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26 November 2013

Michael Connelly: The Gods of Guilt

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The Lincoln Lawyer rides again
Criminal defence attorney Mickey Haller is back doing what he does best - running his small legal practice from the back of his Lincoln Town Car. He is still recovering from a time when switched sides to be a successful prosecutor, and he nearly became Los Angeles County District Attorney before disaster struck when a defence case went badly wrong and impacted his career and his relationship with his daughter and first wife.

Mickey is always on the lookout for cases with the highest stakes and biggest paybacks and the top of the line are murder cases. One day Andre La Cosse, an internet "pimp" who designs and manages web-sites for call girls, asks Mickey to defend him on a murder charge. This case is different because the victim, Gloria Dayton, was a former client, a prostitute Mickey thought he had rescued and put on a straight and narrow path - but she was back on the game. It is also different because just before Gloria's death she had told Andre should contact Haller if he ever needed legal assistance. Andre also has the means to pay for his defence - in gold bullion!

What starts off as a straightforward case of  providing a good defence for a guilty person quickly changes when Mickey realises that Andre may not be guilty.  The case quickly brings back the ghosts of Mickey's past which can have a serious impact on his professional and personal future.

Mickey needs all the help he can get to try to find an another killer to tie to Gloria's murder. In this he is helped by his strange but very effective teeam of associates.  His second wife, Lorna (still a very good friend), acts as his receptionist; her mountain of a husband, Cisco, is his investigator; and a young female attorney, Julie Aronson, is his very smart legal associate. This time his driver, Earl, who is paying off his legal fees by driving Mickey around LA in his Lincoln Town Car, also becomes part of the action.

Mickey's father (a lawyer too) told him that the jurors were the "Gods of Guilt" but from experience Mickey knows that the gods of guilt are judging us every day of our lives and in every move we make. This is never so true as in this case.

Michael Connelly has moved Mickey Haller on from the days when he was seen as a "sleezy" lawyer in the first Lincoln Lawyer novel. While he is still prepared to do courtroom tricks, he has matured and morphed into a relentless pursuer of getting to the truth and this case tests him to the limit. Connelly is still at the top of his game and this is an entertaining page-turner that will satisfy most of Connelly's fans and will undoubtedly be part of many Christmas reading wish lists.

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