The Fifth Witness

by Michael Connelly

Paperback, 2012

Call number





Vision (2012), Edition: Reissue, 576 pages


Mickey Haller has fallen on tough times. He expands his business into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home. Mickey puts his team into high gear to exonerate Lisa Trammel, even though the evidence and his own suspicions tell him his client is guilty. Soon after he learns that the victim had black market dealings of his own, Haller is assaulted, too, and he's certain he's on the right trail.

Media reviews

With The Fifth Witness it’s beginning to seem that Connelly can do no wrong. This latest novel is as shamelessly entertaining as its predecessors, with the customary skilful plotting even more burnished. As well as making some telling points about the world we live in this is a reminder that in
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the crime fiction stakes Connelly is comfortably in the upper bracket.
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“With me, it’s don’t ask, don’t tell,” Mickey tells the starry-eyed Bullock, who wonders why this junkyard dog never asks his client if she’s innocent. Though the answer isn’t as mysterious as you might like, the courtroom scenes—thrust, parry, struggle for every possible
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advantage—are grueling enough for the most exacting connoisseur of legal intrigue.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member johnbsheridan
Very enjoyable and fast paced read. Mickey Haller is back again and given the current release of "The Lincoln Lawyer" in cinemas it's nice to see Matthew McConaughy get a namecheck in the book. The Fifth Witness explores the mortgage meltdown in the US, the fraudulent practices among the
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foreclosure firms which ends up in a murder trial and Haller of course as always doing his utmost to avoid confronting the question of whether his client is guilty or not but just exploiting every trick in the book to get an acquittal. There are some nice twists in the tail as the trial swings for and against him but even then not everything is as it seems leaving room for him to possibly grow a conscience and just maybe to continue on from his role in "The Reversal". Nearly everyone knows Connelly by now and if you but this you won't be disappointed.
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LibraryThing member cwlongshot
Fast read. Too bad the lawyer has lost most of his original appeal.
LibraryThing member YogiABB
I just finished The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly. It is another book in the Lincoln Lawyer series starring Mickey Haller a criminal defense attorney who, because of downturn in the economy, has switched to defending homeowners against fraudulent foreclosures in southern California.

Mr. Haller
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doesn't have an office, he conducts his business in the back of a Lincoln. Mickey has a brand new associate right out of law school, an investigator, who is also a biker, and Maggie, an ex-wife with benefits, and I don't mean a 401K.

One of his foreclosure clients is accused of the murder of a banker who held her mortgage. So Mickey has to put his foreclosure business on hold and get back in the courtroom. He goes up against a good friend of his ex-wife who happens to be an assistant DA.

This is one of the best books of the courtroom drama genre I have ever read. The trial goes this way and that way between exhilaration and despair as Mickey and the prosecutor hook it up and try and outwit and outmaneuver each other in the courtroom ruled by "a judge with a grudge." The stakes on trial go up every day. There are no slow boring parts. It was literally a page turner. In fact I liked it so much that even though I had a library copy I bought it on my Kindle. There is nothing finer than reading a book on a Kindle (I imagine the other e-readers are similar.) You can just fly through a book.

I give this book a five out of five. I don't give too many fives, so go to your library and get a copy.
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LibraryThing member EdKupfer
I'd have to double check to make sure, but I can't recall if Michael Connelly has written a bad book. The latest of the Mickey Haller series of courtroom thrillers maintains the same standard of quality of the previous entries. The plot this time has Haller shifting away from criminal law into
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foreclosure defense, which gives the author a chance to remark on the causes of the latest financial meltdown. Haller himself maintains a pragmatic attitude towards the whole thing (ie everybody deserves a good defense if they can afford my fee). When one of his first foreclosure clients is arrested for murdering the banker responsible, Haller (Connelly) gets a chance to get back to the thing he is really good at: criminal law (courtroom drama).

If you've read the earlier Haller books, you won't see very much that you haven't seen before: twist endings, crisp dialogue, ambiguous ethics. But chances are you'll like The Fifth Witness just as much as you liked the other books.

