The 13th Juror (Dismas Hardy Series #4)

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Overview

In John T. Lescroart's brilliant new novel, The 13th Juror, Dismas Hardy, lawyer/investigator, undertakes the defense of Jennifer Witt, accused of murdering her husband and their eight-year-old son as well as her first husband, who had died nine years earlier from an apparent drug overdose. While preparing his case, Hardy learns that both of Jennifer's husbands had physically abused her. But Jennifer refuses to allow a defense that presumes her guilt. She is not guilty, she claims. Hardy is now driven to seek an ...
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The 13th Juror (Dismas Hardy Series #4)

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Overview

In John T. Lescroart's brilliant new novel, The 13th Juror, Dismas Hardy, lawyer/investigator, undertakes the defense of Jennifer Witt, accused of murdering her husband and their eight-year-old son as well as her first husband, who had died nine years earlier from an apparent drug overdose. While preparing his case, Hardy learns that both of Jennifer's husbands had physically abused her. But Jennifer refuses to allow a defense that presumes her guilt. She is not guilty, she claims. Hardy is now driven to seek an alternative truth a jury can believe. As the trial progresses, the complex truth itself begins to change, to bend, to fade in and out of focus as the clock keeps ticking on Jennifer's fate, until there seems only one person left to convince, and she is "the 13th juror" - the judge. The 13th Juror is a stunning and suspenseful novel of moral ambiguity, of good intentions, bad judgements and the tortuous path to ultimate justice.

In one moment, Jennifer's world came crashing down. Her husband and son were murdered, and she--as a prime suspect--was facing the death penalty. Jennifer, a battered wife, refused to use a spousal abuse defense, insisting she was innocent. As Jennifer's story began to lose credibility, Dismas Hardy, her attorney/investigator, had only one last weapon for defending his client--the truth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A brilliant courtroom drama."
-The Washington Post Book World

"I double-dare you to begin reading John T. Lescroart's new suspense trial novel and put it down....This one is on the money."
-Larry King, USA Today

"Compelling...The power of the book lies in Lescroart's impeccable accumulation of detail."
-The San Francisco Chronicle

"Unusual in his ability to combine courthouse scenes with action sequences, judicial puzzles and dimensional people, Mr. Lescroart produces a full house of well-drawn characters. The many subplots, social issues and legal maneuvers of The 13th Juror, come together in a fast-paced text that sustains interest to the very end."
-The Wall Street Journal

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Further evidence that Lescroart ( Hard Evidence ) can hold his own among legal-thriller writers comes with this taut novel about an abused San Francisco housewife who is arrested for shooting both her seven-year-old son and her physician husband, a control freak. Narrator Dismas Hardy, defense attorney and hero of four previous Lescroart novels, has plenty of suspects and issues to grapple with. First there's his icy, recalcitrant client, Jennifer Witt, who refuses to go with a battered-wife defense; Jennifer's aloof psychiatrist, who may or may not be her lover; some financial shenanigans concerning the victim's business that provide plenty of motive for high-stakes murder. Then there's the problem of Dismas's grandstanding boss, whose flamboyant, hit-or-miss style leaves Dismas constantly scrambling for higher legal ground. Finally, there's Dismas's wife, who resents the time her husband spends on the case but who insists on striking up a friendship with the accused without telling her husband. The story gets off to a slow start, and sometimes Lescroart belabors the obvious. He also comes close to telegraphing the solution to the mystery, and much of his writing about the characters' personal lives is hamfisted. Despite these flaws, however, an intricate story and satisfying courtroom scenes carry the day. Fans of the genre should find the second half of the book, which covers the trial, especially engaging. 60,000 first printing; major ad/promo; paperback rights to Dell; audio rights to Bantam Doubleday Dell; large print rights to Thorndike; Literary Guild and Dou ble day Book Club featured alternates. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Jennifer's fairytale life as the wife of Dr. Larry Witt seems perfect. When Larry and their seven-year-old son are murdered while Jennifer is out jogging, the newspapers have a field day weeping with the photogenic young widow. After she is arrested for the crime, a full-fledged tabloid feeding frenzy erupts. Into this fray steps Dismas Hardy, a fortysomething former district attorney's office hotshot and an ex-bartender who is 43 days into his new job with a prestigious law firm. Dismas, new to the role of defense lawyer, is uncomfortable with his growing belief in Jennifer's innocence, especially since she is reluctant to take her one chance at a "Not Guilty" verdict: acknowledging Larry's years of abuse. A very readable novel with engaging characters and a riveting plot that fans of Scott Turow and John Grisham will love; recommended for most libraries.-Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440220794
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Series: Dismas Hardy Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 560
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John T. Lescroart
John Lescroart is the bestselling author of eighteen previous novels, which have sold more than ten million copies. He lives with his family in Northern California.

