Rule of Law
by Lescroart, John T.

"In "master of the legal thriller" (Chicago Sun-Times) John Lescroart's electrifying new novel, attorney Dismas Hardy is called to defend the least likely suspect of his career: his longtime, trusted assistant who is suddenly being charged as an accessory to murder. Dismas Hardy knows something is amiss with his trusted secretary, Phyllis. Her out-of-character behavior and sudden disappearances concern Hardy, especially when he learns that her convict brother-a man who had served twenty-five years in prison for armed robbery and attempted murder-has just been released. Things take a shocking turn with Phyllis is suddenly arrested at work for allegedly being an accessory to the murder of Hector Valdez, a coyote who'd been smuggling women into this country from El Salvador and Mexico. That is, until recently, when he was shot to death-on the very same day that Phyllis first disappeared from work. The connection between Phyllis, her brother, and Hector's murder is not something Dismas can easily understand, but if his cherished colleague has any chance of going free, he needs to put all the pieces together-and fast. Proving that he is truly "one of the best thriller writers to come down the pike" (USA TODAY), John Lescroart crafts yet another whip-smart, engrossing novel filled with shocking twists and turns that will keep you on your toes until the very last page"-

No-nonsense lawyer Dismas Hardy returns in this excellent thriller. When Hardy's longtime secretary, Phyllis, leaves work one day with no explanation, appears to vanish into thin air, and then returns to the office as though nothing has happened, Dismas is pretty sure something unusual is going on. When Phyllis is arrested and charged as an accessory to murder, he knows there's trouble afoot. Although this isn't exactly a new story-plenty of literary law-enforcement types have labored to prove someone close to them is innocent of trumped-up charges-Lescroart builds a solid case against Phyllis, one that neither Dismas nor the reader can easily ignore. Lescroart's novels are known as much for their abundantly human characters as they are for their rigorously plotted stories, and this one is a showcase for both of those attributes. Also impressive is the way Lescroart has kept his long-running series fresh by allowing Dismas to grow over the years. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Lescroart is a certifiable A-lister. His series entries and stand-alones always draw a crowd. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Defense attorney Dismas Hardy's long streak of getting along with everyone on both sides of the courtroom ends with a whimper when his friend Wes Farrell loses his campaign for re-election as district attorney of San Francisco to a rising star who wastes no time changing the rules. Trouble begins quietly enough, with the sudden, unprecedented absence of Hardy's secretary, Phyllis McGowan, from the office. When she returns a few days later, she assures Hardy (Poison, 2018, etc.) that everything's fine. But her arrest as accessory to the murder of thief/extortionist/pimp Hector Valdez says different. It turns out that (1) Phyllis has a younger brother, Adam, she's never mentioned (small wonder, since until six weeks ago he was doing time for armed robbery); (2) she's been serving as one of the conductors on a modern-day Underground Railroad that helps shelter undocumented people from U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement; and (3) Celia Montoya, one of the most recent clients she sheltered from both Hector and the feds, has been arrested for killing Hector. Hardy could have sprung Phyllis from jail in an hour while Farrell was in the office, but new D.A. Ron Jameson, stung by Hardy's support of Farrell, is determined to give him a hard time at every turn, and it isn't long before Hardy, announcing, "I want him stopped," is returning his salvos in kind. It would be bad enough if Jameson were only hard-nosed and hostile, but he's hiding a secret that would be death to his political aspirations: Both he and his wife, Kate, have committed murder. Since Hardy is cherishing some long-standing secrets of his own, the story becomes a race to see which of them can pry the other's skeletons out of the closet first in order to pre-emptively neutralize any counterattack. Lescroart plots so cleverly that he has you believing his split-level thriller is really a single foreshortened novel. The perfect read for those who agree that "it's only trouble if somebo d y's shooting at you." Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

The Rule of Law


AFTER YOU MURDER someone, life is never the same.

Ron Jameson found himself thinking about this all the time; he couldn’t get over the before and after differences.

Before, he’d been a hardworking mid-level attorney, billing his mega-hours, fair to both clients and opponents, responsive to his partners, honest to a fault.

Before, he had been a compassionate yet somewhat stern father to his two children, a righteous man who both taught and modeled the importance of respect—for property, for their mother, for other political, social, and religious viewpoints.

Before, he’d lived a circumspect, modestly successful, controlled existence, neither particularly happy nor sad, vaguely content most of the time, occasionally a bit bored, going through the motions.

Before, he’d been half-alive.

That had left the other half.

After he’d murdered the man who’d slept with his wife, it had taken him a while to get his bearings. Most of that time was spent worrying about what would happen if he were caught, about what he would tell his children and his wife. How he could justify himself and what he’d done to those he loved.

Every day he had lived with the constant fear that the police would catch onto him, that in spite of his best efforts he’d left a clue somewhere, key evidence that would convict him. He worried about going to jail, about spending the rest of his life in prison.

He was the sole support of his family; how would they all survive?

After, above all, he worried about how he could have turned into the man who could have actually done what he’d done.

When the police had found the incriminating evidence—a shell casing from the same make and caliber of the gun he’d used—on the boat of Geoff Cooke, his former best friend and partner in the law firm, it had taken him a while to understand. Mystifyingly, Geoff had apparently then used the same weapon to kill himself, which meant that the case was closed.

The police no longer believed that he’d done it. He was no longer a suspect.

It appeared that his law partner had in fact killed the philandering bastard.

When in reality—he came to understand—it had been his wife expertly shifting the blame from him to Geoff, protecting him and their marriage and their family, shooting his law partner and convincingly making it appear to have been a suicide, then planting the incriminating shell on Geoff’s boat.

Which meant that both of them, husband and wife, were killers.

And after you murder someone, life is never the same.

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