One afternoon in November 1975, ten-year-old Miranda Larkin comes home from school to find her house eerily quiet. Her mother is missing. Nothing else is out of place. There is no sign of struggle. Her mom’s pocketbook remains in the front hall, in its usual spot.
So begins a mystery that will span a lifetime. What happened to Jane Larkin?
Investigators suspect Jane’s husband. A criminal defense attorney, Dan Larkin would surely be an expert in outfoxing the police.
But no evidence is found linking him to a crime, and the case fades from the public’s memory, a simmering, unresolved riddle. Jane’s three children—Alex, Jeff, and Miranda—are left to be raised by the man who may have murdered their mother.
Two decades later, the remains of Jane Larkin are found. The investigation is awakened. The children, now grown, are forced to choose sides. With their father or against him? Guilty or innocent? And what happens if they are wrong?
A tale about family—family secrets and vengeance, but also family love—All That Is Mine I Carry With Me masterfully grapples with a primal question: When does loyalty reach its limit?
Jane Larkin had been in love with Dan since high school. They had three lovely children with their youngest being Miranda in the seventh grade. The family did everything together with Dan being a very successful attorney. When Jane goes missing in November 1975, the family is frantic.
The police start an investigation into the disappearance and are unable to find anything regarding Jane’s whereabouts. The case lingers and the first suspect is Dan. There is no evidence to connect him with the crime but a dogged investigator, Mr. Glover, continues to investigate the whereabouts. Surely a loving mother like Jane Larkin would not simply leave and abandon her children.
This novel is very well structured and developed with a number of twists and turns. I developed a real empathy for the characters and their sudden loss of a very beloved mother. Would a devoted mother and wife suddenly decide that she can no longer stay with her husband and care for her family?
William Landay has written a very interesting novel about a family torn apart by the disappearance of the wife and mother and subsequent turmoil of ongoing suspicion. I found the novel disturbing and sad. 4.5 stars – CE Williams
[Note from V: When I listened to the audiobook Defending Jacob, I was blown away by the heart-pounding and gripping novel with that unbelievable twist at the end. Of course, the audiobook was narrated by one of my favorite authors, Grover Gardner. No question the author writes a chillingly hard domestic thriller.]
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.
The Author:William Landay‘s latest novel is the New York Times bestseller “Defending Jacob.” His previous novels are “Mission Flats,” which won the Dagger Award as best debut crime novel of 2003, and “The Strangler,” which was an L.A. Times favorite crime novel and was nominated for the Strand Magazine Critics Award as best crime novel of 2007.
It is always a challenge to pick out our favorite reads of the year and 2022 had many. I’ve narrowed it down to twelve once again, one in each month.
As always, these are a mix of Indie authors, favorite authors, as well as bestselling authors and cover a good range of genres including domestic drama, historical fiction, suspense, and thrillers. And I do so love audiobooks as well as eBooks.
Listed by month, thinking next year I’m going to note my No. 1 pick in the monthly recaps, hopefully to make a year-end wrap-up easier. Links on titles are my full review and pics are links to Amazon (US).
Jan – The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. Yes! An audiobook narrated by George Guidall (one of my favorite narrators). It’s an immersive fantasy brought to life with characters that create an enchanting tale of the ancient arts and magic. It’s way outside my normal reads as #HistoricalFantasy published in April, 2013. So why did I fail to give it my coveted five stars? I disliked what happened to one of the main characters. Ya gotta listen to it—or read it—your choice. My 4.5 stars
Feb – The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles. No. 5 on the Amazon Charts the week I reviewed—yes—another audiobook! I adored this book! Right up until the end. Another sabotage with my happy ending. This #ComingofAge – #HistoricalFiction was released on October 5, 2021 and got a lot of attention. It should have. Right up to the end (sob). Still, it’s one you shouldn’t miss. My 4.5 stars
Mar – Poison Penby Sheila Lowe. (Claudia Rose Forensic Handwriting Mysteries Book 1). The CE gave this one five stars in March, Reading Ireland Month, and I included it here as I read a number of Irish authors, all of whom were good. A #domesticthriller released on February 22, 2021, the CE noted it was a fascinating study of handwriting analysis—a unique plot device. His 4.5 stars
Apr – The Lost by Jeffrey B Burton. A Mace Reid K-9 Mystery. I had to include one of my favorite doggy stories and this is a sweet one. Vira is a cadaver dog almost on a paranormal level with her handler, Mace Reid. It’s a fast-paced and well-plotted #animalfiction released on June 28, 2022. My 4.5 stars
May – The Physicists’ Daughterby Mary Anna Evans. A big reading month and this #historicalmysteries captured the CEs attention and kept it. He noted it was well written and he could not put it down. (I believe it—he burned through it.) His 4.5 stars
Jun – Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. OMG, this Goodreads Choice Award Winner also got five full stars from me. Loved it! Authentic, emotional (I listened to the audiobook), and as my heart rose and sank throughout this unputdownable narrative could find no reason to shave a half-star. Published in June 2017, a #fictionsagas #literaryfiction, it is indeed a beautiful #historicalfiction. 5 stars!
