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Tonight: Michael Connelly talks 'The Fifth Witness'

April 5, 2011 | 12:06 pm

As audiences meet lawyer Mickey Haller in the movie "The Lincoln Lawyer," as portrayed by Matthew McConaughey, readers already knew him from that and two other novels by Michael Connelly. And now they've got a chance to spend more time with him in Connelly's newest mystery, "The Fifth Witness," out this month.

"The Fifth Witness" includes scenes in the car -- that Lincoln -- and courtroom, and centers around the murder of a banker involved in foreclosures during the economic crisis. Richard Rayner writes that the book is "richly entertaining":

"The Fifth Witness" opens with Haller having it rough. "Criminal defense had virtually dried up in the down economy. Of course crime wasn't down. In Los Angeles, crime marched through any economy. But paying customers were few and far between. It seemed as though nobody had money to pay any lawyer," he tells us, explaining why — with his bills to pay, an estranged wife, and a 14-year-old daughter who fancies going to USC — he's been forced to mine one of the few growth industries in contemporary law: foreclosure defense. He's churning clients at "four or five grand a pop," helping people to hold onto their homes, at least for a little longer. One such small case blows up big, however, when Lisa Trammel, his very first foreclosure client, is charged with the murder of the banker who's trying to take away her home.

Tonight, Michael Connelly appears at the Writers Bloc reading series at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. He'll be interviewed by screenwriter John Romano, who just happens to count among his credits "The Lincoln Lawyer." Tickets for the event are $20.

While this is Connelly's first appearance in L.A. to talk about "The Fifth Witness," he'll also be here in a few weeks for the L.A. Times Festival of Books. He'll appear Saturday April 30 at 1p.m. onstage in conversation with Richard Rayner.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Michael Connelly in Santa Monica in 2010. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times