Source: Review copy
Publication: 10th November 2020 from Orion
My thanks to the publisher for an advance copy of this book for review purposes
THE MOST IMPORTANT CASE OF HIS LIFE
ONLY THIS TIME THE DEFENDANT IS HIMSELF
“The law of innocence is unwritten. It will not be found in a leather-bound code book. It will never be argued in a courtroom. In nature, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the law of innocence, for every man not guilty of a crime there is a man out there who is. And to prove true innocence the guilty man must be found and exposed to the world.”
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Like many people, I have really struggled to read a lot of the time during the various iterations of lockdown. Not so with this book which was rather like wearing a comfortable pair of running shoes. Slip them on and you are ready and raring to go.
Connelly makes everything seem effortless. A consummate storyteller who writes protagonists you get to know and love. Mickey Haller is no exception. He knows that only a fool has himself as a client, but just the same he’s going to defend himself against the most awful charge of murder. It looks like the prosecution has a slam dunk case and with Haller behind bars, his team, including Harry Bosch, is working day and night to find the threads that will lead to his ability to prove his innocence.
But it’s not just the prosecution who are out to get him. Incarcerated in the Twin Towers Correctional Centre, unable and unwilling to find the $millions of bail money demanded, his life is under threat every moment he is locked up. He has to pay for protection and that doesn’t come cheap. Haller knows he didn’t do it, he just has to find out who did, because that’s the only way he gets to walk free without a stain on his character.
This is really the first book I have read that references the current situation. Not in a heavy handed way, though. As the book begins, stories of the virus are beginning to filter through. By the time it has ended, people are wearing masks and panic buying. This novel takes place in contemporary America and we know what is to come, even if Haller doesn’t.
I love these books because of the characters, certainly, but also because Connelly plots beautifully and sets up the situations so well. Tight corners, judges who won’t make the rulings Haller needs, and above all, the requirement to be one step ahead of the prosecution so that he can see the ambushes coming. Trial psychology is explained by the Lincoln Lawyer and we lap it up.
This is such a good legal thriller. Nail-bitingly tense, seriously twisted and with an up-to the-wire timetable attached, the reader is poised on the edge of their seat, unable to put it down until you know how it ends.
I do love a courtroom drama and here Connelly’s grasp of the legal system, warts and all, is second to none. From procedural motions to cross examination, every word is gold and every action unmissable. It takes a lot of hard work to make a book as easy to enjoy as this one and a great deal of skill to make it entertaining and still deliver surprises right up to the end.
Verdict: If you like a great thriller and love a courtroom drama, they really don’t get much better than this. Bang up to the minute, a hugely enjoyable read, this book is a sure fire winner.
A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connelly is the internationally bestselling author of the Harry Bosch series, and several other bestsellers including the highly acclaimed legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer. The TV series – Bosch – is one of the most watched original series on Amazon Prime and is now in its third season. He has been President of the Mystery Writers of America, and his books have been translated into thirty-nine languages and have won awards all over the world, including the Edgar and Anthony Awards. He spends his time in California and Florida.