Betrayal (Dismas Hardy Series #12)

( 32 )


Dismas Hardy agrees to take an appeal to overturn the murder conviction of National Guard reservist Evan Scholler. Scholler had plenty of reasons for revenge—but as Dismas delves into the case, he begins to uncover a terrible truth that drops him right into the complicated world of government conspiracy, assassination, and betrayal…

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Betrayal (Dismas Hardy Series #12)

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Dismas Hardy agrees to take an appeal to overturn the murder conviction of National Guard reservist Evan Scholler. Scholler had plenty of reasons for revenge—but as Dismas delves into the case, he begins to uncover a terrible truth that drops him right into the complicated world of government conspiracy, assassination, and betrayal…

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

At the start of the adrenaline-infused 10th thriller to feature DA Dismas Hardy (Dead Irish, etc.) from bestseller Lescroart, Hardy agrees to wrap up some of the caseload of a Bay Area lawyer who has mysteriously disappeared. After discovering that the lawyer was set to appeal an apparently straightforward murder case, Hardy realizes that the crime had its origins in Iraq, where the alleged killer and his victim first met. With the help of his old friend, Det. Abe Glitsky, Hardy learns that the victim, ex-navy SEAL Ron Nolan, was sleeping with the girlfriend of National Guard Reservist Evan Scholler, who was later convicted of killing Nolan. As Hardy and Glitsky dig deeper, they discover that Nolan had committed several murders himself, and it's up to Dismas and Hardy to unravel the conspiracy that may have roots in the U.S. government. Lescroart weaves his trademark complicated yet fast-moving tale, full of believable characters and crisp dialogue. A first-rate addition to the author's ongoing series, this should please both longtime readers and new fans. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

In Lescroart's (Hard Evidence) latest Dismas Hardy novel, our hero only appears in the opening and closing chapters. The middle of the book recounts the tragic experiences of Redwood, CA, police officer Evan Scholler before and after his tour of duty in Iraq. An officer in the National Guard, Evan is befriended by charismatic former Navy SEAL Ron Nolan. Now working for a private security firm, Ron betrays Evan twice. He drives a deep wedge between Evan and his girlfriend, Tara, then provokes a firefight that kills an Iraqi family, seven men in Evan's company, and leaves him severely wounded. Evan returns home but suffers from memory loss, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol abuse. When Ron is found dead, Evan is accused, tried, and sentenced for the murder. Dismas is asked to handle the appeal, and San Francisco detective Abe Glitsky investigates a series of murders that may be connected. Lescroart's plot is timely and contains enough twists and turns to hold the listener's interest. Read by David Colacci, Betrayal is an excellent addition for audio collections with heavy traffic in courtroom procedurals. [Lescroart is the New York Times best-selling author of The Suspect.-Ed.]
—Stephen L. Hupp

Kirkus Reviews
Bay Area lawyer Dismas Hardy's first starring role since The First Law (2003) tackles a controversial subject: the independent contractors making a killing in Iraq. Even though he was defended by hotshot attorney Aaron Washburn, it's no wonder that Evan Scholler was convicted of murdering Ron Nolan in 2005. The two men had been close in Baghdad: Scholler an ex-cop National Guard lieutenant whose unit was deployed to Iraq with no clear mission, Nolan a contractor for Allstrong Security who inveigled the unit into accompanying his hefty cash pickups. But their friendship shattered when Nolan, having seduced Scholler's ex-girlfriend Tara Wheatley back in the States, provoked an ambush that decimated Scholler's group and left him with a brain injury. When he finally learned the depth of Nolan's perfidy, Scholler vowed to kill him, and all the evidence indicates that he did. Three years after Washburn's unsuccessful defense, Charlie Bowen, the attorney preparing Scholler's appeal, vanished. Now, after six months, he's been declared incompetent to file the appeal, which has been assigned to Hardy. After sitting out most of the opening 300 pages, Hardy settles down to sift through reams of documents, most of them damning. Eventually he notices a sinister pattern: Several minor figures associated with the case (an ex-SEAL with Allstrong, an Iraqi middleman, Charlie Bowen's suspicious wife) have died violently, leaving behind no evidence of who killed them. Was Scholler framed after all? Of course he was-and although it's pretty obvious who did the job and why, it's a pleasure watching Hardy pick up the scattered pieces and fit them together. Sturdy wartime intrigue, subpar courtroom drama, littlemystery, much righteous (and infectious) anger. A great case, but a decidedly mixed verdict. Agent: Barney Karpfinger/Karpfinger Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602851405
  • Publisher: Center Point Large Print
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Series: Dismas Hardy Series, #12
  • Pages: 607
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.80 (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.
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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