(Note: I received a review copy of this book before I wrote the review.)
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LibraryThing member Scrabblenut
Lawyer Mickey Haller has changed his practice into one defending clients against foreclosure on their homes. When one of his clients, a rather unlikeable woman named Lisa Trammel, is charged with the murder of the manager of the bank that is foreclosing on her house, Haller agrees to defend her.
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Connelly has written a riveting courtroom drama, as Haller investigates corruption in the banking and foreclosure industries and looks for another possible suspect to seed doubt into the minds of the jury. The story has lots of twists and turns that keep you guessing right 'til the end, and gives insight as to how both the defense and prosecution operate, with all the dirty tricks. Meanwhile, Haller struggles with his conscience and tries to rekindle his relationship with his ex-wife and prosecuting lawyer, Maggie "McFierce". A very good read, as I have come to expect from all of Michael Connelly's books!
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LibraryThing member Bumpersmom
Author Michael Connelly has written another winner in his new series.The Fifth Witness finds Mick Haller, known as the Lincoln Lawyer, in his third appearance doing foreclosure law from the back of his vehicle/office. One of his clients has been arrested for the murder of a banker who was involved
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in her forclosure. The book carries the reader thru the preparation, trial and aftermath with an interesting twist that will bring a grin to the reader's face.
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LibraryThing member LannyH
There's no denying it – Michael Connelly has produced another good read with “The 5th Witness”. It's got all the ingredients, in just about the right amounts – decent characterizations, action without exhaustion, enough interior monologue from the protagonist to get a guess at what makes
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him tick without becoming boring, and courtroom drama sufficient to satisfy the unafraid Perry Mason fans among us. True, you feel a bit manipulated, what with our side winning, then the other side, then our side again, etc. But no one should object to being manipulated (we each do it every day) unless it's of a condescending sort, which this never is. And true, it's pretty straight forward who are the good guys and who the bad guys (although most are never thoroughly one or the other). And true, when you get to the surprise ending, it's not really a surprise, and you tell yourself that you've seen it coming from ¾ of a mile a way (not an entire mile – it's better than that). You can even reflect that “Hey – he gave the clues early enough on that I should have figured it out if I'd been paying close enough attention, trying to entertain alternative theories rather than waiting to have them presented to me.” But then, that's one of the pleasures of a book like this - you never have to pay that close of attention, just relax and let the story flow over you.

Two sort of related points:

First, I made a point of not seeing the movie based on Connelly's previous novel - “The Lincoln Lawyer”. The evening of the day in when I finished this book, I went to see that movie, and it was pretty good. Reflecting, I realized that turning “The 5th Witness” into a movie sequel will be a no brainer; the book can be immediately transformed into a script with only a minimum of stage direction (a couple of “close-up on Haller's face as he briefly struggles with indecision”, “fade from crowd scene, with focus on avid reporters thrusting microphones”, etc.). I'll still go to see the sequel, and I'll still buy Connelly's next book, but I sure hope this doesn't mean that Connelly is going to go all Crichton on us. About mid-career, and especially after “Jurassic Park”, I couldn't read one of Michael Crichton's books without seeing “Enter stage left” written between the lines, and the writing suffered for it. While Connelly hasn't succumb to the temptation yet, it must be there, and I can't think of a single scene in this novel which would need to be cut from the film, or any other scenes needing to be added.

Second, as I was about half way through the book, and enjoying it, I saw in my Sunday newspaper that “The 5th Witness” was Number One on the NY Times bestseller list. Once upon a long time ago, I actively avoided reading anything on the bestsellers list. These books were for the masses, those of unrefined tastes. That lasted for about 3 months, and then I moved on to the stage in which bestsellers were a closeted and guilty pleasure. A don't ask, don't tell sort of situation within my crowd, where you would never freely admit to reading a bestseller (or at least act surprised if a book you read ended up on the list) and would never suggest that another read such books, either. Though you had your suspicions. Finally, with the maturity which comes with becoming mature (you see why I haven't yet written a bestseller) I've realized that a whole lot of bestsellers are just that because they are really enjoyable books. While there are exceptions that prove the rule (think the inexplicable popularity of “The DaVinci Code”, especially in comparison to the vastly more satisfying “Angels and Demons”), I can see why “The 5th Witness” made the list, and why it is deserving of such recognition. [This is NOT to say that the same rule of thumb applies to the non-fiction bestseller list. If you've ever heard the name of the (putative) author of a book on this list, run away. Again, there are exceptions, this time for respected journalists, and then only if they are in their decrepitude and writing their memoirs.]

