The Gods of Guilt,
by Michael Connelly (Allen & Unwin, RRP $37):
This was my first encounter with the very popular “legal-thriller” genre and so I had no reference point against which to compare it.
After reading The Gods of Guilt, I doubt that it will be my last encounter.
The main character is Mickey Haller, an LA-based defence attorney who comes with the usual “baggage” of two failed marriages, a penchant for alcohol and a Machiavellian view of the law which he justifies by the assertion that “judicial discretion is a big tent”.
In addition to this, his practice is not thriving and his office is the back seat of his Lincoln automobile.
Haller has to use all his legal skills in the defence of a client accused of murdering one of his former clients. In the process he becomes involved with the LA underworld involving prostitution, drug cartels and corrupt enforcement officers
Connelly manages to keep the plot (which is not unduly complex) moving along whilst, at the same time, adding depth to the characters and including helpful details of the machinations of the United States legal and justice systems.
A cracking good read and I thoroughly recommend it.