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Sunday 31 October 2021

‘The Fifth Witness’ by Michael Connelly

Published by Little Brown,
5 April 2011.
: ‎ 978-0-31606935-9 (HB)

Defence attorney Mickey Haller has latched onto the many people facing foreclosure on their homes following the economic downturn which has highlighted the number of unrealistic mortgages granted in the good times. One such person is Lisa Trammel who places the blame for her situation squarely on Mitchell Bondurant the CEO of the bank who holds her mortgage. In addition to retaining Mickey to fight her corner she has additionally taken to protesting outside the bank, which has resulted in a restraining order against her.

Mickey Haller has been operating from his Lincoln car, but when Mitchell Bondurant is found clubbed to death, and Lisa looks to be indicted for murder, Mickey ups his game.

The twists and turns of the case prior to trial are fascinating. Not only is Mickey endeavouring to build a case for the defence of his client but he is also fending off the sharks who are in a feeding frenzy off the media interest with possible film and book deals. Everyone wants a piece of the action.

Whilst Lisa stoutly declares her innocence it is interesting that her lawyer has doubts of it but sees an advantage in defending such a case and puts everything behind her defence, acquiring an office suite along the way.

The prosecuting council is a friend of his ex-wife, with whom he is still enamoured. Andrea is a shark in her own right. The court room drama is skilfully crafted as the defence and prosecution score points off each other, sometimes springing surprises and each using the judge in their game. The whole thing is masterly and keeps the reader entranced as they bat back and forth playing their hands. There are some marvellous twists along the way and a satisfyingly surprise ending. Highly recommended.

Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Michael Connelly was born in Philadelphia, PA on 21 July 1956. He moved to Florida with his family when he was 12 years old. Michael decided to become a writer after discovering the books of Raymond Chandler while attending the University of Florida. Once he decided on this direction, he chose a major in journalism and a minor in creative writing — a curriculum in which one of his teachers was novelist Harry Crews. After graduating in 1980, Connelly worked at newspapers in Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, primarily specializing in the crime beat. In Fort Lauderdale he wrote about police and crime during the height of the murder and violence wave that rolled over South Florida during the so-called cocaine wars. In 1986, he and two other reporters spent several months interviewing survivors of a major airline crash. They wrote a magazine story on the crash and the survivors which was later short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. The magazine story also moved Connelly into the upper levels of journalism, landing him a job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, one of the largest papers in the country, and bringing him to the city of which his literary hero, Chandler, had written. After three years on the crime beat in L.A., Connelly began writing his first novel to feature LAPD Detective Hieronymus Bosch. The novel, The Black Echo based in part on a true crime that had occurred in Los Angeles, was published in 1992 and won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by the Mystery Writers of America. Fifty million copies of Connelly’s books have sold worldwide, and he has been translated into thirty-nine foreign languages. Michael lives with his family in Florida.

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