Skip to main content

The Fifth Witness - Review

Michael Connelly hunted around for Micky Haller for a bit. There were a few stand-alone works, but other than THE POET and BLOOD WORK (and maybe CHASING THE DIME) they were almost excessively exercises to keep the creative engine alive.

THE FIFTH WITNESS is the fourth book in the Mickey Haller Series, and finds Connelly in a groove with this character and the larger narrative of Mickey's world. Mickey has fallen on difficult times as he is representing clients whose homes are being foreclosed. It is tedious work, but it pays the bills. Mickey is itching for something new and exciting. He gets in spades when a client is charged with murdering a bank executive. Down the path Mickey will go with his close cadre of support. For Mickey guilt or innocence has little to do with justice, and everything to do with playing every angle of the system with an unshakable belief that the prosecution is exploiting the system in the exact same way.

Of course this moral ambiguity shades all of the Haller stories. While it has allowed Mr. Connelly to build layered stories and characters that live in a very real world, I have to admit that there is something wholly more satisfying about Harry Bosch's righteous execution in a world of good and evil. It seems odd to say that I have always found the Mickey Haller books to be realistically pessimistic. Everyone is compromised, it just depends the amount of dirt that weighs you down. The Bosch books are generally darker affairs, but with Harry there is this ray of hope, this desire for a life of grace.

My preference aside THE FIFTH WITNESS is still an expertly rendered story. Crime Fiction generally gets a bad rap because of its genre trappings, but they are still a reflection of the society in which they were created. And to that end, Mr Connelly documents the desperation of people at the end of a very dark rope.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Very Best of Mr. Dennis Lehane

I thought this post would appear in October. Ya, know when SHUTTER ISLAND: THE MOVIE was supposed to be released. And then it wasn't. Something about Leo not being able to do 'press' for the movie. Doesn't really matter the reason, a February release date has one of those fancy Hollywood meanings: Not Good.

Look I'll be honest, I didn't connect with SHUTTER ISLAND. I loved the fifties setting, the haunted house atmosphere, and impending doom of the Hurricane. Even the set-up of the story was intriguing but how it played out just didn't work for me. Some interesting characters, a bunch of great set pieces, but the ending announces itself with an expected, thud that went nowhere.

Am I still going to the movie? Its Lehane, Scorsese, Leo, and Ruffalo of course I am. Anyway the list.

8. Prayers for Rain - 1999
The last Kenzie-Gennaro book follows our heroes as they investigate a guy who is terrorizing women into committing suicide. The book played like an episode o…

The Very Best of Mr. Michael Connelly - Part I

I was about 50 pages into the latest Michael Connelly book, THE SCARECROW, when I flipped to the front. This is the 20th novel. I decided that rather than write a review of the novel, pretty good by the way, I would write a think piece about the relationship between a highly regarded crime novelist and how reader's take for granted the author if the high standard to which they have become accustomed to is not maintained over a lengthy run of books.

This idea was quickly abandoned out of laziness. Instead, I decided to take a cue from my friend, Peter, who recently ranked all of the James Bond films. I didn't feel I could tackle all 20 novels so the list below is just the non-Harry Bosch books. Mr. Connelly's next book 9 DRAGONS releases in October so don't be surprised to see a Bosch only list then.

I wrote this list up a couple weeks ago. I have given it some time to marinate. I did make any changes but I do want to say that there is a definite break between ranking 5…

How to Stick a Landing Without Trying

I closed out the last of the Clive Cussler books about a month ago. Bit of a personal victory for me here as I don't think I have been caught up on the Dirk Pitt novels in ten plus years. I moved on to the latest, and seemingly last, of the Sean Duffy books by Adrian McKinty, POLICE AT THE STATION AND THEY DON'T LOOK FRIENDLY.
Quick aside... I was able to type that title without looking...small victories people. Small victories.
I have been reading Mr. McKinty since the beginning. I called DEAD I MAY WELL BE the best book of the last decade. I have never written a truer statement by the by.....
Just another quick aside... I kind of believe that everything from the two-thirds point in DEAD I MAY WELL BE through the rest of the Michael Forsythe trilogy is a fever dream. My primary evidence is that there is an escape from a Mexican prison that strikes me as.................unlikely.
Now. One could quibble that the start for Mr. McKinty is ORANGE RHYMES WITH EVERYTHING. Those who…