haller hopes for full reconciliation with his ex-wife. Haller's teen daughter is barely in this one.

Everything ends nice and happy. Crazy Client is acquitted. Crazy Client was so earnest about her innocence and the straw man mobster so convincing that Haller believed her. He was wrong. She was a manipulative, murderous witch. She gets caught at the end with cops digging up her yard for her missing husband. Early on I figured the husband died but Connelly With An E fools us all with Crazy Client hiring a guy to pretend to be her husband and trick Haller on an evidence issue

1. I had all sorts of comments about this after I stopped listening. That desire has fled me.
2. Continuing Haller theme of big versus small guy. Haller always sees himself as the small guy fighting injustice. The end of the novel has Haller filing for election as Attorney General. If Connelly With An E gives the job to Haller how will he adjust?
3. The trial fills up most of the book. That is good. Connelly moves into the trial about a 1/4 through (a rough guess since I listened) and keeps things interesting with new evidence, witness questioning, procedural and legal maneuvering, and more information on trials and how the process works.
4. Matthew McConaughey crack.
5. Brief interview after the novel with Connelly With An E. Connelly With An E says he picked a female client to make a change. Connelly With An E has a good attorney pal, who he partly modeled Haller on, and that attorney moved into foreclousres when the criminal clients dried up.

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