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.

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