Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lescroart's newest delivers on suspense

I've been a fan of suspense writer John Lescroart for years. His Dismas Hardy/Abe Glitsky series contains all the ingredients of a great story: well-developed, likable characters who share multi-faceted relationships; interesting crimes twisted up in unpredictable ways; and dry, sarcastic humor.

Dismas Hardy is a defense attorney in San Francisco. He has an interesting past that I won't reveal because I heartily encourage the reading of the early volumes in this series. He has a knack, though, for defending clients that you want to believe (most of the time) are innocent, but who you can also believe are guilty of the crimes they're charged with. Working your way through the legal puzzles is always fun with Lescroart.

Abe Glitsky is (now) a lieutenant in the San Francisco police force and is best friends with Hardy. See the potential conflicts there already? How much do they tell each other about the case they share - albeit on opposite sides? Glitsky is a man of few words, but you always want to listen when he talks.

In Lescroart's newest novel in this series, A PLAGUE OF SECRETS, Hardy takes a case representing a socialite accused of murder. She owns a successful coffee shop on the corner of Haight and Ashbury but becomes the target of a police investigation when the shop's manager is discovered shot to death in the alley behind the business. To make matters worse, it comes to light that the manager had been selling pot - lots of it - out of the shop and had been blackmailing the owner. She had opportunity and motive - even Hardy comes to believe his client is guilty.

The criminal puzzle in PLAGUE is exactly what I've come to expect - and love - about Lescroart's books. It's original and kept me guessing throughout the whole story ... suspense at its best. (I was amazed, too, at the rights the federal government has - at how easily it can lay claim to our possessions, our lives.)

The only small disappointment for me was I wanted a little more time with Hardy and Glitzky. I keep coming back to Lescroart's books because I love those characters, and I miss them in between novels. Glitzky's family goes through a major trauma in PLAGUE, but even with that, we don't spend as much time with them as I'd like. There's not as much interaction between the two men as I've grown accustomed to, and it left me wanting.

Other than that, the novel was great. If you're already a fan of Lescroart's, you definitely want to pick this one up. The criminal story is excellent and you'll want to read about what happens with Abe. If you're new to Lescroart, go grab DEAD IRISH - the first in the series - and get busy reading!

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