courtroom drama

Most successful crime writers develop a single hero who becomes the protagonist of a series of novels. Few authors have two who exist in autonomous (if overlapping) universes. However, Michael Connelly has pulled it off with half-brothers Hieronymous (Harry) Bush, a grumpy LAPD detective, and Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer of an earlier Connelly novel and a film of the same name.

Haller takes center stage again in The Gods of Guilt, his sixth outing since his debut in 2005. (Bosch stars in an older series, now 16 strong, having first appeared in 1992 in The Black Echo.)

Still working from the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, Haller takes on the case of an Internet-Age pimp accused of killing one of the women he manages. Naturally, Haller determines that the pimp, whatever else he may be, is no murderer, and the resulting courtroom drama — one of the most engaging I’ve ever read — forms the setting for the brilliant attorney’s methodical way to prove who really did the deed, and why.

The Gods of Guilt (Mickey Haller #5) by Michael Connelly ★★★★☆

Michael Connelly’s talent for revealing the intricacies of police procedure and the treacherous politics of life within the LAPD is matched by his skill in laying bare the tricks of the courtroom trade. Quite apart from its suspenseful story line and well-hewn characters, The Gods of Guilt is fascinating as a study of the complex cat-and-mouse game the lawyers play with each other, with judge and jury as bystanders.

Oh, and by the way: it’s the members of the jury who are “the gods of guilt.” Why? Read the novel.

For additional reading

For an excellent example of Michael Connelly’s writing about Mickey Haller’s half-brother, Harry Bosch, see Michael Connelly’s best Harry Bosch novel?

This is one of 17 fascinating courtroom dramas reviewed.

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