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This is a first-rate legal thriller. The courtroom drama is high quality. All the threads weave into a thrilling finish.
Michael (Mickey) Haller is a street-smart lawyer who runs most of his business out of his Lincoln Town Car (hence the title), with a driver who uses an iPod and its earphones to not hear conversations he is not supposed to hear (privileged conversations and all that). Haller has been a lawyer long enough to know it is not so much about the guilt or innocence as much about representing the other side of justice. He does however worry about coming across an innocent client and not recognizing that. The prosecution sees him as lower than scum, and there is a running joke about fish and lawyers that is funny, especially as it travels from one person to the other in the book. Haller is a likable cynic, who is on good terms with his two ex-wives. Imagine. Only a lawyer could manage that you would think.
The plot starts to form, and almost immediately thicken, when Haller is picked to defend Louis Roulet, a rich real estate agent accused of assault and worse. Haller is looking at this as a "franchise case" - "A franchise client is a defendant who wants to go to trial and has the money to pay his lawyer's schedule A rates. From first appearance to arraignment to preliminary hearing and on to trial and then appeal, the franchise client demands hundreds if not thousands of billable hours. ... From where I hunt, they are the rarest and most highly sought beast in the jungle." The case seems to crack wide open early on, and then starts to cracks back shut, trapping Haller in a life-and-death pincer grip as it does so. After that, there are a series of turns that leave Haller desperately trying to save his own life, his family's, defend Roulet, who has a darker past than he led on initially, and save himself from being disbarred.
There are several other threads that run through the book, all of which are handled very well by the author. The trial itself covers a lot of ink in the book and is basically forms the climax of the novel, and is paced excellently.
Haller may or may not have a franchise case on his hands in the novel, but Connelly, the author, certainly penned a franchise novel. There have been three more Haller novels since, the latest one being The Fifth Witness.
An outstanding thriller.
The Michael Haller series:
© 2011, Abhinav Agarwal. All rights reserved.