The Gods of Guilt – Michael Connelly. Little Brown Pub.
Michael Connelly doesn’t need me to sell books for him, instant best-sellers every one, but his latest novel, his 26th, “The Gods of Guilt,” is worth a mention. A Lincoln Lawyer novel, Michael Haller is the protagonist, as opposed to Connelly’s other main character, Harry Bosch, Haller being the public defender of the often very guilty, while Bosch is the ex-LA cop turned detective. Both are damaged, Bosch maybe a bit more, but both have their demons to live with. In Haller’s case it often has to do with the type of people he defends, but the law, in his justification, has to be defended if it is to have any integrity. The title of the novel refers to the jury, which holds the power of guilt or innocence in its hands.
“The Gods of Guilt” could be used as a primer for a tour through the criminal court system. It’s well-plotted and the prose is clean and direct. Haller knows what strings to pull to make the system work for him, which doesn’t sit well with his daughter, with whom he has a distant relationship, owing to her disgust with some of his clients. She is one of the Gods of Guilt who sits on the jury in the eyes of his judgment. It’s obvious he’s a long way from redemption, but it’s a road he continues to travel with that in mind.
Connelly is at his best when guilt is the theme. He probably does it better than anyone else. “The Gods of Guilt” might stand alongside his best novels to date. He seems to get better as his career moves steadily forward.