The announcement of a new novel by John Lescroart is a cause for celebration. Each and every one of his novels is a study in the power of the written word and the magic a truly engrossing story can weave. Most of his novels center around a lawyer in San Francisco by the name of Dismas Hardy. Usually Abe Glitsky, Dismas' best friend and the San Francisco Chief of Police, is also involved. In Lescroart's new novel Damage, Abe is front and center while Dismas is reduced to a cameo appearance.
This book investigates the effect powerful, moneyed people can have on the law and its implementation. In San Francisco the Curtlees are powerful people. They own a newspaper and they have much wealth at their disposal. Their son Ro was accused of rape and murder and sentenced to life in prison. Now thanks to his parents that sentence has been set aside on a technicality and a new trial ordered.
Having made bail he is now free to walk the streets of San Francisco. Abe Glitsky is one of those who thinks he should be back in prison and he begins a campaign to get that accomplished. Meanwhile two new murders occur. One is a woman who testified against Ro at his earlier trial and the other is the wife of the man who was the head of the jury which convicted Ro.
The District Attorney, the prosecuting attorney and Abe all think Ro is responsible for these murders. Still getting others to believe them is difficult. The race against time begins as they attempt to get Ro back in prison before other lives are lost.
The beauty of Lescroart's writing is he knows San Francisco; he knows the justice system; and he knows these characters that live within his pages. There is no hesitation in his telling of this story, not one false step, not one awkward situation that doesn't fit into the overall framework of the plot. You read it like you are eating your favorite dessert. You savor the richness of his words and you smile with delight as all of the pieces come together.
John Lescroart's writing skills are a national treasure. Book after book shows the extent of his talent and the number of his devoted readers continue to rise. If you have not yet discovered the genius of Lescroart let Damage be the book to being you into the fold.
There are other good authors writing today but few equal Lescroart's works in overall enjoyment, and few can match his consistency. He doesn't just do a good job on one book; he does a good job on them all.
Damage is published by Dutton. It contains 416 pages and sells for $26.95.
Jackie K. Cooper can be reached at JackieCooper.com