Reading Group Guide

When Dismas Hardy agrees to clean up the caseload of recently disappeared attorney Charlie Bowen, he thinks it will be easy. But one of the cases is far from small-time—the sensational clash between National Guard reservist Evan Scholler and an ex-Navy SEAL and private contractor named Ron Nolan. Two rapid-fire events in Iraq conspired to bring the men into fatal conflict: Nolan’s relationship with Evan’s girlfriend, Tara, a beautiful school-teacher back home in the states, followed by a deadly incident in which Nolan’s apparent mistake results in the death of an innocent Iraqi family as well as seven men in Evan’s platoon. As the murky relationship between the US government and its private contractors plays out in the personal drama of these two men, and the consequences become a desperate matter of life and death, Dismas Hardy begins to uncover a terrible and perilous truth that takes him far beyond the case and into the realm of assassination and treason.


John Lescroart is a big believer in hard work and single-minded dedication, although he'll acknowledge that a little luck never hurts. Now a New York Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into 16 languages in more than 75 countries, John wrote his first novel in college and the second one a year after he graduated from Cal Berkeley in 1970.

The only hitch was that he didn't even try to publish either of these books until fourteen years later, when finally, at his wife Lisa's urging, he submitted Son of Holmes to New York publishers—and got two offers, one in hardcover, within six weeks!

But about six years before that first hardcover publication, John's ambition to become a working novelist began to take shape. At that time, as Johnny Capo of Johnny Capo and His Real Good Band, he'd been performing his own songs for several years at clubs and honky-tonks in the San Francisco Bay Area. On his 30th birthday, figuring that if he hadn't made it in music by then, he never would, he retired from the music business.

He'd been writing all along, and didn't stop now, although his emphasis changed from music first, prose second, to the other way around. Within two months of his last musical gig, he finished a novel, Sunburn, that drew on his experiences in Spain. Since John didn't know anyone in the publishing world, he sent the manuscript to his old high school English teacher, who was not enthusiastic. Fortunately, the teacher left the pages on his bedside table, and his wife picked them up and read them. She loved the book and submitted it in John's name to The Joseph Henry Jackson Award, given yearly by the San Francisco Foundation for Best Novel by a California author. Much to John's astonishment, Sunburn beat out 280 other entrants, including Interview with a Vampire, for the prize.

Though Sunburn wasn't to be published for another four years, and then only in paperback, the award changed John's approach to writing. He started to think he might make a living as an author, something he'd never previously believed possible for a "regular guy with no connections." He started paying for his writing habit by working a succession of "day jobs"—everything from a computer programmer with the telephone company, to Ad Director of Guitar Player Magazine, to moving man, house painter, bartender (at the real Little Shamrock bar in San Francisco), legal secretary, fundraising executive, and management consultant writing briefs on coal transportation for the Interstate Commerce Commission!!

John moved to Los Angeles and in the next three years finished three long novels, the last of them featuring a private investigator who shared the name Dismas Hardy (and very little else) with the man who would become John's well-known attorney/hero. Since he'd gotten Sunburn published without using a literary agent (an old friend had shown it to a secretary at Pinnacle Books in Los Angeles, who bought it), John went on submitting his work to New York over the transom, receiving many kind rejection letters, but no offers. Finally he realized that even if he wasn't fated to become a commercially successful author, he wanted to be involved in books and literature. So he enrolled in the Masters Program in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

It was not to be.

While John and his wife, Lisa Sawyer, were preparing that summer to move to New England, he was paying bills by typing technical papers on coal transportation for a consulting firm. Asked by the boss what he thought of the paper, John commented that the argument it made wasn't very compelling and that it wasn't very well-written. His boss challenged him: could he do it any better? In a week, John re-wrote the 400-page draft, which went on to win before the ICC. This led to a "day job" offer that John couldn't refuse. Graduate school fell by the wayside.

