Noir and charming L.A.: The Lincoln Lawyer, Michael Connelly


cover ll2005 by Little, Brown

ISBN 0739465511 (ISBN13: 9780739465516)

Part of my Mysterious USA Reading Challenge

I didn’t really think I was going to like this book, but I was wrong; I really liked it. It was fast-paced, exciting, funny at times, and conveyed a sense of being in L.A. that was perfect for this challenge.

The novel follows Mickey Haller, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney with two ex-wives and a daughter—all of which love him. Haller defends all kinds of criminals and is a courtroom pro. In the kind of underworld he has contact with, everybody is guilty and goes to Haller because he knows how to play the system.

However, Haller’s biggest fear is not being able to recognize innocence when he sees it…

Los Angeles played a big part in the novel, and it reminded me of old noir movies, where the cynical world-weary lawyer is unknowingly brought into a web of intrigue, filled with money, sex, and power.

Mickey Haller is the perfect “L.A. character,” a small-time, rap-loving lawyer with a few skeletons in his closet, but who is generally a good guy whose friends, family, and the readers can’t help but love. He is far from the glamour of the film industry but, like everyone else, has a small claim to fame, his father having been a famous defense attorney who once defended Mickey Cohen.

Haller is not the tan, buff, foodie who rubs elbows with movie stars. He is instead the rough-around-the-edges native who brushes with the seedier, darker side of Los Angeles. He is nonetheless incredibly charming and resourceful.

The book gives a lot of geographic description and is very precise as far as location. This can be a little distracting when you don’t know L.A. well. I don’t know L.A. well at all, but I’m sure I would have liked the book even more if I did.

The plot is not much of a mystery- but there were a few things that did come as a surprise in the end, and I always love it when an author hits you with something unexpected. The title is also clever.

I really liked Haller and will probably read a few more Connelly books.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but now I really want to.

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