This is the first I've read of this series, so I haven't followed the character development, but the combination of old friends, lawyer and cop, give us two points of view as the case develops. This one concerns a 17 year old from a wealthy family, accused of murdering his girlfriend and their teacher/acting coach.
Those of us who have reveled in the discovery of this author and his Dismas Hardy/Abe Glitsky novels have been with these two old friends for a long time and through some hair raising and heart breaking times. Hardy, who once was a San Francisco cop is now the managing partner of his San Francisco law firm. Glitsky who was a homicide detective for the SFPD is now a Deputy Chief. Yet, for all their lofty current positions, they are dragged into a compelling drama by the events that are going on around them.
Amy Wu is an associate in Hardy's firm. She is dealing the the four month old death of her father by looking for love in all the wrong places when she receives a call from a wealthy couple who's son she has represented in a minor juvenile matter to inform her that "Andrew is in trouble again." That, it turns out, is an understatement.
It seems that Andrew was rehearsing for the school play with the teacher who was directing the play and with his girlfriend. The play is "Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf." Andrew and his girlfriend have the leads. While taking a break from rehearsing, Andrew takes a break to go for a walk to work on his lines. When he returns he finds them both shot to death.
Two months later the police have decided to charge him with murder. His parents (actually Mom and Step-Dad) are horrified. "He said he didn't do it," says Mom. "I know he didn't do it." ..."Andrew is not that type of person."
After reviewing the police evidence Amy Wu is not so sure. It turns out that in the past Andrew expressed jealosy of Mr. Mooney, the teacher and his relationship with his girlfriend. He even wrote a short story entitled "Perfect Killer" in which he details how a young man who is jealous of his girlfriend and a teacher plots to murder them and how he does it in such a way as to avoid guilt. He shares the story with his best friend at school. He even starts to bring his step father's gun to school with him in a knapsack. Then there is the yelling and arguing that those living over Mr. Mooney's apartment hear along with crashing and banging down below. When they look out of the window to see what is happening, the husband sees a person he later idetifies as Andrew fleeing the apartment. He then goes down and discovers the vitims. Doesn't look so good for Andrew.
Especially after the police find a spent 9mm shell in his car. Especially after he admits to throwing the gun he had been carrying around off the Golden Gate Bridge.
In fact, it looks so bad to Amy that she tries to get him to plead guilty to the offense as a juvenile. He will be in jail for only eight years under California law if convicted as a juvenile. She convinces the parents that this is the best way to go and she convinces herself. The one little detail that she fails to cover is convincing her client. Her next error is to tell the Assistant DA that he will plead before she has gotten that nailed down. It all becomes unraveled in juvenile court as the client maintains his innocense and Ms. Wu quickly finds herself in the cross hairs of an angry judge and a furious district attorney. The matter is quickly calendared for a hearing on whether he should be tried as a juvenile or an adult and the outcome looks forgone. Her client, instead of facing eight years will likely be facing life.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Glitsky is having his own problems with his new job and is embroiled with a high profile decision not to take a known murderer off a bus, but to wait until the passengers disembark and arrest him then. Quick and easy. Except the target smells the police and takes the passengers hostage, killing several before his demands for a helicopter and transportaion are met. He is killed by a sniper on the way to the copter, but the media is merciless in pursuing the matter.
As a part of his job, Glitsky becomes aware of a murder where a woman without an enemy in the world is gunned down as she answers her front door. The husband is the only possible suspect, but that is going nowhere. Glitsky decides to talk to him and is also convinced that the husband is innocent. The only thing out of the ordinary that the woman ever did in her life was be a part of a jury many years ago who had convicted a person for murder.
Shortly thereafter, the District Attorney is found murdered in the parking lot outside of his office.
Dismas Hardy feels that he is responsible for the mess that Amy Wu has created by failing to mentor her properly and decides to sit "second chair" in the deternmination hearing that has been ordered to go forward in five days.
To tell more about the story line would be to spoil the fun of reading a master story teller at the top of his game. Suffice it to say that the stories converge and the ending is all that a reader of this type of novel could ask for. I look forward to Lescroat's novels and if you have not discovered him yet, it is high time you did.
Although he seems to have reached the top of his illustrious law career, Dismas Hardy has lost faith in the legal system. When his young associate, Amy Wu, brings in a high profile, double murder case, he decides to set second chair - in defense of a wealthy, privileged young man, even he has trouble believing.
Hardy has to face his own demons in order to clear his client and save himself.
As with other authors I like, I have accumulated most of what John Lescroart has written, and have tried to read them in the order published. His first two books, fairly rare and out in trade paperback reprints rather than mass market, take place in Europe, and are not very good (I've even forgotten the titles), but he hit paydirt when he started writing the Dismas Hardy books, which all take place in the San Francisco area.
This one starts off a little slowly, and I almost lost interest, but perseverance was rewarded further along as he hit his stride. The book has an exciting conclusion which I won't spoil for you. Lescroart has followed Dismas Hardy's adventures for years, and added new charachters to the series as it procedes. This book introduces a female attorney, Amy Wu, who works at Hardy's law firm and is having a little trouble getting it together due to personal problems. Hardy himself is also fighting an emotional hangover, the aftermath of events described in his last book "The First Law", which he never really explains.
Authors do a disservice to their readers when they don't make their books more "stand-alone". This is partly why this book only gets 3 stars - some of his earlier books ("Dead Irish" in particular, the first Dismas Hardy book) were worth 4 or maybe even 5 stars.
