Title: The Lincoln Lawyer (Mickey Haller Series #1)
Author: Michael Connelly
Genre: Mystery, Legal Thriller, Crime
First published: October 3rd 2005
Finished reading: May 26th 2013
“She always asked the irrelevant question. It didn’t matter in terms of the strategy of the case whether the defendant “did it” or not. What mattered was the evidence against him — the proof — and if and how it could be neutralized. My job was to bury the proof, to color the proof a shade of gray. Gray was the color of reasonable doubt.”
While The Lincoln Lawyer is not the next literary masterpiece, it is still quite an entertaining read. The main character is Mickey Haller, a criminal defense lawyer who prefers his clients guilty and rich, the so-called ‘franchise’ clients. The client being innocent doesn’t make him that much money, and he couldn’t forgive himself if he would lose a case of an innocent either… So all in all Mickey Haller is not the typical lawyer who pretends to be just; he admits almost openly he is doing it mostly for the money. Although he does have a conscience and he is afraid he wouldn’t recognize innocence when he finally finds it… This novel by Michael Connelly is perfect for a few hours of easy reading, although I’m not sure if I would continue this series at some point myself.
Mickey Haller has just catched a big franchise client accused of beating and attempting to rape a woman named Louis Roulet. Haller knows his client is guilty, but he needs the money and with the help of the Roulet’s status and ability to lie it’s not too difficult to claim innocence. But Mickey has a new problem: he finds evidence that another of his clients currently in jail is actually innocent. But he won’t be able to get him out without damaging his current Roulet case…
For a legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer is quite easy to read and the courtroom parts are not boring at all. The plot is actually quite interesting and the main character is actually quite human. Haller might not be the perfect attorney, but the flaws make him easier to sympathize with. All in all not a bad read if you don’t mind the use of some colorful language…
Title: The Bookseller of Kabul
Author: Asne Seierstad
Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir, History
First published: 2003
Finished reading: May 19th 2013
“What the sounds and smells do not divulge, gossip supplies. It spreads like wildfire in the neighborhood, where everyone is watching one another’s morals.”
I’m not sure what to think of this one. After having read works of Khaled Hosseini, this interpretation of life in Afghanistan doesn’t seem that believable to me. Asne Seierstad is a Norwegian journalist who spent four months living with an Afghan family in Kabul. She then (in my opinion) makes the mistake to tell us a story of the bookseller Sultan Khan and his family based on her own rather colored observations. That alone maybe isn’t that bad, but she wrote herself out of the story and wants to make us to believe everything she wrote is an exact representation of the family life of the Khan family. And that honestly I cannot believe. She only spent four months with the family, and she was only able to talk to the only three members who know the English language. So how on earth would she be able to understand and know the feelings of a family with a culture so different from her own? The story itself is not bad, but if you want to learn more about how is life really like in Afghanistan, I would recommend not even touching this one.
The story is about Sultan Khan and his family. For a long time he has been supplying books to the people of Kabul even though it has been prohibited by various authorities like the communists or the Taliban. He didn’t get away unpunished: he was arrested and imprisoned by the communists, and the Talibans burned books on the street. He still continues his job as a bookseller, and at the same time has rather strict views on how his family has to live their lifes. Women and men are strictly separated, and women besides have to move within a restricted space.
Asne Seierstad doesn’t believe in this discrimination of women and it shows too much in the story. Maybe good enough to pass as a novel written from a Western world point of view, but it fails to show how it’s really like to live in Afghanistan. And I doubt the Khan family shared all their emotions and family secrets to a total stranger. All in all for me a disappointment.