The Lincoln Lawyer

 , a novel by Michael Connelly

The Lincoln Lawyer

About the novel

The high-speed freeway system in and around Los Angeles intersects, crisscrosses and unexpectedly diverts onto off ramps and into detours.

The freeways are a perfect metaphor for the intricate, fast-moving plot of Michael Connelly's latest novel, The Lincoln Lawyer.

Widely praised for his best-selling series featuring on-again, off-again LAPD detective Harry Bosch, Connelly again has taken one of his occasional forays into a stand-alone novel filled with new characters and new twists but still grounded in the crime genre.

The Lincoln Lawyer is Connelly's first legal thriller and is one of the best novels he has written, if not the best. That's high praise for an author whose 15 other books - including The Poet, Bloodwork, which was made into a movie starring Clint Eastwood, The Closers and The Narrows- are hailed as models of crime writing.

The protagonist here is L.A. defense attorney Mickey Haller, who makes the best use of his time by doing most of his work from the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car, hence, the book's title.

Setting the novel in sprawling Los Angeles County, home to dozens of courthouses, provides Haller a seemingly endless number of potential clients.

His driver, Earl, is a former client who acts as chauffeur to pay off his legal fees. Even though most of Haller's clients are drug dealers and users, bikers and prostitutes, he's always on the lookout for "a franchise," someone who can pay top rates for his services.

Enter playboy Louis Roulet, who is accused of beating and threatening prostitute Regina Campo. Haller is hired to defend him. But this new source of income - and lots of it - is also the source of terror, murder and much philosophical rumination.

There are so many things to admire about The Lincoln Lawyer that one hopes Connelly is planting the seeds for a whole new series.

First, Connelly is able to create a rooting interest for a protagonist of questionable motivation. This sometimes amoral lawyer admits to being in the business for the money and the victories, yet he remains likable. Even his two ex-wives love him.

Then there are the details.Connelly does his homework. His Bosch novels are steeped in the workings of the LAPD and the criminal underbelly of the City of Angels. Similarly, his Haller novel is infused with court procedure, and the banter among cops, lawyers, judges and defendants rings true.

The Lincoln Lawyer is available as a mass market paperback, an audiobook, an eBook, and in large print format in the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Listen to an an excerpt from the Time Warner Audiobooks release, read by Adam Grupper.

Editorial review of The Lincoln Lawyer

San Francisco Chronicle

Is there nothing Michael Connelly can't do? After taking ownership of police procedurals with his Harry Bosch series, Connelly tries his hand at a Scott Turow-style legal thriller. And he nails it.

The Lincoln Lawyer focuses on Mickey Haller, a Los Angeles defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of the system, especially as they pertain to his cash flow.

Haller thinks he's got it made when he lands a "franchise client," a wealthy real estate agent accused of viciously attacking a prostitute. The client, Louis Roulet, adamantly maintains his innocence, and Haller thinks the case will be a slam dunk.

He's wrong. The case spirals out of Haller's control as it becomes increasingly clear that Roulet is harboring a secret or two (not least his past involvement in other cases, one of which may have resulted in another of Haller's clients going to San Quentin).

This gives "The Lincoln Lawyer" two exciting shots of adrenaline: the lawyer defending someone he knows to be guilty of terrible deeds (including the murder of a friend), and the scheme he concocts to set things right without violating the attorney-client privilege and being disbarred.

Connelly's work has it all -- sharply drawn, engaging characters, snappy dialogue and a plot that moves like a shot of Red Bull. As with Turow, he also understands that a good legal thriller is primarily about the law, not lawyers acting like crime-fighters. It's amazing how many authors seem to forget that.

by David Lazarus, San Francisco Chronicle

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Reader's reviews of The Lincoln Lawyer

I wish I could give this 6 stars!

When I recently finished The Closers I was excited to see Bosch back and raved about the book. I rushed out and bought The Lincoln Lawyer and discovered this to be even better. Rarely do I finish a book in two days, but I literally couldn't put this one down. I haven't been this excited about a great book since Matthew Farrell's Winter Hill and Harlan Coden's The Innocent. Great Great Great read!!!!

Tiffany P.

Every Bit as Good as the Bosch series

Connelly proves he can do no wrong with a legal thriller that blows Grisham, Martini and company out of the water. This has all the authenticity, grit and soul of the Bosch series, it's just presented from the other side of the system.

