Atria Books, May 2015
John Lescroart has written 25 previous novels, many of them with superb courtroom drama featuring Dismas Hardy. This novel, however, highlights the introduction of his daughter, Becky, just two years out of law school, as the lead attorney in an unusual murder trial which ordinarily would test the talents of the equivalent of an F. Lee Bailey.
The atmosphere in San Francisco where the novel takes place is charged with public and political outcry after the trials of a series of perpetrators of criminal acts against black victims do not result in convictions or, even worse, not even an arrest, much less even finding a suspect. So, when a 17-year-old black female is murdered, the police and DA rush to find a viable suspect and bring him to trial. A chance meeting between Becky and Greg Treadway, later charged with the murder, leads to her representing him as his attorney.
Give “the Beck” (her nickname) credit for showing a great deal of legal expertise and just plain acumen far beyond what one would expect from a neophyte attorney in a maiden trial, one for murder no less. But then, she’s the offspring of Dismas Hardy. Needless to say, the trial takes on a life of its own, giving the author the opportunity to exhibit some arcane legal principles. More important, Mr. Lescroart once again demonstrates his ability to twist and turn the tables on the reader in a most unexpected way. Although the book is interesting as a whole, it is especially recommended just for the unusual ending.
Reviewed by Ted Feit, March 2016.