But after a year and a half, even a lucrative day job had become a burden. Nothing would do for John by now but to write, but he had little time for writing with his high-paying, career-oriented job. Lisa suggested taking a look at some of the old manuscripts and submitting them—she remembered reading and liking Son of Holmes. How about that one? There was one 14-year-old yellowed and brittle copy of the manuscript left in the world—in the basement of their best man, Don Matheson's, apartment. Six weeks later, John had his first hardcover book deal.

Over the next seven years, back in Los Angeles again, John and Lisa were finally ready to start their family. During this time, John wrote several screenplays and published three more books while he held down a job as a word processing supervisor at a downtown law firm. He rose each day at 5:30 and went to a room they'd built in their garage, where he wrote four pages of his latest in two hours. Then he worked his nine-to-five, ate a bag lunch, and stayed downtown, typing briefs and pleadings at various other law firms until 10:00 or 11:00 at night.

Finally he was publishing, but he wasn't making a living. And then in 1989, at the age of forty-one, he took a break to go body-surfing at Seal Beach. The next day, he lay in a Pasadena hospital. From the contaminated sea water where he'd been surfing, he'd contracted spinal meningitis. Doctors gave him two hours to live.

John now looks back on his 11-day battle with death as the turning point in his career. He quit the last of his day jobs to move back to Northern California and to write full-time, with intense focus and a renewed dedication. The resulting books, richer in terms of theme and story, found a devoted readership and propelled him into the elite circle of bestselling authors—only twenty years to overnight success!!

Attention: There are some plot spoilers in this guide.

  • In the prologue, Dismas Hardy is depicted playing darts, and the author describes his game in this way: “So Hardy was playing a no-win game. If he hit his mark, it didn’t make him happy; but if he missed, it really ticked him off.” How did this statement preview the events that take place in Betrayal?
  • “When Evan shook Ron Nolan’s hand just outside the headquarters tent, he had an immediate impression of great strength held in check.” What was your initial opinion of Ron Nolan? Did it change as you read the book?
  • Do you know anyone who has served in Iraq, whether in a military position or with an outside contractor? Was their experience similar to that of Evan’s, or Ron’s?
  • Dismas Hardy explains his first name’s origin as “Dismas. The good thief. On Calvary? Next to Jesus?” How does this explanation reflect his personality?
  • “I’m just having a hard time accepting that our slightly different politics have really broken us up,” writes Evan to Tara. Talk about Evan. Was he truly committed to the war effort, or was he ambivalent in some way? How did he change after he was injured?
  • Was Ron’s motivation to meet Tara in person really to help Evan? What do you think Tara saw in Ron? How were Evan and Ron different, and similar?
  • “Suddenly the country’s culture seemed to have shifted to where everybody was afraid to make a stink about anything—it meant they weren’t patriotic.” What does it mean to be a patriot? Who are the patriots in Betrayal?
  • Consider Evan’s trial. If you were in the shoes of Everett Washburn, would you have allowed Evan to take the stand? What do you think the prosecutor’s motivation was for pressing Evan’s case so vigorously? What were some of the injustices Evan faced?
  • Have you ever served on a criminal trial jury? Would you have been swayed by Evan’s testimony?
  • At the end of Chapter 41, when Dismas receives the e-mail correspondence between Jack Allstrong and Ron Nolan and subsequently sends copies of it to the surviving Khalil family members, do you think he knew what could ultimately happen to Allstrong?
  • “Everett. Listen. I can’t believe I beat him with a poker, then shot him in the head, and have no memory of it. I would remember that.” Did you believe Evan was innocent of Ron’s murder? Were you surprised by the book’s last passage?
  • What position do you think the author holds on the Iraq war?
  • Discuss the book’s title. What—or to whom—does betrayal refer?
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 32 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Betrayal won't betray you

    Lescroart takes Tannenbaum to another level. His characters are more believable and his plots are far more topical. Betrayal combines a classic "whodunit" with terrorism, Iraq, Blackwater and legal manuevering. Dismas Hardy is believable, flawed, brilliant without having to rely on the type of vigilante wife that I find so unbelievable in Tannenbaum's offerings. Pick up Betrayal and enjoy the story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2010

    Did Mr. Lescroart really write the first 400 pages?!

