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When wild boy Ro Curtlee was convicted of rape and murder, the fallout against those responsible for putting him behind bars-including detective Abe Glitsky-was uncompromising. That's because the Curtlee family is among the Bay Area's most powerful billionaires. When a retrial ends in Ro's release, it appears his need for retribution isn't over. And this time, Glitsky's in the crosshairs.

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When wild boy Ro Curtlee was convicted of rape and murder, the fallout against those responsible for putting him behind bars-including detective Abe Glitsky-was uncompromising. That's because the Curtlee family is among the Bay Area's most powerful billionaires. When a retrial ends in Ro's release, it appears his need for retribution isn't over. And this time, Glitsky's in the crosshairs.

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Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
…amid bloodcurdling violence and a good many surprises…Lescroart again demonstrates his fiendish delight in keeping those pages turning.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
San Francisco homicide chief Abe Glitsky takes on a particularly nasty villain in Lescroart's hair-raising 16th novel featuring Glitsky and lawyer Dismas Hardy (after A Plague of Secrets). After Ro Curtlee serves 10 years of a long prison sentence for the rape and murder of one of his family's housekeepers, an appeals court orders a new trial and his wealthy and powerful parents post bail of million for his release. Cocky and ruthless, Curtlee eliminates one of the witnesses who testified against him and threatens Glitsky's family, while his parents, who own San Francisco's #2 newspaper, and their favorite columnist, Sheila Marrenas, apply other kinds of pressure to new DA Wes Farrell, among others. Either influence or lack of hard evidence frustrates every move Glitsky and his colleagues make to try to nail Curtlee. What at first appears to be a stunningly stark black-and-white portrayal reveals many subtle shadings by book's end. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Ro Curtlee, son of wealthy and connected San Francisco newspaper owners, has been in jail for many years after his conviction for rape and murder. After enough pressure is put on high-ranking officials, Ro is sprung from jail on a technicality while he awaits a new trial. Almost immediately, more murders happen; a major witness in the first trial against Ro and the jury foreman's wife are both killed in strikingly similar fashion. Although Ro is the obvious suspect, the influence of his parents is worth more than the minimal evidence against him, and he remains free on bail. With Lescroart series staple homicide head Abe Glitsky working to put the bad guy behind bars, readers are in for a nail-biting good time. Wes Farrell, a former law partner of Dismas Hardy and now the city's newly elected district attorney, must also find a balance among his friends, his ethics, and his job security. VERDICT Lescroart (A Plague of Secrets; Betrayal) fans will be pleased with his latest; although this is not a Dismas Hardy book, he is involved. Other readers who enjoy legal thrillers will be entertained by this carefully woven suspense novel. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/10.]—Amanda Scott, Cambridge Springs P.L., PA
Kirkus Reviews

Ten years after his conviction, a legal technicality sets a murderous rapist free, with predictably disastrous results.

Everyone who matters knows that Roland Curtlee raped at least three Guatemalan servants in his wealthy parents' employ and killed one of them. The moment a San Francisco judge sets him free on the grounds that the buttons with photos of Dolores Sandoval that supporters of the victim wore to the courthouse were unreasonably prejudicial, the violence resumes. Felicia Nuñez, another domestic who testified against him, is strangled and her apartment set ablaze. Even though her corpse is naked except for her shoes—a signature preference of Ro's—there's no physical evidence linking him to the crime scene. Nor is there any hard evidence when psychiatrist Janice Durbin, the wife of the jury foreman who argued for Ro's conviction, is found dead under remarkably similar circumstances. Since rookie D.A. Wes Farrell, who'd been convinced that it would amount to special pleading to encourage a local judge to deny Ro's bail application, appears helpless, homicide chief Abe Glitsky takes it on himself to put pressure on Ro, a tactic that only gives Ro's father, newspaper publisher Cliff Curtlee, new ammunition against what his pet columnist Sheila Marrenas calls the police state Glitsky represents. Aided by Eztli, the Curtlee super-butler, Ro meanwhile continues his reign of terror, killing an investigator who's tailing him, slashing the paintings of Janice's distraught husband Michael, poisoning Farrell's dog and setting his sights on the one remaining rape victim who testified in his original trial.

