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 2

My August 31 post of The Hungry Detective ranked all the non-Bosch books. This list returns to take on the larger task of Mr. Heironimous Bosch. 9 Dragons made its appearance right before the Indy B'Con, and try as I might... ok I didn't try that hard... I didn't have time to read it for inclusion in these rankings.

As a quick aside I don't want to undersell any of the books at the bottom of the list. Mr. Connelly doesn't know how to write a bad book, but in my case there have been occasions where I have not connected with his work.

13. THE NARROWS - 2004
It is because I love THE POET so much that this book is at the end of the list. When Mr. Connelly is at his best his works has the precision of a watchmaker. THE NARROWS just felt forced and not worthy of the intricacy of THE POET.

12. BLACK ICE - 1993
Second book. Third read. I thought the story was pretty flat. It has been well over a decade since I read this book, but the story of Mexican drug runners(?) did not do …

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…