Saturday, June 16, 2012

This is another entry in John Lescroart's long-running series featuring San Franciso attorney Dismas Hardy and the head of the city PD's homicide squad, Abe Glitsky, although in this book Hardy makes only a couple of token appearances.

The book focuses instead on Glitsky and on Wes Farrell, another member of the cast who has been a partner in Hardy's law practice. Farrell has just been elected District Attorney with the backing of the super-wealthy Curtlee family, owners and publishers of one of the city's major newspapers. Ten years earlier, the Curtlee's son, Ro, was convicted and sentenced to prison for rape and homicide. Now his conviction has been overturned on appeal and he must stand trial again.

The Curtlees appeal to Farrell, asking that he not oppose bail which would allow Ro to be released until he is tried a second time. Farrell, who is still feeling his way into the job, makes no promises. He personally believes that Ro should remain in prison and knows that he could make a back-channel contact with the judge that would assure this. But he believes, perhaps naively, that this is the judge's prerogative and that he will do the right thing.

The judge, though, sets bail at $10,000,000 and the Curtlees post it. But no sooner is Ro back on the streets than one of the principal witnesses against him is brutally murdered. It soon becomes apparent that Ro is a menace to society and that he should never have been allowed the opportunity to make bail.

Farrell and Glitsky very badly want him back in prison where he belongs, but there is no hard evidence to support their suspicions against him. Complicating matters is the fact that Ro's parents use the very large megaphone of their newspaper to defend their son and to portray any police interest in him as brutality.

This is a gripping book that poses the question of how far the police and the D.A. can stretch the boundaries of the law to apprehend someone they are certain poses a threat to society when they have no solid evidence to back up their suppositions. As is the case with a lot of Lescroart's books, you don't want to start it on an evening when you think you're going to want to get to bed early.

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