Lescroart's habitual fondness for hot-button–issue thrillers (Treasure Hunt, 2010, etc.) sets an irresistible hook. But although the plot is a barn-burner, it never offers any special insight on how or whether to keep convicted criminals from going free. Not that enraptured readers will notice.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451235428
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/3/2012
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 301,418
  • Product dimensions: 4.34 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 1.06 (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.


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

Read an Excerpt


Felicia Nuñez saw him standing up against a building across the street from the stop where she normally got off her streetcar. With her heart suddenly pounding in her ears, she turned away from the streetcar door as it opened and sat down on one of the side-facing benches just at the front across from the driver.

As the car started up again, passing him, she caught another glimpse of him out of the corner of her eye.

Or maybe it was him. It looked very much like him. His hair maybe a little different, longer, from the last time she’d seen him in the courtroom, but the same attitude in the way he stood. He had one boot propped up against the building, his strong white arms crossed over his chest.

She knew why he was there. He was waiting. Waiting for her.

Back then she used to see him everywhere, even though her mind had known that he could not find her. She’d been in witness protection. No one even knew where she’d lived. So there was no way in reality that it could happen. And yet for a year or two, she thought she saw him every day.

But today?

This time it was exactly him. Most of the other times, whoever she saw reminded her of him—the hair, the arms, the set of the body. But today was all him, not a collection of similar parts that, in her terror, she could imagine into the monster that he was.

At the next stop she descended out into the neighborhood and heard the streetcar’s door close behind her and then the brakes release and then the scraping sound as it moved ahead and left her standing alone at the curb.

She did not like to spend extra money and knew she could make a cup of coffee for free at home, but he might still be there lurking and if he saw her, he might, or he would…

She could not imagine.

No. She could imagine.

She went into the Starbucks and ordered a coffee—half an hour’s work at the cleaners where she was lucky to have a job, but she needed to sit quietly and to think, and also to give him time to leave if he was really waiting there to see her.

How could he have found her?

She took a seat at the front window where she could see him if he suddenly appeared among the pedestrians passing by.

The first sip scalded her tongue and the pain seemed to break something within her. She put her paper cup down and blinked back the wave of emotion that threatened now to break over her.

Bastardo! she thought. The life-destroying bastard.

In her mind, she was eighteen again.

Excerpt from DAMAGE © 2010 by John Lescroart. Published by Dutton, A Member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Excerpted with permission from the publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 179 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 180 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 27, 2010

    Not lost his touch even after over 20 novels

    Lescroart churns out his twenty-second novel with the ferocity of a mother lion defending her cub, and indeed she is. Mrs. Curtlee's boy Ro has been tried for the rape and murder of the family maid and seeing as the Curtlee's own the local newspaper and had a lot to do with getting the new District Attorney elected, they want to get their unjustly-punished son out of jail.

    Wes Farrell, the new DA is still getting his feet wet in San Francisco politics and allows a little infl uence to go a long way. As soon as Ro is out of jail, the bodies start turning up. One of the two witnesses who originally helped convict him is brutally murdered and her home burned, as is the wife of the lead juror who put him away. Ro has cojones, showing up at the home of lead homicide detective, Abe Glitsky, just to give him some of the same harassment the police are handing out. Is he that brazen or is it an attempt to make the
    police believe he really is innocent, nothing to hide? When a lead investigator, who is following Ro shows up with a bullet in his head, the police decide enough is enough and do everything in their power to get Ro back in jail, before he kills the last witness standing.