Get “The 5th Witness”. You'll enjoy it.
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LibraryThing member wdwilson3
Michael Connelly’s latest Mickey Haller (Lincoln Lawyer) courtroom mystery is The Fifth Witness. Although I’ve read several of Connelly’s books, this is the first of this series that I’ve read – I generally don’t like courtroom dramas because they are so far removed from reality. But
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there’s a lot to like in this book. It’s a classic page-turner because Connelly knows how to keep his stories moving at a fast pace – lots of dialogue, lots of unanswered questions you want answers to, and, of course, the surprise at the end. It also is the most authentic courtroom mystery I’ve read in a long while. Connelly brings his journalist background to bear on how the court system really operates, such a far cry from Law and Order and Perry Mason. The main characters are fairly well developed, although I don’t think that this is one of Connelly’s strengths. The plot itself, revolving around the mortgage crisis and a murder emanating from it, is timely and superficially sound, though the conclusion reveals some cracks. Strictly PG, with minimal bloodshed, little sex, and infrequent profanity, this would be a good choice for a weekend at the beach or cabin.
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LibraryThing member DBower
Another Michael Connelly hit featuring Mickey Haller (Lincoln Lawyer). If you like courtroom thrillers do not miss this one.
LibraryThing member bookappeal
Connelly gives readers another solid performance by Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller. With criminal defense on the decline due to the depressed economy, Mickey has turned to foreclosure cases. He's on the verge of winning Lisa Trammel's case when she's arrested for the murder of a bank executive.
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Mickey normally doesn't care whether or not his clients are innocent but Lisa wins him over and Mickey pulls off some nifty legal maneuvering with a 5th witness (or 'straw man') defense to put reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors. Well-plotted with nice twists and turns; plenty of legal detail; some character development for Mickey as he decides what changes he'll have to make to get a second chance with ex-wife Maggie "McFierce" and also the respect of his teenaged daughter.
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LibraryThing member Twink
Michael Connelly is one of my favourite authors. I wasn't too sure about the Mickey Haller character when he introduced this new series, but I'm an ardent fan now. The Fifth Witness is the fourth book featuring the lawyer who practices out of the back of his Lincoln.

The Fifth Witness finds Mickey
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working on stalling or nullifying home foreclosures. With the downturn in the economy, he's got no lack of business. Lisa Trammel was one of his first clients. Eight months later, she needs his criminal defense skills instead. She's been charged with the murder of one of the officers of the bank who were foreclosing on her. It doesn't look good for her, but Mickey follows his cardinal rule - don't ask if they did it.

Connelly has taken a very current issue and created an absolutely riveting, page turning tale. The characters are very well drawn. Lisa Trammel is unlikeable - her dialogue and actions paint a vivid image.The supporting cast at the office is quirky, eclectic and loyal. The secondary personal storyline involving Mickey's ex wife Maggie 'McFierce' reveals the 'other' side of Haller. I enjoyed the courtroom drama and antics - you can almost feel the atmosphere in Connelly's writing. The plot is full of twists and turns, keeping you guessing until the very end. And the end also provides the best teaser for the next Haller book!

Quite simply it was a five star read for me - well, actually a five star listen as I chose the audio version of this book. Peter Giles was the reader - for me he is the voice of Haller. His voice is slightly gravelly, a little time worn, very expressive and easy to understand. He easily conveys the emotion and action with his tone.
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LibraryThing member susanamper
Reads alot like a script. Connelly's The Lincoln Lawyer had just arrived in theaters as this book came out. I didn't see the movie, but it did poorly. So setting this up as a movie is a bad move because it's NOT a movie; it's supposed to be a book. But there was one boring courtroom scene after
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another. The characters and plots are stale. I have read everything Connelly's written, and this is sub par.
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LibraryThing member owlie13
It's not uncommon for authors that have written as many series books as Connelly to grow stale. Luckily, I haven't found that to be the case with this author. I've read all the Bosch and Haller series and enjoyed most of them. The Fifth Witness was another very enjoyable read. The topic of
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foreclosures is a very timely one, and Connelly fits a nice murder mystery into that financial arena. There were enough twists to keep me interested and I admit to being surprised by the final outcome.
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LibraryThing member she_climber
Wow! Fast-paced with lots of action, a huge twist at the end, not to mention planting the seed for the next book in the series which I can't wait for! Connelly got it right with this one. Haller and crew are a force to be reckoned with and this book you will not be able to put down. If you haven't
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read the enitre series you can absolutely start with this one, you won't be lost but you will be hooked.
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LibraryThing member debavp
Right off this is tedious and whiney. Connelly knew by this book's release that McConaughey is playing Haller on the big screen so why bring up the HUGE discrepancy in looks AGAIN. Frankly, it pissed me off. I didn't like that casting decision either, but to keep pointing to it in subsequent books
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is poor authorship and carries a real risk of alienating the reader. Skip to the end and this is by far the most disappointed I've been in any book in quite a while, much less a Connelly. What should have been a story that garnered some sympathy for the defendant fell flat. The lack of emotions of all the characters was stifling throughout. It seemed that Connelly was just phoning it in with everyone involved. Haller has become a flat, empty, boring character by this point. Instead of taking the time to reveal what is causing Haller to become this way (yes, there is a really good story or two there), we get squat. The setup for a shakeup at the end...I’m not holding my breath. I still think The Lincoln Lawyer is one of Connelly's best works and Haller could have been a great character, but it's been downhill ever since. I only hope Bosch doesn't suffer the same fate.
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LibraryThing member delphimo
This is Connelly's Mickey Haller series and I prefer the Harry Bosch series. The two characters are half brothers that work in California: one as a lawyer and one as a police detective. After seeing the movie, The Lincoln Lawyer with Matthew McConaughey, I could imagine Matthew presenting the
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dialogue in his unique style. The same impression I had with the book and movie, The Anatomy of a Murder with Jimmy Stewart. I am unsure if this reaction is good or bad when the actor becomes the book's character. Connelly presents a vivid accounting of the trial, much like Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent and Robert Traver's Anatomy of a Murder. All three writers expose the tricks of the lawyer to save his client. All three writers end on that cliché of "it's not over until the fat lady sings."
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LibraryThing member buffalogr
Another great Mickey Holler Lincoln lawyer book that kept my interest for many listening hours. As always, a twist at the end kept it spicy.
LibraryThing member cmeilink
For all of you Michael Connelly fans out there, be sure not to miss this latest installment in the Mickey Haller series.

