Review of Michael Connelly’s The Gods of Guilt

The Gods of Guilt is a sequel to The Lincoln Lawyer with many of the same characters. Once again Mickey Haller faces ethical issues as well as daunting challenges. Connelly likes to alternate between writing about Haller and writing about Harry Bosch in order to keep himself fresh. The Haller books are much lighter in tone. Because they are written through Haller’s perspective, the reader feels very much connected to the lawyer and forgives him his lapses.

I think the meeting with Harry Bosch followed by Connelly’s offer of a short story for purchase online that explains why Harry was in court that same day smacks of opportunism. Connelly has sold millions of copies of his books to loyal fans and doesn’t need to do this. At one time he offered some stories free on his website. Perchance he’s getting a little greedy in his old age.

The Gods of Guilt does not match The Lincoln Lawyer when it comes to pace and action. It is still a masterful job by a very polished writer. I thought the book slowed down too much as Connelly described very detailed courtroom procedures. I also thought Connelly didn’t really develop enough motivation for Haller’s romantic relationship in the book. It seemed hurried and formulaic. You get the idea that he consulted his formula and reminded himself that by page 100 he needed to get Haller laid somehow.

The book’s ending is very melodramatic—very similar to the old Perry Mason TV shows where the bad guy confesses under Mason’s brilliant interrogation. Of course since the book is told through Haller and we care about him, it’s only natural that we root for him as well.

So, in summary, the book is worth reading and much better than a lot of the fiction out there, but it’s not one of Connelly’s best novels.

Audible Edition Coming for Journey to a Different Dimension

I received a request from an acquisitions editor at Audible to create a version of Journey to a Different Dimension. I listen to books daily when I take my 4-mile walk, but the mechanics of creating a copy for that media is a challenge. I’ve begun auditioning actors. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Think about it. Journey to a Different Dimension is written for a target audience of 9-14 year old kids. To make matters more complicated, the major characters include two tween aged boys and one tween aged girl. That means that an actor must be able to use inflection to differentiate each character. I’ve received lists of actors that include boys and girls, teenaged boys and girls, and men and women in their twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties. So, one key issue I’m grappling with is what kind of voice kids would enjoy the most.

It’s amazing the power voices have over us. I served as Research Director at Computer Intelligence, a company that had a large call center. We kept detailed records and surveyed our callers. We found that men would listen to women with Southern accents no matter what they were selling because they loved the accent. Conversely, both men and women hated to listen to people with New Jersey accents and labeled such people as “hard” and “dishonest.” Most people labeled men with Southern accents as dumb and uneducated. I’m sure if we had surveyed Southern customers, their reaction would have been different.

My point is that we react to voices in very strong ways. I’m going nuts trying to cull my list of potential actors. The market will decide if I’ve made the right decision.