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The Fifth Witness Reading Guide

Use these questions to help start a conversation about the book. SPOILER WARNING! These questions cover the entire book. Don’t read them unless you have read the book.

The foreclosure epidemic was the country’s biggest ongoing financial catastrophe.
1. The foreclosure aspects of this story are truly ripped from the headlines. Do you think crime novels are a great platform to shine a light on real world issues?

What I’m about to tell you now is the most important piece of advice in the world.
2. Do you think that a defense attorney’s advice to not talk about a case with anyone goes against an innocent person’s natural desire to clear their name? Could you remain quiet? Do you think only guilty people ask for a lawyer?

I believed that with strangers, Lisa Trammel was very skilled at keeping her personal and emotional issues beneath the surface.
3. Did you like Lisa Trammel? Was she a sympathetic character? Did you think she was guilty or innocent? Could you defend a client that you despised?

My mission was to know all I could and yet there were things I didn’t want to know right now.
4. This book gives insight into a defense attorney’s job preparing and running a case. Mickey says, “Sometimes knowing things limits you. Not knowing them gives you more latitude in crafting a defense.” Did viewing a defense prep change your view of the justice system? Are you more sympathetic to the defense side now?

The prosecution is always the home team.
5. Did you think Andrea Freeman played fair as the prosecutor? Was she wrong to hide her friendship with Maggie McPherson? Do you think Mickey played dirty?

For me it was four decades of confidence and self-esteem shattered like small bones on the pavement.
6. How did you feel about the way Mickey and Cisco handled the two men who beat him up? Cisco said Mickey needed to confront them to get his manhood back. Do you understand what he meant? Do you agree? Do you feel differently about Cisco now because of the violence?

Bosch remained as distant as ever and I remained as saddened about it as ever.
7. It would seem that Mickey wants a relationship with Harry Bosch, his half brother, that Harry is not prepared to give. Do you expect Harry to change and embrace family life with Mickey? Did Mickey seem lonely in this book?

I just wish there was a way to make you and Hayley proud of me.
8. What do you think of Mickey’s decision at the end of the book regarding his career? Was he doing this to prove something to Maggie or to himself? What do you hope will happen in the next Mickey Haller story?