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Thursday 18 September 2014

Master of US crime returns with fifth Haller adventure

Thriller The Gods of Guilt Michael Connolly Orion, £18.99 Available with free P&P on www.kennys.ie or by calling 091 709350

Myles McWeeney

Published 08/12/2013 | 02:30

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Over a writing career spanning 21 years, Irish American thriller writer Michael Connolly (all eight of his great-grandparents were born in Ireland) has delivered more than 25 bestsellers and sold more than 40 million books.

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His most popular and enduring fictional characters are LAPD detective Hieronymus 'Harry' Bosch, who has headlined 16 stories, and Mickey Haller, a defence lawyer who is known in the LA legal community as 'the Lincoln Lawyer' because he runs his office out of the boot of his Lincoln automobile. Matthew McConaughey played the low-rent Mickey Haller in the movie version of The Lincoln Lawyer.

Bosch and Haller are half-brothers, and are cross-referenced in each of the series.

The Gods of Guilt – the nickname by which many American trial lawyers refer to juries – is the fifth richly imagined Mickey Haller adventure. It begins with Haller receiving a text, 'Call me ASAP – 187.'

The numbers 187 are the California penal code for murder and the sender of the text is his ex-wife and office manager Lorna Taylor.

Instantly intrigued – to defend a murder case you have to be on top of your game as a lawyer and such a trial always delivers a big payday – Haller discovers to his astonishment that the accused man, Andre La Cosse, says that Mickey was actually recommended to him by the woman he is supposed to have murdered.

He soon discovers that the victim is a former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow many years before, who has returned to LA under an assumed name and went back into the business.

It seems that rather that saving her, Haller may have inadvertently put her in harm's way. The more Haller and his investigative team (as interesting a bunch of misfits as you'll find in crime fiction) delve into the background of the case the more fraught with danger their involvement becomes – there are direct links to some of the most dangerous people in the bloodthirsty Mexican drug cartels who have absolutely no compunction in eliminating anyone who threatens their business, and it also appears that there has been a police cover-up in the past.

Almost inevitably, Haller's investigations lead to tragedy and, eventually, a sort of redemption as the final act – one-third of the novel, of this edgy and deftly plotted thriller – is played out on Mickey's favourite stage, in front of his favourite audience, the gods of guilt.

Irish Independent

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