Although I came late to the Michael Connelly fan club, once I read The Lincoln Lawyer, a few years ago, I was immediately hooked. Most mystery readers were introduced to Connelly via his superstar homicide detective Harry Bosch, who has appeared in eighteen novels.
I, however, started with Mickey Haller, Harry's half-brother, a defense attorney, who gained in popularity after The Lincoln Lawyer was made into a movie. Mickey is a bit unconventional and seeks his clients in the seedier parts of Los Angeles. Nonetheless, he works hard for the accused and makes sure they get their fair day in court. The Gods of Guilt is the fifth Haller book, and the lawyer's personal life is just as interesting as his firm's casework.
- What's the story? Mickey takes on what appears to be a simple case of defending an online business manager (read: modern-day pimp) who has been accused of murdering one of his female clients (read: high-class prostitute) after a disagreement about money. Soon, however, it becomes clear that the case has deep and complex roots. It is linked to Mickey's past and maybe to someone who should be on the right side of the law.
- The case: Mickey's team is working 24/7 to save not only the client but perhaps their own skins. Connelly has written some great courtroom action, throwing in enough potential setbacks to keep us invested. Mickey has a few new defense tricks up his sleeve, which he puts together with the help of his mentor and his support staff. His antics may toe the line of professionalism, but Mickey is serious about his role as a defense attorney.
- Personal: Mickey is dealing with an estrangement from his teenage daughter, who stopped talking to him after he concluded a successful defense case and an unsuccessful campaign for district attorney. In other relationships, he is mentoring a young woman he's hired to help with the caseload, he is still visiting the man who inspired him to enter the law, and he may have met a woman who will stick around.
- Do you need to start with book one? No you don't. You get a pretty good feel for Mickey from The Gods of Guilt. You would probably get more out of the story if you had read the series from the beginning, but you won't feel lost if you jump in here.
- Recommendation: Good mystery with a great character, perfect for escape reading. Although there are dark moments in The Gods of Guilt, Connelly adds some comic relief. Mystery lovers who appreciate good writing and who like the legal subgenre will especially like the Mickey Haller books.
- Audiobook: I listened to the unabridged audiobook (Hachette Audio, 11 hr, 49 min), read by Peter Giles, who has read four out of the five Haller books. Giles's inflections and characterizations augment Connelly's prose, pulling us into the story and keeping us there until the end. Well worth the listen.
- Extra: Listen to a bit of the audiobook, embedded below. NB: The clip has a slow start; be patient, it begins after a few seconds of silence.
Hachette Book Group/ Little, Brown, 2013
Source: Audio: review (see review policy)
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