I guess the streak of great books by Michael Connelly had to end sometime. After the last several books just owned me, demanding my undivided time and attention, the latest legal thriller by Connelly was kind of a disappointment for me. I don’t mean to say it was a terrible book or not worth the time. It just wasn’t up the standard his last few books have set.
But the good thing about Connelly is he’s so prolific that within six months we’ll have a new novel to read and hopefully get that streak going again.
"The Fifth Witness" opens with Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller falling on hard times. He’s focused his legal tactics on representing homeowners facing foreclosure. When one of his clients, Lisa Trammel, is accused of killing one of the men at the bank trying to foreclose on her home, Mickey steps up to defend her.
What Mickey doesn’t know is that he’s stumbled into something potentially larger than one woman’s fight to save her home. As the story unfolds, we get bits and pieces of what this could be, all culminating in one monumental court scene that gives the book its title.
On the private side, we see Mickey continue to engage in the on-again, off-again dance of whether or not he’ll get back together with his first wife, Maggie.
In many ways, "The Fifth Witness" feels like it’s doing a lot of heavy lifting to get Haller from a low point in his life to the life-changing decision he makes in the novel’s final pages. (It’s heavily foreshadowed throughout the book, but I won’t ruin it here). Connelly’s clearly got an idea of where he can take this series in future installments and I’m along for the ride as far as he wants to take it. But it still doesn’t help make this novel feel quite as compelling or as compulsively readable as his last few.
Again, it’s not a bad book. It’s an entertaining legal thriller with some nice character moments thrown in as well. Connelly even gets in a joke about the casting of Haller in the big-screen version of the first novel in this series.