The Gods of Guilt, by Michael Connelly. Grand Central. 416 pages. Trade paperback $15.00. Readers who missed the late 2013 hardcover release of this fine addition to the Lincoln Lawyer series can now enjoy the paperback. Before this novel opens, Mickey’s career and personal life have been shattered by poor judgment and worse luck. His reduced circumstances and his fractured relationship with his teenage daughter have left him drinking too much, spying on her from afar, and seeking redemption – as well as paying clients. Now, an internet whiz PR man (read “pimp”) who pays in gold bricks has been charged with the murder of one of his clients.
The murdered woman was a prostitute whom Mickey had cared about and tried to help leave “the life.” The accused, Andre La Cosse, is wasting away in jail while Mickey prepares for his trial. The trial is the book’s heart, along with all the attendant planning and leg work.
You might guess that a man who runs his business from inside of his Lincoln Town Car would not be disposed to pay big rental fees for office space. For Mickey, having access to a spacious, unrented loft in a largely vacant high rise does the trick. His team meetings are delightfully breezy, yet businesslike too. The key support staff consists of one ex-wife (this one is not is daughter’s mother), her muscular husband, a bright and beautiful young woman lawyer who is eager for criminal law action, and the loyal Lincoln driver.
Mr. Connelly‘s descriptions of their interaction is magnificent, the dialogue revealing a group of memorable characters and infectious team spirit. As Mickey questions them, gathers and processes their opinions, and gives them assignments, readers get to see the shared thinking and the decision-making that leads to the defense strategy.
It’s a strategy that will have several twists and turns. Within his description of the courtroom building, its hallways, and the courtroom itself, the author provides an authentic portrait of legal procedure. Mickey’s goals include making facts from another case relevant in this one, having evidence of various kinds accepted into the record, having subpoenas served on witnesses, countering objections from the prosecuting attorney, and developing a positive courtroom relationship with the presiding judge.
Another lawyerly technique involves influencing time management in favor of his case, which means manipulating the timing of lunch recesses or adjournment. On what note does Mickey want the jury members to leave the courtroom for their individual deliberations? Speaking of jurors, Mickey has effectively worked – through eye contact and body language – to forge a positive relationship with a juror whom he feels will be committed to his view and represent it in the jury room. . . .
To read the entire review, as it appears in the July 23, 2014 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the July 24 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Punta Gorda / Port Charlotte editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Gods of Guilt