    The first two thirds of the book reads like a cheap, poorly written romance novel, complete with every cliche. Had it been any other author, I would have put the book down. I kept HOPING it would get better. Unfortunately, only about 150 pages remained before he got back to Dismas and Hardy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2008

    former fan

    Sigh...yet another author strays from his tried and true story lines to enter the world of self-indulgent politicking. Couldn't wait for Dismas Hardy and company to return, only to find more than half the book a thinly disguised left-wing leaning attack on our men and women serving in harm's way...not everyone who sees (saw) action wigs out on society. It really dredged up some old Vietnam-era sterotypes. Won't be buying another one of his books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2014

    V Excellent!

    The best storyline so far in the Hardy series! A definite page turner!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2013

    Really great book. Just read it for the 2nd time.

    Really great book. Just read it for the 2nd time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    Thank you!

    It was like three separate books and three lifetimes for Evan. The way it is written really brings home the human element and the complexity of our system.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012

    Not his best

    I am 165 pages into this book and sorely disappointed. I read this series for the Hardys and the Glitzkys and am not impressed by their minor roles in this book. I couldnt care less about the main characters focused on in this book. Too much money for this book for this level of disappointment.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    Where are Dismas and Abe?

    The first few pages were alow for me -- too military. However, once I got past them, I was hooked. Overall, a most interesting read.

    I was disappointed, too, in the beginning, that my favorite Lescroart characters had a minor, almost nonexistent, role. I missed hearing from them. At some point that ceased to be important, and they did show up toward the end, making significant contributions.

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  • Posted August 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    This was the first book by John Lescroart that I've read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It kept me engaged during the entire book. Very believable characters and situations. I look forward to reading another one of his books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2009

    Love it!

    Great read & great characters from one of my favorite authors!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent Book

    This was a very interesting book. He portrays the ugly side of war. What it does to the people we have serving in any war area is not a very pretty thing to see or read about. This book will keep you going until the very end. I am looking forward to starting A plague of Secrets, his latest offering.

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  • Posted February 24, 2009

    Another good book in the series

    Another good book in Lescroart's (Less kwah) series. This one is about Iraq and a murder in the U.S. It was a little slow to get started, unlike his earlier books, but captivating none-the-less. Once again you have the main characters Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky working to help get an innocent man off. This one has an ending that caught me off guard.

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    The parceling out of military duties has been receiving great attention lately, and the result is not favorable to the US government. Here author John Lescroart takes a fictional look that seems like it could all be true as military contractors take the law into their own hands, and, in the interests of national security, may get away with it. He portrays a war that is costing the US more than lives as its very soul seems for sale. In my opinion, this is Lescroarts' best book yet. I had a problem with one of his earlier novels, which I thought made mistakes a lawyer shouldn't have made. But all is well now and I can heartily recommend this latest effort.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2008

    Buy It-ReadIt-Enjoy It

    One of JL's best. I waited and was not disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2008

    Perfect Betrayal

    Great plot line and characters. I felt so bad for Evan who seemed to be taken advantage of by his comrades and his country. He found that drinking to cope was a bad decision, however late it was. The ending was a surprise and well worth the wait.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a fascinating timely thriller

    When lawyer Charlie Bowen suddenly vanishes Attorney Dismas Hardy agrees to complete his missing peer¿s cases. He assumes this will prove easy until he realizes that Charlie was about to file an appeal of an obvious murder conviction. In 2005, Evan Scholler was convicted of killing former SEAL Ron Nolan in spite of being defended by top lawyer Aaron Washburn.-------------- Hardy learns from Police Detective Abe Glitsky that the two men met in Iraq where Scholler was serving as a lieutenant in a National Guard unit and Nolan was a contract guard working Allstrong Security. Back in America Nolan seduced Scholler's ex-girlfriend and caused an incident that left Scholler brain damaged and much of his team dead. Scholler publicly vowed to kill his former friend. The appeal looks hopeless until they begin to uncover proof that Nolan was involved in killing other Americans.-------------- BETRAYAL is a fascinating timely thriller that is incredible when it looks into the legal accountability of contract guards in a war zone and into the post traumatic stress including survivor guilt of returning veterans especially those suffering physical injuries. While a legal thriller, interestingly the court room drama though well written takes a back seat on the docket to the Iraq War legal and medical issues. John Lescroart is in top form with the return of Dismas Hardy, who is terrific in this tale as he enhances the best segues, which occur ironically when he is off page.------------ Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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