Jul – Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Another audiobook takes the month as a #HumorousLiteraryFiction.This NY Times bestseller and a book club pick is a cerebral argument for the ability of women to expand beyond the “big three” for women (teacher, nurse, secretary—now called Adminstrative Assistant—no additional pay). It attains that lofty five star peak, also showing as No. 20 on the Amazon Charts the week I reviewed. In the early 60s, this brainiac woman wants to be a chemist (gasp!). The author does it up right, although it definitely garnered a lot of criticism. My 5 stars
Aug – The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks. The CE was very impressed with this #HistoricalBiographicalFiction and gave it five stars. So many tidbits included that he notes is very well written and “has some literary license” to support the final court decision. A very well known and tragic case in our history that led to the creation of the Lindbergh (kidnapping) Law. His 5 stars
Sept – The Dutch House by Ann Patchett an Amazon Editors’ pick for Best Literature & Fiction. Another audiobook and I’d be willing to bestow an honorary Audie for Tom Hanks’ narration. Heavy family dynamics, abandonment, love, loss, redemption. A #literaryfiction and my 5 stars. But, also vying for that 5 star mention are Painting with Fire by Amanda Hughes and The Quarryman’s Girl by Melanie Forde both by favorite authors of mine and whose works continue to be top drawer. You can’t go wrong with any of these September reads. All my 5 stars (Unusual, huh?)
Oct – Her Deadly Game by Robert Dugoni. A CE review, his turn for a Robert Dugoni book and how can you go wrong with that? You can’t and he gave it 5 stars. He says the novel contains a myriad of legal wrangling and is engaging and entertaining. Dugoni books are consistently fresh and well-crafted with relatable, well-developed characters. #legalthrillers His 5 stars
Nov – Hang the Moon by Jeannette Walls. A unique look at the 20s and Prohibition whose main character is a woman—and a strong, savvy, and smart one at that. Loved the atmospheric narrative with themes of religious passion, bootlegging, and gang wars. (Guess nothing changes, huh?) #biographicalhistoricalfiction My 4 stars. (Loved the book, wasn’t keen on the ending, but can still recommend.)
Dec – Swamp Story by Dave Barry. This is a case of an ugly cover but winning the month for the content of the book. Perhaps the cover is meant to convey this is not going to be a serious book. It’s the epitomy of #darkhumor and it’s hilarious, tongue-in-cheek rapid fire snark, twists, unique atmospherics, and an outrageously imaginative plot. That’s Dave Barry for you. So funny I had the CE read it. We both agreed. It’s a solid 5 stars and heartily recommended.
Obviously, not all the monthly favorites were five stars but still impressed us. So, in looking over this list, a strong pattern is becoming obvious. We are definitely leaning to #historicalfiction and #audiobooks. It’s another argument for just how many sub-genres fall under the general historical fiction category.
Do any of the above grab your interest? Read it already? Disagree with our reviews? I’d love to know and always welcome your comments!
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than 20 years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: his 14-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.
Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, and as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own – between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.
Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis – a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.
I must admit that I chose this audiobook because I saw that it was narrated by Grover Gardner and I’m a huge fan of Mr. Gardner—the “Andy” of the Andy Carpenter series (by another author). His artistic rendition carries most any book to new heights, not just reading the book, but making the characters come alive—flesh and blood—along with their foibles. Such is the Andy in this book.
The hook at the beginning manages to jump what will become the meat and potatoes of this book—the POV by Andy Barber. Andy is happily married and they have a fourteen-year-old son, Jacob. Every now and then, the POV jumps over the catastrophic event in the family’s life that propels the legal thriller to a heartbreaking family drama.
Jacob is accused of the murder of a classmate. Andy becomes convinced that Jacob would not—could not—commit the heinous crime—stabbing three times the chest of the boy found murdered and left in the park. He is temporarily suspended from his position as ADA and becomes convinced beyond all reason (and mostly circumstantial evidence) that his son is innocent.
Meanwhile, Laurie, his wife is becoming alarmed at her crushing emotions and conflicting beliefs—then guilt over her thoughts. Could her son have killed that boy? The atmosphere in the air becomes increasingly contentious, Andy defending his son beyond reason. Jacob declaring his innocence. His mother no longer so positive—doubts seeping into the bedrock, loosening her private shocking fears and revelations to her husband.
Meanwhile, as Andy works second chair with the attorney they hired to defend Jacob, they are confronted with Andy’s own history—dark secrets he’d never shared even with Laurie. She becomes horrified and as her experience with her baby boy begins to shed more light on him, Andy continues the unreasonable and dogged resistance to the possibility.
The reader is first left with a child—yes, sometimes children can be cruel—but this is far beyond bullying—and increasing questions as to the veracity of Andy’s arguments. The toll on the family is unimaginable, threatening to ruin the marriage, his mother’s belief in Jacob’s innocence flailing wildly in the wind. While Andy is a well-developed main character, Laurie is more a strong periphery character and Jacob only known through the insight of Andy and his mother.
I’m a fan of legal thrillers and the courtroom dance in the narrative proceeds with all the drama a reader could want, the push-pull, win-lose. Written by a former ADA, the author knows the timing, the procedure, the lingo—it’s high drama in itself.
The family appears to survive the process albeit briefly when another event sends the reader back into high-pressure territory, gasping with shock at the turn of events.
And then; the final twist. I don’t care who you are. You never saw this coming. Yes, I know you’ve heard that before. No, trust me. This one is so beyond what you might have imagined it echoes over and over in your head, leaving you with a book hangover. The unthinkable. No do-overs here. You can run it over in your mind. It won’t change. I was almost sick.
Does that mean I wouldn’t recommend it? Are you kidding? This is crazy unique, gripping, heart-pounding, and unquestionably a novel both engaging and entertaining. The narration by Gardner is mesmerizing. (I guess it was turned into a TV series released in 2020.)
I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.
Genre: Psychological Fiction, Legal Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc. ASIN: B0073OGZNM Listening Length: 12 hrs 24 mins Narrator: Grover Gardner Publication Date: January 31, 2012 Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections) Title Link: Defending Jacob [Amazon]
The Author:William Landay’s latest novel is the New York Times bestseller “Defending Jacob.” His previous novels are “Mission Flats,” which won the Dagger Award as best debut crime novel of 2003, and “The Strangler,” which was an L.A. Times favorite crime novel and was nominated for the Strand Magazine Critics Award as best crime novel of 2007.
Narrator:Grover Gardner is an American narrator of audiobooks. As of May 2018, he has narrated over 1,200 books. He was the Publishers Weekly “Audiobook Narrator of the Year” and is among AudioFile magazine’s “Best Voices of the Century”. Wikipedia
Brand-new lawyer Michael O’Brien has no clue the case his law firm handed him is a total loser. That’s because he would rather chase women, play basketball, or do almost anything other than practice law. O’Brien is struggling with the drudgery first-year associates face, especially since it’s the swinging ’70s in San Francisco.
He’s just too good-looking, easily bored, and cocky to care. But when Malcolm Knox, one of the city’s wealthiest men, drops dead, the young man from Boston is suddenly charged with finding $50 million in bearer bonds missing from the estate.
Given his myriad distractions-he’s wooing a former fashion model who owns a small bakery chain-O’Brien seems destined to fail. As missteps accumulate, and practicing law becomes dangerous O’Brien risks losing his job, his girlfriend, and even his life.
Michael O’Brien is a confirmed bachelor and playboy. He passed the bar by having a surrogate take the bar exam for him. A prestigious firm in San Francisco is letting him work his first case. Fifty million dollars in bearer bonds and federal certificates are among the missing.
The law firm gives him this assignment because they are sure he will fail. Remarkably he applies himself and with the help of his assistant is able to adjudicate the case and is on the verge of winning. One of the senior associates of the firm steps in to claim the victory and the commission. Michael will be shown the door for his trouble.
The loser in the case decides he must die in retaliation for taking the purloined nest egg of $50,000,000 and assigning it to the nephews. The executor of the funds had a plan to spend it while meting out a pittance to the “undeserving” nephews.
Michael and his lady, the owner of a local cookie franchise, are now targeted for elimination. The owner of the cookie franchise, Marybeth, is not the least bit interested in a relationship with this never do well. O’Brien’s life is in for a drastic change as he begins to court Marybeth.
This story moves quickly and is both engaging and entertaining. I have known some of the type of playboy that Michael engenders. Marybeth is accurate in trying to stay away from this player. Read and enjoy! 4.5 stars – CE Williams
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.
Rosepoint Publishing:Four point Five Stars
Genre: Financial Thrillers, Private Investigator Mysteries, Romantic Suspense Publisher: Hubbard House ISBN-10: 1736352512 ISBN-13: 978-1736352519 ASIN: B0B7Z21KHD Print Length: 316 pages Publication Date: August 8, 2022 Source: Publisher and NetGalley Title Link: O’Brien’s Law [Amazon]
The Author: A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Hastings College of The Law, John practiced law until he co-founded McNellis Partners, a Northern California shopping center development firm, in 1982.
John is a decades’ long member of the Urban Land Institute—a founding member of its Environmental Task Force—and the ICSC. He is a ULI Governor, has chaired two separate ULI Councils and served as both a Trustee and Council Councilor. He has also served on the board of directors for Lambda Alpha International (Golden Gate Chapter).
A frequent lecturer on real estate topics, John writes a monthly column for the San Francisco Business Times and is the author of the critically acclaimed books, Making it in Real Estate: Starting out as a Developer (First an Second Editions), an industry standard and taught in universities nationwide. His lecture series on YouTube is the most widely viewed of all of the ULI’s video presentations.
John is actively involved with Outward Bound USA, having served on its national board of directors and now on its advisory board. He is a past president of the board of directors of Rebuilding Together Peninsula and is a board member emeritus. He has also served on the board of directors for the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center and was a seventeen-year volunteer at the Palo Alto Downtown Streets Team’s Food Closet.
A defense attorney is prepared to play. But is she a pawn in a master’s deadly match? A twisting novel of suspense by New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni.
Keera Duggan was building a solid reputation as a Seattle prosecutor, until her romantic relationship with a senior colleague ended badly. For the competitive former chess prodigy, returning to her family’s failing criminal defense law firm to work for her father is the best shot she has. With the right moves, she hopes to restore the family’s reputation, her relationship with her father, and her career.
Keera’s chance to play in the big leagues comes when she’s retained by Vince LaRussa, an investment adviser accused of murdering his wealthy wife. There’s little hard evidence against him, but considering the couple’s impending and potentially nasty divorce, LaRussa faces life in prison. The prosecutor is equally challenging: Miller Ambrose, Keera’s former lover, who’s eager to destroy her in court on her first homicide defense.
As Keera and her team follow the evidence, they uncover a complicated and deadly game that’s more than Keera bargained for. When shocking information turns the case upside down, Keera must decide between her duty to her client, her family’s legacy, and her own future.
Vincent La Russa got home late from his lecture at the Four Seasons in which he was the keynote speaker. Entering the kitchen, he found his wife dead in her wheelchair with broken glass on the floor and the house temperature at 105 degrees. He immediately exited the house and called 911 to get the police department dispatched to the scene. The hole in his wife’s head confirmed there was nothing he could do.
The story is further clouded by a history of Anne La Russa suffering from a car accident and terminal cancer. A prenuptial agreement prior to the La Russa marriage would leave Vincent penniless should he stray during the marriage. Evidence gathered by a private detective indicates that he might be guilty of such an indiscretion. He is arrested for the murder and Keera is hired to defend him.
Keera Duggan is the youngest daughter of Patrick “The Irish Brawler” Duggan. The family business is called Duggan and Sons although none of his sons went into the business. The girls: Ella, Margaret, and Keera, followed in their father’s footsteps. The youngest, Keera, swore she would never work with family but she has become her father’s favorite. The family has a serious alcohol problem.
Vincent La Russa is a very wealthy man charged with his wife’s death. Keera and Patrick are engaged to defend Mr. La Russa. The author develops his characters with careful consideration of the family dynamic. That ability engaged this reader by contrasting the Duggan family with experiences in my own family. Being one of seven siblings, I found myself identifying with the problems faced by Keera and her sisters.
This novel contains a myriad of legal wrangling and would be a good primer for anyone considering law school. The prosecuting attorney, Miller Ambrose, was a former boyfriend of Keera’s and is determined not to lose to his former lover. The family in turn is watching Keera with a jaundiced eye to see if she has a chance of winning.
I found this book to be engaging and entertaining and the twists at the end very satisfying. Read and enjoy this book and see if the ending catches you by surprise as well! 5 stars – CE Williams
[Note: The CE and I have shared a number of Dugoni’s books, including most recently both the Tracy Crosswhite series What She Found Book 9 and the Charles Jenkins series, The Silent Sister Book 3, and loved them all. Around this house we like to say, “Of course it’s good, it’s a Dugoni.” They are consistently fresh, engaging, well-crafted and well-plotted with relatable characters. This is no exception. VW]
Many thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. Currently on pre-order.
Genre: Legal Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Murder Thrillers Publisher: Thomas & Mercer ASIN: B09V575VRP Print Length: 396 pages Publication Date: March 28, 2023 Source: Publisher and NetGalley Title Links: Her Deadly Game [Amazon-US] Amazon-UK
The Author:Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and #1 Amazon bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite police series set in Seattle, which has sold more than 8 million books worldwide. He is also the author of The Charles Jenkins espionage series, the David Sloane legal thriller series, and several stand-alone novels including The 7th Canon, Damage Control, and the literary novels, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell – Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni’s narration won an AudioFile Earphones Award and the critically acclaimed, The World Played Chess; as well as the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Several of his novels have been optioned for movies and television series. Dugoni is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction and a three-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He has also been a finalist for many other awards including the International Thriller Award, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, the Silver Falchion Award for mystery, and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award.
Robert Dugoni’s books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than thirty languages.
In Phillip Margolin’s Murder at Black Oaks, Attorney Robin Lockwood finds herself at an isolated retreat in the Oregon mountains, one with a tragic past and a legendary curse, and surrounded by many suspects and confronted with an impossible crime.
Defense Attorney Robin Lockwood is summoned by retired District Attorney Francis Hardy to meet with him at Black Oaks, the manor he owns up in the Oregon mountains. The manor has an interesting history – originally built in 1628 in England, there’s a murderous legend and curse attached to the mansion. Hardy, however, wants Lockwood’s help in a legal matter – righting a wrongful conviction from his days as a DA. A young man, Jose Alvarez, was convicted of murdering his girlfriend only for Hardy, years later when in private practice, to have a client of his admit to the murder and to framing the man Hardy convicted. Unable to reveal what he knew due to attorney client confidence, Hardy now wants Lockwood’s help in getting that conviction overturned.
Successful in their efforts, Hardy invites Lockwood up to Black Oaks for a celebration. Lockwood finds herself among an odd group of invitees – including the bitter, newly released, Alvarez. When Hardy is found murdered, with a knife connected to the original curse, Lockwood finds herself faced with a conundrum – who is the murder among them and how to stop them before there’s another victim.
Attorney/client privilege is a cornerstone of American jurisprudence. In the course of defending his client, a young district attorney learns of the other attorney’s inability to disclose certain facts in a case. The result is the client being sent to death row for a crime the young man did not commit. Jose Alvarez spends over thirty years on death row- an innocent man.
Robin Lockwood is contacted 30 years later to help salve the conscience of the then much older district attorney. He resides at Black Oaks Manor, a desolate mansion in an even more desolate region of Oregon. Black Oaks Manor is at the end of a remote location often unable to be reached by land vehicle. Jose is now released because papers have surfaced that proved he could not have killed the man he was sentenced to death for.
The story’s plot is further complicated by a faulty elevator and washed-out roads. The washed-out roads strand Robin and her associate while deaths continue at Black Oaks. Who is responsible for these untimely deaths?
Throughout the novel’s plot line, the story leads to false trails and impossible outcomes. I found myself flummoxed by the possibilities and recognized my personal inability to discover the truth.
This novel harkens back to some of the older great mystery writers. As the body count mounted, I found myself on quicksand trying to ferret out the culprit. Usually, a concrete motive for the killings and an obvious villain begin to surface as the novel proceeds. This is not the case with this novel. Facts are not presented until the end which exposes the killer. However, I still found myself in disbelief as to the capacity of the killer to be responsible for the crime.
I suggest you read the book and see if you reach another conclusion. I have read many of Phillip Margolin’s books and this is one of his slippery best. Enjoy! 4 stars – CE Williams
We’ve read several previous Robin Lockwood series novels, most recently The Darkest Place and A Matter of Life and Death, and in 2020 A Reasonable Doubt, and enjoyed them all, although more so the former. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.
Rosepoint Publishing:Four Stars
Genre: Legal Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Women Sleuths Publisher: Minotaur Books ASIN: B09NTKCH8C Print Length: 288 pages Publication Date: November 8, 2022 Source: Publisher and NetGalley Title Link: Murder at Black Oaks [Amazon] Barnes & Noble Kobo
The Author:PHILLIP MARGOLIN has written over twenty novels, most of them New York Times bestsellers, including Gone But Not Forgotten, Lost Lake, and Violent Crimes. In addition to being a novelist, he was a long time criminal defense attorney with decades of trial experience, including a large number of capital cases. Margolin lives in Portland, Oregon.
TV Netflix Series The Lincoln Lawyer vs Audiobook by Michael Connelly
So, have you been thoroughly saturated with The Lincoln Lawyer yet? First, we had the book written by Michael Connelly (2005), then the movie starring Michael McConaughey (March 2011), and now the Netflix series starring Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. No? There’s a reason for that (besides the male stars of either screen version)—it’s good. Escapist entertainment, satisfying, realistic well-drawn characters. (But I have to be honest with you—I didn’t see the movie version.)
“Idealistic lawyer Mickey Haller runs his practise out of the back of his Lincoln Town Car, taking on cases big and small across Los Angeles.”
Season 1 is actually based on Connelly’s second novel,Brass Verdict, as conceived by David E Kelly and developed by Ted Humphrey. Haller is a defense attorney whose practice and marriage to prosecutor Maggie McPherson (McPherce) were curtailed by his painkiller addiction. Now clean and ready to resume his legal profession, he inherits a colleague’s caseload. The caseload includes one new and a couple of ongoing cases that are pulled to the fore with a team necessarily involved in extensive investigation.
The part of Mickey Haller is handled well byManuel Garcia-Rulfo (although I’m not sure if I missed an explanation for his accent or not),
Neve Campbell as Maggie McPherson,
Becki Newton as ex-wife number 2 Lorna Crain, Jazz Raycole as Haller’s driver Izzy Letts, and Christopher Gorham as Trevor Elliott as well as a number of other prominent parts, including Angus Sampson as Cisco.
Christopher Gorham as Trevor Elliott plays his despicable part to Emmy level and for the most part, the cast works well. LA always sparks an iconic atmospheric setting and who doesn’t love those ginormous old Lincolns? The series sets an early hook and keeps the viewer gripped with a tantalizing and complex plot, full of suspense, ending each episode with a cliff-hanger into the next. It’s well done.
I could see Netflix following the book, making expected changes for a series often predicting the scene and plot line of the book but not necessarily the timeline. There were subtle differences but not so radical as encountered with a few of the previous books to small screen conversions lately. I suspect Connelly had a strong hand in keeping the series version authentically Connelly. In any case, the series is engaging and entertaining using wildly divergent characters to glue together a gripping thriller.
INSPIRATION FOR THE ORIGINAL SERIES THE LINCOLN LAWYER – THE #1 TV SHOW ON NETFLIX
The bestselling legal thriller has charismatic defense attorney Mickey Haller taking on a slam-dunk court case involving a Beverly Hills playboy — but as it spirals into a nightmare, he finds himself in a fight for his life. Mickey Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense attorney who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, traveling between the far-flung courthouses of Los Angeles to defend clients of every kind. Bikers, con artists, drunk drivers, drug dealers — they’re all on Mickey Haller’s client list. For him, the law is rarely about guilt or innocence, it’s about negotiation and manipulation. Sometimes it’s even about justice. A Beverly Hills playboy arrested for attacking a woman he picked up in a bar chooses Haller to defend him, and Mickey has his first high-paying client in years. It is a defense attorney’s dream, what they call a franchise case. And as the evidence stacks up, Haller comes to believe this may be the easiest case of his career. Then someone close to him is murdered and Haller discovers that his search for innocence has brought him face-to-face with evil as pure as a flame. To escape without being burned, he must deploy every tactic, feint, and instinct in his arsenal — this time to save his own life.
Mickey Haller is handed a “franchise” case in the form of an entitled, rich playboy who is very used to calling the shots. Haller, however, working out of the back of his Lincoln isn’t exactly flush himself and could use the revenue. On the surface, it didn’t look like it would be a tough negotiation.
Haller isn’t new to the game. He’s defended and accumulated a client list of a variety of defendants from bikers and con artists to drug dealers. Louis Ross Roulet is the spoiled child of a wealthy mother who will do anything to keep her son out of jail. He is accused of beating up a woman he met in a bar when they went back to her room. He vehemently denies hitting her and further asserts she set him up. What could go wrong?
Well, I have to say I liked the character of Haller, even with having two failed marriages and his ex-wives still in the picture, no less, along with a small daughter. He is charismatic, there’s a heart of gold beating in there somewhere, and it shows in the clients he’s successfully defended and willing to perform some pay-back work.
Haller is complex; obviously, he has his failings, his flaws. He brings intelligence, wit, and energy to the story. He’s been around long enough to know the score and quickly begins to smell a rat. Something about Roulet isn’t ringing true. And if nothing else, he won’t allow himself to be manipulated beyond his moral compass. I love the way he deals with his antagonist.
Michael Connelly is the bestselling author of over thirty novels and one work of nonfiction. With over eighty million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into forty-five foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. A former newspaper reporter who worked the crime beat at the Los Angeles Times and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Connelly has won numerous awards for his journalism and his fiction. His very first novel, The Black Echo, won the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. In 2002, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the movie adaptation of Connelly’s 1998 novel, Blood Work. In March 2011, the movie adaptation of his #1 bestselling novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, hit theaters worldwide starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller. His most recent New York Times bestsellers include The Law Of Innocence, Fair Warning, The Night Fire, Dark Sacred Night, Two Kinds Of Truth, and The Late Show. Michael is the executive producer of Bosch, an Amazon Studios original drama series based on his bestselling character Harry Bosch, starring Titus Welliver and streaming on Amazon Prime. He is also the executive producer of the documentary films, “Sound Of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story’ and ‘Tales Of the American.’ He spends his time in California and Florida.
The Netflix Series
WOW! I have to hand it to the Netflix version. While it doesn’t follow Book 1 to conclusion (after all, it’s a series), it does include all the important plot points, charismatic characters, and atmospheric LA locations and scenes. The character of Haller’s first ex doesn’t fit for me—feeling she appears older, not just in terms of maturity, but age as well, looking a good ten years older to his youthful good looks. Doesn’t work for me as well as ex number 2, although I can understand why that marriage didn’t work either. It appears that Haller could be a player, but he’s a great deal more dedicated to his profession than to his women. And he’s very, very good at his profession.
I’ve become a solid fan of the Connelly style of writing a legal thriller; the mystery, the suspense, the characters all well-drawn and engaging. The fast-paced plot never sags and he brings a satisfying conclusion to the narrative, if just a tad beyond plausibility.
Genre: Legal Thrillers, Literary Fiction Publisher: Hachette Audio ASIN: B000BND03U Listening Length: 11 hrs 36 mins Narrator: Adam Grupper Audible Release: September 27, 2005 Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections) Title Link: The Lincoln Lawyer [Amazon]
Netflix has done an admiral job of bringing to the small screen an authentic feel of the original work by the author. With just a couple casting wobbles, it engages and entertains solidly throughout the episodes with an equal level of suspense leading the viewer to continue the series and looking forward to Season 2 (and surely there will be a second).
The book, in my case audiobook, narrated capably by Adam Grupper hooks from the beginning and becomes suspenseful, gripping, and thrilling. I enjoy legal thrillers anyway, and this checks all the boxes for me that include a seriously complex plot that doesn’t sag.
Happy either way—one or both—entertaining and looking for more. Have you read the book? Listened to the audiobook? Saw the movie? Viewed the series? What did you think? Haller or Connelly fan? I’d love your comments!
I'm glad I learned to express my thoughts clearly and everyone loves to read them. Sometimes it takes a lot of thinking power to think about the surroundings. Someone who likes it, someone who enjoys it, appreciates that he is writing very well. Reading and commenting on the post I wrote would give me a lot of bullshit and I would get new ideas to write new ones.
I'm really glad I got your response.