In the City of Angels again…

… and back in the Lincoln Towncar.

Michael Connelly’s new book returns us to the very grey and decidedly murky world of Micky Haller, aka The Lincoln Lawyer. The title, The Gods of Guilt,  refers to the 12 jurors the erstwhile defence lawyer has to perform in front of every day, the people he has to convince that his client is innocent.
Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game. He gets the text, ‘Call me ASAP – 187,’ and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow path, he knows he is on the hook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life. Far from saving her, Mickey may have been the one who put her in danger. Haunted by the ghosts of his past – of which there are many – his attempts to find out the truth about both the victim and his client, the man accused of killing her, and his need to assuage his own guilt, lead him down some very dark paths.
It was a good crime novel, well-written and with that sense that Connelly is reporting, rather than just making stuff, and people, up. As usual the powers and politics of Los Angeles are major players, as is the geography – Haller spends so much time in his car/office that you get a sense of the huge urban sprawl – quite exciting from little, compact Dunedin where most things are half an hour away! I like how Micky Haller is a sharper character than Connelly’s other main character (and Haller’s half-brother) the detective Harry Bosch; Haller straddles many lines and balances on many knife edges.

Have to say, very much enjoyed, in a meta, and unexpected, ooh, points for cleverness way,  how Connelly, the real-life author, has Haller, the book character, talking about the effect the film called The Lincoln Lawyer, based on Haller’s life, has had on his (Haller’s) life. The Lincoln Lawyer was off course written by Connelly and a few years ago was turned into an excellent nicotine-coloured, noirish film starring Matthew McConaughey in a startlingly good piece of casting. It is one of the best book-to-film translations I’ve seen – it just works. Hopefully the team will make another.


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