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A lively discussion was had by all on Monday as we met to talk about Michael Connelly’s latest Lincoln Lawyer installment (book #5 in the series), The Gods of Guilt. We also had many a moment of silence for our dearly departed Earl, but I will get to that shortly. First, the book.

Mickey Haller was back as semi-crooked lawyer for the defense. The book opened on one of Mickey’s signature moves when his client attacked him in court and we found out that it was staged. Just when you think he’s on the side of ethics… bam, he gets his client to punch him in the nose to get a new trial. After that incident, Mickey gets a new client. He’s a pimp of sorts, who manages the online presence as well as sets up appointments for prostitutes. He is charged with murdering one of his clients, and when Mickey realizes who has been killed it’s a blast from the past. Gloria Dayton, who Mickey knew a lifetime ago as Glory Days, has been murdered and she told Mickey’s new client that he was to contact Mickey if he ever got into trouble.

Mickey not only takes the case, but begins his own investigation into Glory’s most recent past. He uncovers a cover-up of sorts. He finds out that a powerful drug dealer was sent to prison based on planted evidence, that Glory was the one who planted it, and that she was under instructions from a DEA investigator. All of this, of course, leads to Mickey getting his client off, a cop stabbing himself to death in the courtroom while on the stand, and the hanging and burning of the DEA agent. In that order. Not a bad few months’ work for Mickey. Especially the hanging and burning.

Many of us were confused at the start of this book because it mentioned events that we hadn’t read about, specifically Mickey losing his run for DA and his daughter’s estrangement. I thought we must have missed one of the books, but it appears that we didn’t miss a book. The author mentioned the events that had taken place in between books, but they were never included in one. He must not have wanted to write about Mickey’s run for DA, but I thought that the part where he got a drunk driver off, only to have that person get drunk again and kill the friend of Mickey’s daughter (which led to their estrangement) was a bit much to have happened off stage.

The good news was that we didn’t miss a book and are right on track. Regardless of that fact, many Crime and Beyonders did note that this was one of the weaker Haller installments. We still had a very high average rating, which I will get to in a minute, but it wasn’t our favorite. I guess the worst Michael Connelly is still better than the best _________ (insert any author’s name here).

There were 18 ratings given for the book. The vast majority were scores of 7 or 8 (eight people for an 8 and five people for a 7). There were three 9s and one 10, woohoo, you go Ashley. This was Ashely’s first Mickey Haller book, so we gained a fan and she gained a new series to read. Win-Win I think. I think it’s safe to say that we all enjoyed the book. Not all comments were good, we managed to critique a few things that Mr. Connelly did that we didn’t necessarily appreciate, but we also had some great things to say.

It was an easy read, fun and humorous. Except for Earl……moment of silence…..ok. We liked Mickey’s clip on ties in case a client grabs on to try and choke him. Also that he was dating a recovering prostitute. We’re all recovering from something, I guess. The interactions with Legal Segal were great, especially when Mickey sneaked him food. We liked that Mickey pointed out things like – stand to the judge’s left because people are more agreeable with people on their left, and the fact that Mickey presented his whole case to the Alpha juror because he knew she could control the whole group. We also liked that in the book the movie The Lincoln Lawyer was mentioned and because of it, a ton of other lawyers were being driven around in Lincolns. Mickey even got into the wrong one once or twice. He would have Earl, a moment of silence for Earl………ok, pop the trunk for him so he knew which was his as he approached.

I think the death of Earl was one major issue we had. A moment of silence for Earl………ok. We were very bummed to lose Earl, as many of us really liked his character. I think the fact that he died because Cisco and Mickey left the tracker on added to the issues we had. I’m sure that Mickey feels guilty that he played that part in Earl’s death, and will have to deal with it moving forward.

We thought it was a bit lame that Mickey didn’t read the postcard’s postmark to notice that it wasn’t sent from Hawaii until after Gloria was killed. The fact that Cisco gave Mickey the heroine to hang on to never came back around. It kind of fizzled out, and we were a bit disappointed. Sharon K. didn’t like Mickey’s slimy act from the beginning where he had his client punch him. And it took her awhile to like him again as the book continued.

Dave did a great job of leading and had a few trivia questions that he threw out. Since I answered one correctly (I didn’t say it was the first one, Jeff) He gave me a prize: a box of chocolates. Yum, we all enjoyed that! Thanks Dave. He didn’t want to do a slap vote, but we did do a quick “favorite character” vote. Legal Segal got the most votes (remember that I listen to the books on audio so I don’t know how these names are spelled). Cisco got quite a few and so did Bullocks, because we like where her name came from and how determined she is.

Kim brought crack cookies and I gained 3 lbs. Business as usual.

I thought it was interesting that a couple of people read the ebook and it contained an alternate ending. In it, Marco, the DEA agent, and the cop shoot each other in court.

My favorite quotes from the meeting, or as I like to call this segment: Did ya hear?

Linda: “Had I read it, I would have loved it.”

Raj: “Why is Mickey so poor? He was paid with gold bars!”

Amy: and this is what I have written by her name but I don’t remember her saying it, “newby lawyer, you are an ass.” I have no idea what I write down sometimes, but I liked the quote and it sounded like something Amy would say. I think it was referring to the kid whose father was directing him from prison.

Judy: “I’m tired of the courtroom crap, but once I got into it, I liked it.”

Great book, great meeting. Rest in Peace Earl. Until March. We are reading Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. There weren’t a ton of books, so when you’re finished please return it to our shelf and email us all to let us know there is a copy available. For the discussion, Jose will lead and Sharon K. will bring snacks. See you then.