This is another excellently written book by Lescroart. The plot, the characters and the writing are all first-rate. For those who enjoy court procedurals, police procedurals, mysteries and plain great writing I recommend this one. Paul C. (pablo guitarist)
To the outside world it looks like Dismas Hardy is finally on top. A managing partner at this thriving newly reorgnized law firm, he's a rain-maker and fix-it guy for clients leery of taking chances in a courtroom - But, what the world sees is a mirage. For beneath the surface bravado and the lucritive dealmaking, Hardy has lost his faith in the law.
Now Hardy's young associate, Amy Wu, suddenly rootless and grieving over the recent death of her father brings the firm a high profile and challenging case: Andrew Bartlett, the 17 year old son of a prominant San Francisco family, has been arrested for the double slaying of his girlfriend and his English teacher. The D.A. wants to try him as an adult, but Wu cuts a deal to keep him in Juvenile court - A deal that she's forced to break.
I loved this book ! The characters were so believable, and the reader was able to put themselves into the situations, and contimplate how they would handle the situation and if the reader agreed or not with decisions made by the characters. Plus you really want to know what happens.
Dismas Hardy sits second chair to his young associate Amy Wu to salvage his firm's reputation and help defend the life of a seventeen-year-old son of a prominent San Francisco family, through mounting evidence against their client. With very little belief in his young client's innocence and even less in the legal system, Hardy first has to conquer his own demons if he is to clear his client and save himself.
Although he appears to have reached the top, Dismas Hardy, maanging partner of the thriving San Franscico law firm, has lost his faith in justice. When a young associate brings in a high profile, double murder case, he decides to sit second chair, in defense of a wealthy, privileged young man even he has trouble believing.
Attorney Dismas Hardy and his friend Abe Glitsky, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Bureau, are dealing with mental sequelae from their participation in a murder (in a previous book), which is beginning to have physical effects on both of them. Hardy steps in as second chair to his associate Amy Wu in a murder case involving 17-year-old Andrew Bartlett while Glitsky is kept busy trying to hunt down a serial killer nicknamed The Executioner. Both moving down separate avenues which eventually meet.
John Lescroart is a mainstay in the courtroom thriller arena and once more delivers an interesting, provocative read. Although it was disconcerting the manner in which Amy Wu assumed her client's guilt and pushed hard for him to cut a deal with the DA, I'm sure this is something fairly common in our legal system. Recommended for those readers who love a good thriller.
From Publishers Weekly: "Lescroart starts slowly and takes too much time building reader interest in this latest addition to his acclaimed San Francisco legal suspense series featuring lawyer Dismas Hardy and cop pal Abe Glitsky (The First Law, The Oath, The Hearing). Dismas is firmly ensconced at the top of his flourishing law firm, and Abe has been made deputy chief of investigations, but neither man really enjoys his exalted executive status. Dismas, who seldom finds himself in a real courtroom these days, has become a high-priced legal fixer who takes meetings, goes to lunch and drinks too much, while Abe yearns for the intellectual challenge and physical thrills of a good murder investigation. Dismas's up-and-coming associate, Amy Wu, lands a case defending Andrew North, a troubled 17-year-old who's been arrested for murdering his girlfriend and high school drama coach. In an attempt to have him tried as a juvenile rather than an adult, Amy commits the inexplicable error of admitting her client's guilt to the district attorney before even speaking to the accused teenager. After this egregious blunder, Dismas joins his normally stellar associate as "second chair" in the trial and manages to rescue the case and shake his own disillusionment with the legal system. While readers new to the series might feel a bit left behind (Lescroart spends too much time referring to events in past books, particularly The First Law), old fans and those who persevere will be rewarded with a compassionate look at life's vicissitudes and a thorny multiple murder case."
From AudioFile: "This latest Dismas Hardy/Abe Glitsky legal thriller presents a lot of change in the series. After the death of his mentor, Hardy, formerly a dedicated sole practitioner, has become a managing partner of a larger law firm. Glitsky is having problems of his own in his new elevated role as deputy chief of investigations..."
From Publishers Weekly
Lescroart starts slowly and takes too much time building reader interest in this latest addition to his acclaimed San Francisco legal suspense series featuring lawyer Dismas Hardy and cop pal Abe Glitsky (The First Law, The Oath, The Hearing). Dismas is firmly ensconced at the top of his flourishing law firm, and Abe has been made deputy chief of investigations, but neither man really enjoys his exalted executive status. Dismas, who seldom finds himself in a real courtroom these days, has become a high-priced legal fixer who takes meetings, goes to lunch and drinks too much, while Abe yearns for the intellectual challenge and physical thrills of a good murder investigation. Dismas's up-and-coming associate, Amy Wu, lands a case defending Andrew North, a troubled 17-year-old who's been arrested for murdering his girlfriend and high school drama coach. In an attempt to have him tried as a juvenile rather than an adult, Amy commits the inexplicable error of admitting her client's guilt to the district attorney before even speaking to the accused teenager. After this egregious blunder, Dismas joins his normally stellar associate as "second chair" in the trial and manages to rescue the case and shake his own disillusionment with the legal system. While readers new to the series might feel a bit left behind (Lescroart spends too much time referring to events in past books, particularly The First Law), old fans and those who persevere will be rewarded with a compassionate look at life's vicissitudes and a thorny multiple murder case.