Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Review: The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

The Gods of Guilt

Author: Michael Connelly
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Date of Publication:  December 2, 2013
Pages: 400 

     Michael Connelly has produced another intriguing legal thriller featuring Mickey Haller, "The Lincoln Lawyer".   This one reprises characters from the first book in the series (this is #5).  The strengths of all of Connelly's novels are in evidence here.  First the plot is intricate and complicated but not to the point of being improbable.  The characters are well drawn and there are plenty of conflicts to keep them in a stew.  The pace is fast and driven by crisp dialogue, especially when the story hits the courtroom.  You would think that his novels would become formulaic, but they don't.  

   In this story Haller defends a despicable but innocent man in a murder trial.  The defendant incriminated himself during the investigation and Haller has to circumvent that and establish an alternate theory for the murder.  His team of investigators (now including his driver, Earl) and a new partner stay one step ahead of the prosecutors and the police as evidence is developed pre-trial.  Haller uses courtroom maneuverings and theatrics to convince the jury ("The Gods of Guilt") of his version of the crime.

     One of the methods that Connelly uses to keep his series fresh is to introduce new characters.  This has happened several times in the long running Harry Bosch series (The Concrete Blonde, Trunk Music, The Black Box, etc...) and in The Gods of Guilt he introduces Jennifer Aronson, a young attorney Mickey hired to manage his foreclosure practice.  Jennifer wants to become more involved in criminal defense work and in this book she does.  It will be interesting to see where the author takes this new character in subsequent novels.  The core supporting characters are all here including Lorna, Mickey's ex-wife who answers his phones and arranges his schedule, Cisco Wojciechowski, Lorna's current husband and Mickey's new investigator and Earl, who drives Mickey's Lincoln Town Car.  Harry Bosch (who we learned several books ago is Mickey's half-brother) makes a cameo appearance as well.  There are humorous allusions to The Lincoln Lawyer movie and Mickey Haller copy cats in Los Angeles.  At one point Mickey leaves court in a hurry and hops in the wrong Town Car.

     The star of this and every book in "The Lincoln Lawyer" series continues to be Mickey Haller.  In this installment Mickey is a more sympathetic character.  He anguishes over his current estrangement from his sixteen year old daughter and has multiple pangs of conscience.  He still has his slick tactics and unorthodox approaches, but all of this seems more well intended this time around.
     This is an entertaining, fast-paced and well written novel.  As the Mickey Haller character evolves during this series the stories become better and better.  I can't wait for the next one.

No comments:

Post a Comment