The Fall (Dismas Hardy #16), by John Lescroart

Five stars

A healthy annual dose of a Lescroart legal thriller does the mind and heart good. This year’s offering is just what I needed to push through a hectic summer. When the body of Anlya Paulson falls into oncoming traffic, authorities are left to wonder if this foster child was in the throes of a deep depression or if she was the victim of a crime. With a murder that baffles everyone, the SFPD begin their investigation, turning up the most unlikely of suspects, Greg Treadway. A middle-school teacher and Special Advocate for Anlya’s brother, Greg’s DNA is found on the body, leaving everyone to wonder if this might be the easiest of cases. Enter Dismas Hardy and his newly-minted associate, Rebecca ‘The Beck’ Hardy. Working her first homicide defence, Rebecca relies on her father’s experience and her own honed skills to hash out the truth of the Treadway case. With evidence burying them, the young Hardy and Treadwell must find a way to exonerate him, or he is sure to face prison time for decades to come. Just as the trial begins, new theories emerge and shoddy police work may prove helpful. As The Beck learns, she must not only possess these facts, but get them into evidence. The battle is on as she pushes the envelop to advocate for her client, with everything she has. In a powerful novel that sheds the spotlight on yet another former minor character, this story remains high-action and legally sound from the opening pages onwards, in true Lescroart fashion. Not to be missed by series fans or new and curious readers alike.

In the years I have been reading Lescroart’s novels, never have I come up against one I did not enjoy. He has honed his skills over the years and utilises a large cast of characters to develop a solid foundation, pulling some out for one novel and shelving them for a period. That said, these characters and themes associated with them always reappear in some form, if only to add a flavour to the story that remains unique. Bringing Rebecca from out of the shadows was a brilliant choice by Lescroart, while not writing Dismas out of the game entirely. Could this be the beginning of a new generation of legal thrillers, while keeping the Wyatt Hunt and Abe Glitsky novels slowly churing as well? Only time will tell as readers become more aware of this sensational legal writer.

Kudos, Mr. Lescroart for making me an addict to your work. I cannot wait to see what else you have percolating!

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