Mickey’s life is a mess. He has lost the election for D.A. because a client he had successfully defended on a DUI, while drinking and driving again, kills two women in a car accident. His teenager daughter has estranged herself from him over the same accident unable to accept her father represents the guilty as well as the innocent.
Financially his modest firm, he is still operating out of the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car, is struggling as mortgage foreclosure work as eased with the gradual improvement in the California economy.
Mickey’s spirits are lifted, as they are for any defence lawyer, when his office gets a call from Andre La Cosse is in serious trouble and needs their representation. La Cosse has called from Men’s Central as he has been charged with the murder of a female escort, Giselle Dallinger. Nothing gets a defence lawyer adrenaline flowing faster than a call saying I need your help.
Mickey rushes to the county jail where he learns the slightly built La Cosse is a gay man carrying on a new variation of the world’s second oldest known profession. He is a digital pimp for Dallinger. He set up social media including websites and email needed by Dallinger to ply her trade. In return he takes a cut of her earnings.
He is accused of murdering Dallinger by strangulation after he believes she is holding out on money she should have received from a client she was to meet at the Beverley Hills Wilshire.
The new case has the office scrambling to find the time needed to defend La Cosse. Mickey says:
There is never just one case. There are always many. I liken the practice of law to the craft of some of the premier buskers seen working the crowds on the Venice boardwalk. There’s the man who spins plates on sticks, keeping a forest of china spinning with momentum and aloft at the same time. And there’s the man who juggles gas-powered chain saws, spinning them in the air in a precise manner so that he never shakes hands with the business end of the blades.
I am very familiar with spinning plates but fortunately have few chain saws to deal with in my practice.
Mickey is convinced La Cosse is not merely guilty, he is innocent. Practical as always he demands a substantial retainer of $25,000. Double that sum is paid through the delivery by armored truck of a kilo of gold.
While he does not have a formal office, in exchange for legal services, Mickey has a conference room in the loft of a building undergoing foreclosure proceedings,
Mickey is puzzled when La Cosse advises that Dallinger recommended that he retain Mickey if he was in trouble. Mickey does not recognize Dallinger’s name. The case becomes far more personal and considerably more complex when he realizes that Dallinger is the new identity for a former client, Gloria Dayton, better known professionally as Glory Days.
They had an ongoing relationship that ended when Mickey gave her enough money to end her career as a prostitute 7 years earlier. Having not heard from her Mickey thought she had escaped the profession. He is deeply saddened to learn she returned to being an escort.
As Mickey and his investigator, Cisco Wojciechowski, examine what happened in the hours before Dayton’s death they find details supporting La Cosse’s contention he did not kill her.
Even more startling information emerges when Mickey probes her past. He is shaken to learn how he has been used.
Mickey, to defend La Cosse, must take on multiple police agencies.
Much of the book deals with the preparation for trial. The actual trial portion of the book skips over the State’s evidence. It is an example of a master storyteller determining how best to maintain the flow of the plot.
As the trial moves to its conclusion the pace accelerates and I could hardly put the book down.
The lonely Mickey finds an unlikely love interest.
Connelly has written an excellent legal thriller / mystery. I do have a major issue with the opening which I will address in my next post. (Mar. 8/14)
****Connelly, Michael – (2000) - Void Moon; (2001) - A Darkness More than Night; (2001) - The Concrete Blonde (Third best fiction of 2001); (2002) - Blood Work (The Best); (2002) - City of Bones; (2003) - Lost Light; (2004) - The Narrows; (2005) - The Closers (Tied for 3rd best fiction of 2005); (2005) - The Lincoln Lawyer; (2007) - Echo Park; (2007) - The Overlook; (2008) - The Brass Verdict; (2009) – The Scarecrow; (2009) – Nine Dragons; (2011) - The Reversal; (2011) - The Fifth Witness; (2012) - The Drop; (2012) - Black Echo; (2012) - Harry Bosch: The First 20 Years; (2012) - The Black Box; (2014) - The Gods of Guilt; Hardcover