Monday, August 8, 2016

Another Very Entertaining Legal Thriller from John Lescroart

The sixteenth entry in John Lescroart's series featuring lawyer Dismas Hardy and homicide detective Abe Glitsky marks something of a turning point in the series. One of the pleasures of reading these books through the years has been watching the respective families of the two main characters evolve. Over time, we've come to know their wives and children almost as well as we know Hardy and Glitsky.

Many of those children that we have watched growing up are now young adults, including Hardy's daughter, Rebecca, or "The Beck" as he has called from from the time she was a small child. The Beck is now an attorney herself and has just joined her father's firm. By an act of coincidence, she becomes acquainted with a young man named Greg Treadway. Treadway is a school teacher and also volunteers as a court-appointed advocate for foster children.

Treadway and Rebecca meet one night in her father's bar. (Hardy owns half interest in the bar and moonlights a couple nights a week tending bar, simply because he enjoys it.) While the two are sitting there getting acquainted, a news story appears on the television noting that a seventeen-year-old African-American woman named Tanya Morgan has died. Either she has jumped, accidentally fallen or been pushed from overpass into traffic.

Treadway is stunned. The young woman is one of the girls for whom he is an advocate and he and Tanya had dinner together only hours before her death. The Beck insists that he call the police and offer whatever information he can. Naturally, he does. But when the police find inconsistencies in Treadway's story, they arrest him for murder and suddenly Rebecca Hardy finds herself defending him on the murder charge.

It's the first homicide case she's ever handled and, as nervous as she naturally is, her father is even more nervous for her. John Lescroart is famous for writing great courtroom scenes and this case is no exception. A picky reviewer might point out that no law firm worth its salt would probably ever allow a fresh young attorney like The Beck to handle his or her own murder trial alone, but the fact that she's allowed to do so heightens the tension. (The alleged reason is that Treadway can't afford to pay to have Dismas Hardy sitting as second chair.) As usual in these books, there are a lot of political machinations going on in the background and there's a fair amount of wry humor.

It's a great read, and one that will appeal to virtually anyone who enjoys a well-drafted legal thriller. And while it's nice to see The Beck get her moment in the sun, I do hope that in the next installment her father will have the opportunity to be back in court.

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