The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

January 29, 2014

gods of guilt Plot summary (from the publisher): Mickey Haller gets the text, “Call me ASAP — 187,” and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game.

When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow path, he knows he is on the hook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life. Far from saving her, Mickey may have been the one who put her in danger.

Haunted by the ghosts of his past, Mickey must work tirelessly and bring all his skill to bear on a case that could mean his ultimate redemption or proof of his ultimate guilt.

Warning: Spoilers below!


  • I like Haller’s team, so the best scenes for me were the ones taking place in the makeshift office where everyone gathered for the staff meetings. Obviously it’s going be different without Earl there anymore, but as a reader all I can do is hope Connelly comes up with a fresh, new driver to inject some life into the series.


  • Haller taking up with a former prostitute struck me as completely disgusting. He thinks his relationship with his daughter is effed up now? Wait til he introduces her to his new girlfriend.
  • Was Glory Days a character introduced in a previous book? Was Lankford? I couldn’t tell if I was supposed to remember these people or if Connelly just created these past relationships for the sole purpose of plotting this book. It was kind of distracting having to wonder the whole time if I was missing some major connection revealed in a different novel.
  • There weren’t any twists or turns in the court case, which made it pretty boring. The only unexpected incident was the defendant getting beaten up and taken to the hospital, but I would hardly call that a twist. Just a means of accelerating the action.
  • Haller was insufferably smug and unlikable in this one. I hate how he’s portrayed as always being two steps ahead of the prosecution and how he’s forever nodding/congratulating himself on his strategies playing out perfectly in court. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a smart protagonist, but Haller is supposed to be just one step above an ambulance-chaser, right? He was never supposed to be the hotshot, gotta-have-him defense attorney known for always winning the unwinnable cases. Bring back the original characterization!
  • The phrase “gods of guilt” struck me as incredibly cheesy right from the start, and I cringed every time it was used in this book — especially when Haller directly addressed the jury as such and explained the meaning.
  • The middle of the story was terribly slow and repetitive. I put the book aside for several weeks because there was nothing compelling me to finish.


I used to really enjoy the Mickey Haller series, and thought that the character and stories were even superior to the Bosch books in many ways. But now I’m not so sure. Hopefully The Gods of Guilt was just an aberration, and the next Haller installment will be back up to par. As for this one, I give it 2 stars out of 5.

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