Michael Connelly,
The Lincoln Lawyer
(Time Warner, 2005)

Do you have a low opinion of lawyers in general? Want to lower them more? Mickey Haller, a defense lawyer in Michael Connelly's novel The Lincoln Lawyer, is scum, without a doubt. This is a man who works the system for the con men and the cutthroats he works for in order to get their sentences reduced or tossed out all together -- even when he knows they are guilty. That is his job. He doesn't care about justice. He cares about technicalities in the law. He cares about manipulation for his and his clients' benefit. He also cares about getting paid. In fact, money is probably his top priority.

You may realize that not all lawyers are bad and that The Lincoln Lawyer is simply a story. Still, the listener of this 10-CD audiobook will spend the first couple of hours learning to despise the main character's profession and those that practice it. The novel's description starts with "Mickey Haller was afraid he wouldn't recognize innocence if he saw it...." You get the impression fairly quickly that this man would take advantage of his own mother without a ping to his conscience.

It isn't long, however, before someone decidedly more evil enters the tale, and you realize that your viewpoint of a person is relative. When Mickey becomes the one manipulated and someone he's known for years is murdered, you slowly start to feel for this individual. He might not be a stellar person, but does he deserve to have his life and worse, the life of his child (who lives with his ex-wife) threatened? Can Mickey find redemption and save both himself and his family from a perpetrator that will stop at nothing to get what he wants?

Adam Grupper narrates the story, which includes at least a dozen characters. This Broadway (Guys & Dolls), television (The Sopranos, Law & Order) and film (Two Weeks Notice) actor deftly channels these individuals with distinct voices. He readily displays the arrogance of Mickey as easily as he mimics the slurred dialogue of one of Mickey's ex-wives after a few drinks. The voice of an uppity, older, more distinguished lawyer sounds as authentic as a Mexican immigrant. Adam also keeps the pace and suspense at a high level.

Connelly has written a number of books, most notably the Harry Bosch series. I previously reviewed his audiobook The Narrows. I certainly look forward to this former journalist's next novel!

Mickey Haller might not be a likeable lawyer. You may hope that he gets what he deserves. In The Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey gets his due and then some. He also learns what innocence looks like, albeit too late for that particular client's life. The unabridged audiobook might seem a little intimidating at first, but let me assure you that the time will go by fast! This is worthwhile entertainment regardless of what you think about lawyers and the cars they drive.

by Wil Owen
4 March 2006

Buy it from Amazon.com.