Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Fifth Witness

I was eager to get my hands on Michael Connelly's latest Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer) legal thriller called The Fifth Witness. I finished it yesterday after racing through it while procrastinating on the cleaning, and laundry but I remembered to eat!

I had to giggle because he fooled me again with another zinger. I love his plots with the twists and turns and I like how he leaves a trail of hints of possible guilt for various possible criminals. Motive, Means, Opportunity--All the parts of the puzzle were available but the pieces didn't fit until the end. That is a compliment considering that Michael Connelly says in an interview with Amazon that he doesn't outline his books in advance. This book, he says, began as a police detective point of view and after a hundred pages, he started over, and switched it to a defense attorney's story. The main character, Mickey Haller, is defending a victim of the mortgage foreclosure disaster who is accused of murdering an employee of the bank that has foreclosed on her home. It explores how banks granted poorly secured mortgages, bundled the mortgages and sold them to large banks, who then foreclosed and turned them over to collection corporations owned by partners connected to organized crime. It just reinforced my beef with banks that build branches on every corner in my neighborhood and charge me to take out funds in my account if I go to the bank that isn't mine. In the day of computers, why do they need so many brick and mortar establishments? I digress.

I had one tiny problem with the details in the book. The murder weapon is noticed to be missing from a garage pegboard where it is a part of a set. Who keeps tools on a pegboard which is outlined, labeled and neatly hanging where they belong like a picture from a Sears advertisement? Hubby has his share of "Tool Time" Craftsman boy toys, but they are kept in tool chests with drawers and in no particular order. People who use tools seem to be more interested in using than in displaying them. I've heard it said,  "Show me a clean desk and I'll show you someone who gets nothing done." Nevertheless, it is fiction, and works within the plot to mislead the reader into thinking Some Other Dude Done It.

I'm a big fan of Castle on ABC and saw Michael Connelly on the 4/11/2011 episode as a member of Castle's poker group. His advice to a new author with one successfully published legal thriller was: "When I had my first published hit, I shut up and wrote 23 more books." In past episodes, he has commented, "You only wrote one book this year?" He is a tough taskmaster and his hard work on his books produces very readable, enjoyable plots.

I like to be fooled and this plot  succeeded. I was totally suckered into the client's story and the end blew me away, no pun intended. Well done! It makes me think Matthew McConaughey has another Lincoln Lawyer movie on the horizon. I am eagerly anticipating Michael Connelly's next book called The Drop (Harry Bosch), due in October, 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment