You’ve probably heard of Michael Connelly – the best-selling crime-writer with dozens of novels all set in the same universe. If you haven’t, that’s okay. I’d heard of him, but I’d never actually read any of his books before The Law Of Innocence arrived in my mailbox (courtesy of the marvellous team at Allen And Unwin).
I was worried that jumping in to the middle of a series might be confusing, but Connelly’s clearly mastered the art of exposition. He manages to swiftly welcome in new readers with enough background to set them up to enjoy the novel, without drowning long-time fans in repetitive detail.
The Law Of Innocence follows “the Lincoln Lawyer”, Mickey Haller, through his highest-stakes case yet. Haller himself is framed for the murder of a former client, whose body is unfortunately located by police in the boot of Haller’s car.
It isn’t a whodunnit – the ending seems a foregone conclusion once Haller deduces the truth early on – but Connelly still keeps the tension and momentum going, from Haller’s arrest through to the conclusion of his trial.
The story isn’t fast paced, but it’s well-paced, a brisk walk thriller that breathes life and intrigue into legal procedure. The “romances” are a bit bizarre (predicated mostly on who Haller most recently had eye-contact with), and the allusions to COVID-19 feel like late additions, slapped on at the last minute to make the plot and setting feel more Timely and Realistic.
Still, they didn’t detract from my enjoyment of Connelly’s straightforward, no-nonsense, deliberate writing and plotting.