The Gods of Guilt

[Amazon Link]

Continuing on the Michael Connelly project: this book brings us up to 2013! I'm still a little concerned that I'm not reading them as fast as Connelly is writing them. Oh well.

This is a Mickey Haller (aka the "Lincoln Lawyer") novel; his half-brother Harry Bosch makes a brief cameo. Mickey is at a personal low point. His daughter despises him for defending a drunk driver that went on to kill one of her friends. His ex-wife is pretty pissed about that too. He was defeated in his bid to be elected District Attorney. So it's back to his normal work, defending generally less-then-admirable people for crimes which they often actually committed. And he skates right up to (probably over) the edge of ethics and law in doing so.

(It's a tribute to Connelly's writing ability that Mickey remains a likeable character.)

But the main story here is the defense of a "digital pimp" accused of killing one of his prostitutes. He designs and maintains their "escort service" websites, and gets a cut of each, um, service fee. I must admit this path to riches did not occur to me when I was in the website game.

Irony: the pimp hires Mickey because he came recommended by the murder victim; Mickey defended her years back (and Mickey had thought she'd left the profession). The pimp maintains his innocence, but that's not too important to Mickey; can he come up with an alternate theory that might trigger reasonable doubt in a jury?

This is Connelly at his storytelling finest. I usually read at a reasonable pace, scheduling a few dozen pages a day. I ripped through this one like a madman, eager to find out what happens next.

Last Modified 2017-06-27 11:07 AM EST

URLs du Jour


■ I'm not sure what to make of Proverbs 24:15-16:

15 Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous,
    do not plunder their dwelling place;
16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
    but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

So the bottom line is: rob the wicked, it's easier? That can't be right. Or is it?

■ We've posted a number of links with the opposite opinion, but in the interest of equal time, here's David Harsany at the Federalist: The GOP Senate Health Care Bill Isn’t Great, But It’s Better Than Obamacare.

If Republican leadership had told conservatives in 2013 that they could pass a bill that would eliminate the individual and employer mandates, phase out Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, cut an array of taxes, and lay out the conditions for full repeal later, I imagine most would have said “Sign me up!” Especially if they contemplated the only other viable option: ziltch.

I'm trying very hard to care about this, and not having very much luck. In theory, I'd get behind any bill that might move the country toward a free market in health care, but that seems to be not in the cards.

■ Prof Don Boudreaux opines on the new book purporting to study the Nobel prize winning scholar James Buchanan, and deems it Fiction

As is true of GMU Econ alum Dan Mitchell, I haven’t yet read Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.  And I’m unlikely to do so any time soon, for what I’ve read and heard about it, this book is a work of fiction masquerading as a work of non-fiction.  MacLean, I gather, tries to show that the scholarship of my late Nobel laureate colleague, Jim Buchanan, somehow fueled efforts by right-wing plutocrats to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses.

Prof Boudreaux further demolishes MacLean's argument. It's interesting.

■ At Heat Street, Emily Zanotti reports: Chicago Gay Pride Bans ‘Jewish Pride’ Flag Over ‘Safety Concerns’.

Members of a Jewish LGBT group in Chicago were said they were insulted and confused after Chicago Pride parade organizers said their “Jewish Pride” flag—a rainbow banner with the Star of David—made other marchers feel “unsafe.”

When you're on the left, some issues trump others.

@kevinNR writes on Civil Asset Forfeiture: Where Due Process Goes to Die:

Current asset-forfeiture practice, like much that is wrong with U.S. law enforcement, has its roots in the so-called war on drugs. The practice of seizing assets is ancient: It dates back at least to 17th-century maritime law, under which ships illegally transporting goods would be seized, along with the contraband inside. Asset forfeiture was used against bootleggers during Prohibition, but it really came into its own in the Reagan era, when the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 empowered federal and local law-enforcement agencies to take property from drug kingpins for their own use. The sudden, unlikely inventory of exotic cars and yachts possessed by law-enforcement agencies inspired that great cultural document of the 1980s: Miami Vice.

The practice was also the premise for a season-five story arc on Justified. But that's about the best that can be said for it. (Season Five was widely considered to be the worst season, even so it was still better than 95% of the dreck on TV.)

There's a long quote from Clarence Thomas in Kevin's article, so you'll want to read that.