Biography

John Lescroart has made a name (albeit an unpronounceable one!) for himself as the author of crime thrillers, most notably an acclaimed series starring the San Francisco lawyer-and-cop team of Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky. But the road to bestsellerdom has been paved with more than a few unexpected detours for this hardworking novelist, who has been writing all his adult life but who only started to chart big around the mid-1990s.

Lescroart (pronounced les-KWA) grew up with an equal interest in music and writing. After college, he concentrated his energies on the former, performing alone and in bands around the San Francisco Bay area and scribbling in whatever spare time he could find. But he set a deadline for himself, and when he had not "made it" by age 30, he quit music to focus on writing. Within weeks he finished up a novel-in-progress based on his experiences living in Spain. He submitted it to a former high school teacher who was less than dazzled; but the man's wife loved it and entered the manuscript in a local competition. Although it would not formally see print for another four years, Sunburn won the prestigious Joseph Henry Jackson Award, beating out Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire for the best novel by a California author.

To support his art, Lescroart held down a dizzying succession of jobs -- from house painting and bartending to working as a legal secretary. At one point, just as he was ready to enroll in the creative writing program at Amherst, he was offered a lucrative gig he could not afford to pass up, and graduate school fell by the wayside. As the years passed, some of his books were published, but he never felt financially secure enough to write full-time. Then, in 1989, he contracted spinal meningitis after body-surfing in contaminated seawater. He emerged from his life-threatening ordeal with a new resolve, quit the last of his day jobs, and became a real working novelist.

It took a few tries for Dismas Hardy to become the fully realized character Lescroart's fans have come to know and love. Debuting in 1989's Dead Irish, Hardy began life as an ex-cop/ex-attorney turned bartender and did not return to the practice of law until his third appearance in Hard Evidence (1993). From then on, interest grew in the series, which has snowballed into a lucrative franchise for the author. In 2006, Lescroart introduced another San Francisco-based dynamic duo, private investigator Wyatt Hunt and homicide detective Devin Juhle, in The Hunt Club. Slightly younger than Hardy and Glitsky but drawn with the same humanizing brush, the protagonists of this series have proved immensely popular with readers.

Incidentally, Lescroart's writing success has allowed him to return to his other love: He has founded his own independent label, CrowArt Records, which showcases some of his own music and produces CDs by a number of artist/friends. At long last, John Lescroart is able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview, Lescroart let us in on some fun and fascinating insights about himself and his life as a writer:

"First, it's Less-KWAH. Here's a tip -- don't have that name. Get a pen name that people can pronounce and remember. Just this Saturday, I gave a talk at a well-attended writers' conference. There were probably a hundred people in the room, and the talk went very well. Five minutes later, I was in the bathroom washing my hands and around the corner, I heard a guy tell another that he'd just heard the greatest talk by John le Carré. 'You know, The Tailor of Panama and the Smiley books? Good stuff. I'm going to go buy all his books.'"

"Second, I didn't have to quit the day job to keep writing. One of the most productive times in my early writing life was while I had a full-time job as a word processor in a law firm and also worked part-time at night, often working until 11:00 p.m. How did I do any writing, you might ask? Well, I did it between 6:00 and 8:00 in the morning, four pages a day, and published five books in six years. But because a) I was making some money doing 'regular' work and didn't have to be scrounging for coin and b) I was panic-stricken at the little time that was left in the day to write, I wound up becoming more efficient."

"Third, I don't wait on inspiration, and I refuse to acknowledge 'writer's block.' I simply sit down and put words on the paper. It's like being a carpenter -- writers build things. Carpenters don't wake up and say, 'Hmm, I'm not in the mood to drive nails today.' No, they go to work and do the job. It's not very romantic, but that's how I approach writing."

