The Fifth Witness Michael Connelly

The Fifth Witness Michael ConnellyAuthor Michael Connelly has a few recurring characters in his books and Mickey Haller, the slightly shady, pony tailed lawyer is one of them. In The Fifth Witness, Haller is delving into mortgage foreclosures, suing banks for their maltreatment of clients, but actually finds himself defending one of those clients over a murder charge. The story twists and turns as Haller realizes his client’s innocence yet can’t provide the evidence to prove it….until he brings in the Fifth Witness.

When foreclosure client Lisa Trammell is charged over the murder of the vice-president of the bank that has been handling the foreclosure, the evidence and motive appear to be very damning. Haller and his team, which includes his ex-wife, investigate the circumstances of the foreclosure and discover that the bank was threatening to pull out of a 60 million dollar deal with ALOFT, a foreclosure company, a decision which would be ample motive for ALOFT to want to kill the bank’s manager. Just as they are building a defense, during which they manage to subpoena Louis Opparizio, ALOFT’s manager to testify, the prosecution, Andrea Freeman suddenly surprises them with two pieces of DNA evidence, blood on the hammer which killed the victim and blood on one of Trammell’s shoes. While the convenience of this late discovery is highly suspicious, Haller can’t find sufficient reason to have this blocked and suddenly starts feeling the odds stack up against him.

During the trial, after the overwhelming DNA evidence is displayed by the prosecution, Haller tries to argue with the aid of four witnesses that first, the forensic evidence is flawed because Trammell’s minute figure couldn’t possibly have hit the victim over his head and the only way to achieve this would mean the victim had to be crouching or looking upward, and second, tries to argue the case by pointing the finger at ALOFT, thus suggesting an alternate motive and murderer. The situation still looks to be favoring the opposition until Haller springs a surprise by introducing a fifth witness who trumps the case in his favor.

The story closes with the celebrations after the trial as Haller celebrates his victory with his client, Lisa Trammell, and it dawns on him suddenly that he may have made a terrible mistake.

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly is very well paced, and while the court case does not quite deliver the drama that you would find in a Grisham court case, Michael Connelly still delivers some very good suspense and twists, with a very good final twist at the end.

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Other book recommendations:
Executive Privilege by Phillip Margolin

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