In The Fifth Witness, Mickey is going about business as usual, doing especially well representing clients fighting foreclosure of their homes. Lisa Trammel is one such foreclosure
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client until circumstances make her a foreclosure client also fighting a charge of murdering a banker.

Mickey pulls out all of the stops to defend his client while still trying to spend time with his daughter and woo back his ex-wife...but everything is not what it seems in this well-paced work.

I made it through this book quickly as I followed the twists and turns trying to determine the outcome before I reached the end of the book. Kept me going...
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LibraryThing member Tmtrvlr
This is the first time I have had to say I am disappointed by a Michael Connelly book. I have been a fan of his for many years, but my opinion of his latest book, The Fifth Witness, is that it is a snoozer. The author uses the current economy and home foreclosures as the base of his story. It made
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for a muddled mess of political ranting and long, drawn out explanations. Mickey Haller just didn’t appeal to me as a main character (he’s no Harry Bosch) and he just doesn’t have any depth. For me the plot had a hint of about half a dozen other books I read recently, only it moved much more slowly.
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LibraryThing member bhowell
I have taken too long to review this book despite the fact that I read it immediately and had a great time. I had not read any previous Mickey Haller books but I laughed out loud at the description of the Lincoln lawyer running a sleazy foreclosure defense practice from the back seat of his car.
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Perhaps it helps that I am a lawyer and in my early days as a junior litigator did lots of foreclosure work (for banks, sorry about that).
I also thought the murder plot was not half bad and the trial was lively and entertaining. It was a good escapist read and I may now try another Mickey Haller.
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LibraryThing member marient7
Michael Haller's criminal defense business has almost dried up in L.A. He has been doing foreclosures, but comes into a criminal case when Lisa Trammel is accused of killing her foreclosure banker.
LibraryThing member booksgaloreca
This was another great 'Lincoln lawyer' book by Michael Connelly. I love this series and the main character. It kept me reading and guessing 'who-done-it' until the very end. Can't wait for the next one!
LibraryThing member wcath
The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly features Mickey Haller, the character first introduced in The Lincoln Lawyer. Haller is a criminal defense lawyer who usually does business out of the back of a Lincoln Continental. With the economy down, he is branching out into foreclosure defense in order to
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pay the bills. When a banker is found dead, one of Mickey's foreclosure clients becomes a murder suspect. This was a very good installment in the series, not Connelly's best writing, but all-in-all a entertaining read. I tend to prefer Connelly's Harry Bosch series -- Harry being a homicide detective who happens to be Mickey Haller's half-brother. I am warming to Mickey a little more with each book.
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LibraryThing member Kingray
Well worth reading as the characters become very familiar. Hated to see this novel end. Great ending
LibraryThing member emigre
Legal thriller featuring the foreclosure industry, dragged a bit in the middle with all the direct- and cross- examinations. Great ending set up the next one in the Mickey Haller series.





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