Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE GODS OF GUILT by Michael Connelly


by Michael Connelly

Pub Date: Dec. 2nd, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-316-06951-9
Publisher: Little, Brown

The fifth in the best-selling Lincoln Lawyer series.

A former newspaper reporter, Connelly (The Reversal, 2010, etc.) has moved into the territory dominated by former lawyers John Grisham and Scott Turow in this series of novels featuring defense attorney Mickey Haller, a hustler whose office is the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car and whose approach to the legal system prizes pragmatism over idealism. For Haller, there was a “fine line between seeking the truth and seeking a verdict in your client’s favor. They weren’t always the same thing.” Doing a good job as a defense lawyer sometimes finds him at odds with a law-abiding society, including his estranged daughter, devastated when one of his clients freed on a technicality caused a tragic death. “I had to have faith that Hayley would eventually come to realize that the world was not black and white,” explains the protagonist. “That it was gray and the gray area was where her father dwelled.” Such prose belabors the obvious, and the frequent invocation of the title (in reference to juries in particular and to all others who would pass judgment on Haller) is heavy-handed. Yet the narrative momentum sustains itself, as Haller investigates a case that doesn’t look like it will change his daughter’s opinion of him. He’s defending a cyberpimp (a sign of the times; he designs websites) accused of murdering a prostitute who not only had a close relationship with Haller, but who had recommended him to her suspected killer if he ever needed a lawyer. Pretty quickly, it becomes plain who the good guys and bad guys are (by the standards of the series), with few surprises along the way. There is also a perfunctory romance, a few issues on the table and some plot developments that suggest that this isn’t the end of the series.

Not much of a thriller or a mystery, but illuminating about the ways in which the law works and doesn’t.