"If you have a good relationship, nurture it. The great god of Writing with a capital "W" isn't the only thing in life. It can be a great part and a big part, but it shouldn't consume you on a daily basis and shouldn't make your life miserable all the time. Try not to get nuts about the greater success of other writers -- we're really not in competition with other writers. We're only trying to outdo ourselves, to get better at our jobs. Go on dates. Spend some time outside (fishing is good, so is skiing, hiking, swimming, jogging). Stay in shape -- writing is a marathon. Don't drink too much. Have as much fun as you can."

Lescroart used to perform as "Johnny Capo" in a group called Johnny Capo and His Real Good Band. Although he no longer performs with that outfit, he still pursues music as the founder of his very own independent label called CrowArt Records. The first project on the label was Date Night, a CD of his own compositions performed by master pianist Antonio Castillo de la Gala. Followers of Lescroart's writing may recognize the in-joke in the album's title. As he explains on his web site, "Fans of Dismas Hardy will know that Diz and Frannie (Dismas's wife) set aside every Wednesday night for some time alone together -- it's their date night."

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Lescroart
    2. Hometown:
      El Macero, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 14, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Houston, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English with Honors, UC Berkeley, 1970

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2002

    great book

    this book was a very good book. everything about it was fantastic i couldn't put it down once i started reading it. anyone who loves suspense and mystery i recommend this book to.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2000

    Realistic, Rivtitng, & Supspenseful!

    The author ingeniously takes the reader on a roller coaster ride through the life of Jennifer growing up & abroad, the physical & mental abuse she indured, her poor choice in men, and the devastating evidence against her. The ending was remarkable! I never foresaw it! This book truly was one the same level of ANYTHING Gresham has ever written!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A great read

    A page turner from beginning to end. The author kept you guessing till the end. This is my first Dismas Hardy . I am looking forward to reading more Dismas Hardy series in the future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    The best to date!

    I have been trying to read all of this series. While all are well written with terrific characters, this book is by far the best so far. I usually get some idea of the end of the plot along the way, but I never imagined the ending to this book. It was a great read and hard to put down.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    WHO IS THE GUILTY PARTY?

    One of John Lescroart's best.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2007

    Good ending

    Please explain to me why your novel the 13th juror was so good and then you write another short story called a Certain Justice and I can't make heads or tails of it. Michael Mullen was out with his wife and 2 kids when he was killed and his wife and 2 kids were never mentioned as witnesses nor were in the car when the killer took off. That doesn't make sense to me, please explain....

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2002

    Interesting but a chore to get through

    The curiousity I had as to how Dismas Hardy, the defense attorney, was going to try and get his client, Jennifer, off the pending death sentence kept me reading this story which I thought had entirely too many characters. It got better in the second half. The trial dialogue made for compelling reading and felt it provided me with fascinating insight into trial procedures, e.g., the judge being the 13th juror. The ending was a complete surprise, it did not follow the lead I assumed Dismas had going and believe that part was kind of left hanging, especially the part where it appeared Dismas himself might have been threatened. I would be interested in reading someone else's review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2000

    A bit over my head at times, but a gripping plot!

    Although not one of the greatest books I've ever leafed through, The 13th Juror was a good book that requires both patience and limited knowledge of our legal system to be able to understand it. The basic story was quite gripping as you find yourself constantly changing your guess as to what really happened on the day Jennifer's family was killed. I would recommend this book to lovers of murder, mystery, and mixed plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2000

    He Risked His Life to Save Her Life!!!

    Lescroart has the (not very common) ability to tell you even the slightest detail, without boring you. I went page after page, and it was so hard to stop. Jeniffer Witt is charged with the murder of his rich and famous (but abussive) husband, as well as her only child. She says that she is not guilty, that she didnot do it, but all the clues, the facts, the circumstances, go against her, and almost nobody thinks that she didnot do it. The DA is looking for a political situation at the state level, and this case comes handy to him, so he is not going to let it go. The defense lawyer (what a character) risks everything, to try to win his case, and save her life. The part that I liked more is the author´s careful description of events in the streets and whereabouts of San Francisco, which is my favorite city. I really enjoyed it. Read it, you will like it. Really...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2000

    Not a great book, but very interesting

    It is hard not to compare other courtroom novels to Grisham's work because really none stack up. However, Lescroart came up with an interesting idea for a book AND come up with a good ending. The characters were very good and believable despite the fact that I disliked the main character. A realistic and worthwhile read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

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    Posted July 16, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2008

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    Posted November 17, 2011

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    Posted November 17, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

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    Posted January 18, 2013

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    Posted May 7, 2011

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    Posted July 21, 2009

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