cover image The Gods of Guilt

The Gods of Guilt

Michael Connelly. Little, Brown, $28 (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-06951-9

Edgar-winner Connelly's fifth novel featuring Mickey Haller (aka "the Lincoln Lawyer"), the L.A. defense attorney who uses a Lincoln town car as a mobile office, opens with a brilliantly staged bit of legal maneuvering, but the real action begins in chapter three: Andre La Cosse, a high-tech pimp, is charged with murdering one of his clients, Giselle Dallinger, a prostitute who turns out to be known to Haller as Gloria Dayton, from 2005's The Lincoln Lawyer. The case is fishy, and Haller's crew goes to work: investigator Cisco Wojciechowski, case manager Lorna Taylor, associate Jennifer Aronson, and driver Earl Briggs. Haller's strategy is not to uncover the truth but to develop a credible alternative theory of the crime, and the investigation that follows is like a police procedural seen from the other side of the criminal justice world. In the climactic courtroom scene, Haller appeals directly to the members of the jury, "the gods of guilt" of the title. While readers will learn little that is new about Haller's complex backstory (mostly involving his estranged daughter), they will find plenty of drama, danger, and suspense in this gem of a legal thriller. Agent: Philip Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary. (Dec.)