By Dr Vaidehi Nathan
The Fifth Witness, Michael Connelly, Hachette India, Pp 559 (PB), Rs 350
Michael Connelly’s 23rd novel The Fifth Witness has all the elements of contemporary financial-legal scene. A single mother Lisa Trammel, abandoned by her husband wants to foreclose her home loan. The lawyer Mickey Haller, specializsing in foreclosures takes the case. In the middle of the case, she is accused of killing the man who was handling her foreclosure in the financial firm from where she had borrowed. The witnesses are against her, there is even a DNA proof. Haller is forced to take the criminal case up. The victim was six-two and Trammel was only five-three. He died of a knock on the head with a hammer. But the prosecution’s case was strong, till Haller found a solid evidence. Suspicion shifts on Opparizio who has a past link with a crime family. A witness Cisco says he saw Opparizio’s car come and leave the parking before and after the murder. Lisa is acquitted. During the party to celebrate the victory, Haller realises to his horror that Lisa was indeed the murderer. She replies to his queries in this direction with indifference. Haller’s business is booming after the victory. Does he hand her over to law?
The Fifth Witness is a thriller with a heady combination of a woman murder accused, an inadvertently drawn advocate and a pile of financial fraud where both the victim and the accused are involved in wrongdoings. Lisa’s complicity in the murder comes as a shock. Michael Connelly is a master story teller and he does not disappoint, yet again.
(Hachette India,612/614 (sixth floor), Time Tower, MG Road, Sector 28, Gurgaon – 122 001)