How many times have you read a book and then went to see the movie and were terribly disappointed? Very seldom for me does a movie live up to a book, but the “The Lincoln Lawyer” is one case where I enjoyed both very much. Although I have to admit, I still give an edge to the book.
The story revolves around defense attorney, Mickey Haller. Instead of an office, he uses his four Lincoln Town cars as he is always moving between court houses to defend clients, hence the title for the book, “The Lincoln Lawyer.”
Mickey Haller is one of the most complex and compelling characters I have ever encountered in my reading. As a defense attorney, he is often cynical and defends clients of every kind, drug dealers, prostitutes, bikers, con artists. In one scene, he tells the judge he needs to interview a witness, and asks for an extension, because the client hasn’t paid him yet. Just when we start to write him off as a sleazy lawyer, we see some humanity. There is something about a man who has two ex-wives who still like him and one even works for him. While he appears so confident in his dealings, one starts to get the feeling that he fears he will never live up to the excellence of his deceased father, a famous defense attorney or the morality of his second ex-wife, a fierce prosecutor who believes in playing fair.
Mickey worries that he may not be able to recognize innocence when he sees it. In fact one of the most powerful lines from the book is something Mickey’s father told him, “There is no client as scary as an innocent man. “
There are two main story lines interleaved throughout the book. The first is the story of a rich socialite who is accused of assaulting a woman who he picked up in a bar. Mickey is thrilled by this “franchise” case as it is an opportunity to have a nice long trial with lots of billable hours at his maximum rate.
At the same time he becomes haunted by a case of an ex-client in prison for life for a rape and murder that the client says he didn’t commit. However, Mickey has talked him into taking the life in prison plea to avoid the death penalty. Perhaps he shouldn’t have encouraged the client to take the deal.
In the end, Mickey finds that his father was wrong; there is something scarier than an innocent client. It is evil, pure evil. He understands that most of the clients that he defends that are guilty, but Mickey feels that they have made poor choices but aren’t evil. He says that “Evil is something else…. Something he can’t explain.”
Michael Connelly is a bestselling and prolific author. He is best known for his Harry Bosch series. The Lincoln Lawyer was his first Mickey Haller book. According to Connelly’s website, “Over forty-two million copies of Connelly’s books have sold worldwide and he has been translated into thirty-six foreign languages. He has won the Edgar Award, Anthony Award, Macavity Award, Los Angeles Times Best Mystery/Thriller Award, Shamus Award, Dilys Award, Nero Award, Barry Award, Audie Award, Ridley Award, Maltese Falcon Award (Japan), .38 Caliber Award (France), Grand Prix Award (France), Premio Bancarella Award (Italy), and the Pepe Carvalho award (Spain) . “
I strongly recommend reading the book and seeing the movie. Even Connelly in the attached video was very pleased with the movie adaptation of his book. The characters, particularly Mickey are very solid. The plot is full of page turning twists. What I liked best about it was that at its heart it was a morality play of innocence and evil and all the shades of gray between.
Five stars out of Five.
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