David J. Forsmark (Flushing, MI United States)

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An excerpt from The Lincoln Lawyer

"There is no client as scary as an innocent man."
-J. Michael Haller, Criminal Defense Attorney, Los Angeles, 1962

Chapter One

The morning air off the Mojave in late winter is as clean and crisp as you'll ever breathe in Los Angeles County. It carries the taste of promise on it. When it starts blowing in like that I like to keep a window open in my office. There are a few people who know this routine of mine, people like Fernando Valenzuela. The bondsman, not the baseball pitcher. He called me as I was coming into Lancaster for a 9 o'clock calendar call. He must have heard the wind whistling in my cell phone.

"Mick," he said, "you up north this morning?"

"At the moment," I said as I put the window up to hear him better. "You got something?"

"Yeah, I got something. I think I got a franchise player here. But his first appearance is at eleven. Can you make it back down in time?"

Valenzuela has a storefront office on Van Nuys Boulevard a block from the civic center, which includes two courthouses and the Van Nuys jail. He calls his business Liberty Bail Bonds. His phone number, in red neon on the roof of his establishment, can be seen from the high power wing on the third floor of the jail. His number is scratched into the paint on the wall next to every pay phone on every other ward in the jail.

You could say his name is also permanently scratched onto my Christmas list. At the end of the year I give a can of salted nuts to everybody on it.

Planter's Holiday Mix. Each can has a ribbon and bow on it. But no nuts inside. Just cash. I have a lot of bail bondsmen on my Christmas list. I eat Holiday Mix out of Tupperware well into Spring. Since my last divorce, it is sometimes all I get for dinner.

Before answering Valenzuela's question I thought about the calendar call I was headed to. My client was named Harold Casey. If the docket was handled alphabetically I could make an 11 o'clock hearing down in Van Nuys, no problem. But Judge Orton Powell was in his last term on the bench. He was retiring. That meant he no longer faced re-election pressures, like those from the private bar. To demonstrate his freedom - and possibly as a form of payback to those he had been politically beholden to for 12 years - he liked to mix things up in his courtroom. Sometimes the calendar went alphabetical, sometimes reverse alphabetical, sometimes by filing date. You never knew how the call would go until you got there. Often lawyers cooled their heels for better than an hour in Powell's courtroom. The judge liked that.

"I think I can make eleven," I said, without knowing for sure. "What's the case?"

"Guy's gotta be big money. Beverly Hills address, family lawyer waltzing in here first thing. This is the real thing, Mick. They booked him on a half mil and his mother's lawyer came in here today ready to sign over property in Malibu to secure it. Didn't even ask about getting it lowered first. I guess they aren't too worried about him running."

"Booked for what?" I asked.

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The Lincoln Lawyer made the following Best Of Lists:

  • USA Today, Best Whodunit of 2005
  • Toronto Globe & Mail, Margaret Cannon, Top Dozen Titles Of 2005
  • Amazon.com, Best Books of 2005, Top 10 Editors' Picks: Mystery & Thrillers
  • Christian Science Monitor, Best Books of 2005
  • People Magazine, 10 Great Reads, 2005
  • Entertainment Weekly. Stephen King's Favorites of 2005
  • Chicago Tribune, "Best of 2005" Mysteries & Thrillers
  • Kansas City Star, Top Mysteries & Thrillers, 2005
  • Kansas City Star, "Cream of the Crop" Top 10, 2005
  • South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Oline Cogdill, Best Mysteries of 2005
  • Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Best of 2005"
  • Seattle Times, Top 10 Thrillers of 2005
  • New York Sun, Otto Penzler, "Best of 2005"
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Best of 2005
  • London Mirror, Thriller of the Year
  • Bookspan's Best Of 2005, Best Suspense
  • The Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allan Poe Award, Nominee for Best Novel of 2005
  • 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist (Mystery/Thriller Category)
  • The Richard & Judy Show Best Read of the Year Nominee, the British Book Awards.
  • The Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award for Best Novel of 2005, Nominee.
  • The Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the Mystery/Thriller Category, Nominee.
  • Mystery Ink's Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of 2005, Nominee.
  • The Crime Writers' Association's Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, Nominee.
  • The Mystery Readers International's Macavity Award for Best Novel, Nominee.
  • The Private Eye Writers of America's Shamus Award for Best P.I. Novel, Nominee.

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