February 19, 2008

Another book review.

Sometimes, when I'm on a roll, I'm on a roll.

I just finished reading The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. This is my second book written by this guy and I'm equally impressed with this as I was with The Poet.

Connelly brings you deep into the cat and mouse, quick switching hands of the US criminal justice system and lets you see just how messed up it is.

Mickey Haller has an office, a Lincoln town car, which he uses or abuses, depending on how you look at it, in his daily lawyer routine. He talks with clients, makes deals, finds new clients, and gets updates on others while traveling to and fro LA County defending his many shady clients. In his eyes, everyone is guilty of something and in truth, he's right. However, guilt or innocence really doesn't matter. Haller just wants those clients he knows he can get off by pointing out shoddy police or prosecutorial work. He's doesn't care about guilt or innocence, not anymore.

Having recently taken a CJ course and knowing many of the facts about overcrowding and deal making, makes for compelling drama when Haller meets some of his less fortunate clients. Most of them he gets off with ease, snitching up, or cutting a deal. There are bikers, drug dealers, and prostitutes on his client list, but none of them are truly evil.

Until he meets Roulet. A seemingly straight laced rich white boy from the nice side of town is accused of attempted rape and murder. His version of the incident makes for a great case. The evidence seems to be on his side. Haller has a gold mine client, one he's sure will go all the way to trial. As he and his team start digging into Roulet's life, things take a turn for the worse and Haller believes an innocent man and a former client is still in prison. Worse yet, his current client turns out to be the killer.

Now stuck, Haller tries to make heads or tails of his predicament only to learn his friend helping with the investigation is murdered. Piece by piece, Haller sets his plan in motion. He has no other choice but to get Roulet off scott-free or he'll be implicated in his friend's murder. He easily tears up the prosecutor's case and uses his knowledge of the entire situation to manipulate Roulet's current trial into an acquittal while at the same time serving evidence to convict him with the other murder.

I knew where a lot of Haller's ideas were going and had enough legal knowledge to know what he was planning long before it started to happen. I think the reason I enjoyed it so much was how real and honest it was. It let you see how flawed our system can be at times, from BOTH sides of the fence. Sometimes I don't understand why there are SO many lawyer books out there because people always say they hate lawyers, so why are they always reading about fake ones?

Me, I've always found it fascinating. It wasn't until I really started paying attention to real life cases that I noticed how messed up things can get, but with all the laws, loop holes, human mistakes, and such, it's one job I wouldn't want no matter which side I were on. *cough* OJ.

While this book will give you a raw and fucked up look into the criminal justice system, it also gives you a raw and fucked up look at some of the people who are manipulated by and manipulate the system. Most of the time, in self serving ways.

I'm not sure Connelly had intended for his novel to be a platform for CJ reform, but it should. No holds barred here he gives it to you straight. And anyone wanting to be a lawyer should probably read this book too….
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