    Lescroart does a great job in casting suspicions to make you think perhaps a copy-cat rapist is at work. He shows the reader several out and out truths that the police are yet to discover, leaving his audience a step ahead, creating a sense of urgency as we hope that they will pick up on the clues before it's too late. We find out that like a leopard, Ro just can't change his spots, and after raping another household maid a week after getting his new-found freedom, Lescroart leads us down a coiling path that leaves you gasping, as twist after twist are unraveled in the end.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The latest Glitsky and Dismas Hardy thriller is a great entry

    Ro Curtlee serves ten years of his sentence for the rape and murder of a family housekeeper Dolores Sandoval. However, due to the constant pressure of his affluent family, the Ninth District Appeals Court orders a new trial. His wealthy parents post a million dollar bond that bails him out of jail as he awaits a retrial.

    Curtlee quickly goes to work murdering a witness who testified against him. He threatens to harm the family of San Francisco Police Homicide Chief Abe Glitsky. Meanwhile Ro's parents, who own the city's member two selling newspaper the Courier, use columnist Sheila Marrenas to pressure the new District Attorney Wes Farrell and others related to the case to back off or else. SFPD led by Glitsky finds new and old evidence swallowed up by the Curtlee brood either through influence peddling, not so subtle threats, or murder.

    The latest Glitsky and Dismas Hardy thriller (see A Plague of Secrets) is a great entry as the villain is incredible with all the assets he has and uses including the media. Complicated with several subplots that initially seem more like additional police caseload, but cleverly merge into a super story line, fans will wonder if the Curtlee clan will defeat Glitsky and company.

    Harriet Klausner

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2010

    Highly Recommand Best Ever

    Damage by John Lescroart
    reviewed by Russ Ilg

    John Lescrroat has been one of my all time favorite authors for as long as can remember and his legal thrillers have been one of the most anticipate books of the year for me. He has become one of the greatest writers of this style I have had the pleasure of reading and is one of the prime examples I can say that reading a book is by far the greatest way to lose yourself into something so compelling that you can forget everything else and really just enjoy the ride.
    Damage was one book I was really waiting for as I had heard that it was going to be by far his greatest work to date and I had a hard time believing that he could get an better then he already was. I mean how do you improve on the best?
    John has a style that brings magic to the pages the people in the book are so real that you feel them breath, talk, hurt you are right there in the story standing in the corner, sitting in a chair always just far enough away that you feel as if you are really there watching as the story unfolds but are not seen by anyone else. The way he writes is done with such style and care that every person is someone you have known your whole life and what unfolds is part of who you are to. There are very few writers that can accomplish this feat that draws you into the story in a way that is so smooth you do not even realize it till you are holding the book and turning the pages so fast that there is no other thing in the world that exist.
    So how could it get better then this well he did do it. He has taking his writing to a whole new level.
    When you read 4-5 books a week you have come to know what to expect in the authors you read and are just grateful to know that you are in for one of the best times in your life when you sit down to get lost in another chapter of the author you like.
    Damaged is a novel that could be ripped from the headlines of any paper in the county where it has been so often seen where people with enormus power and money have a huge advantage over the the average person when it comes to what happens in the court and legal system, This power has the ability to make justice seem in a way that is not as equal as we would all hope it was. The minute I starting reading this new novel I knew it was going to be very special and had a grip on me that I have not felt from Mr. Lescroart before. It is a non stop out of control train loaded with explosive on a unstoppable runaway ride across the pages. The book explodes in your hands as each moment you feel that you know what is going on is completed shattered by a cock screw twist that just throws you into the wall and I found that I was holding my breath as each new event unfolded.
    Just when I was starting to get ready for the next new twist I found I was close to the end of the book I could not believe that it had flown by so fast and as the expected end drew near I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the final out come of this action pack thriller that left nothing safe or scared. Then it happened where he was able to come up with this still has me in awe. I was blown right through the roof of the house as if that train had made a direct hit right into me. I had to catch my breath and calm down and the say did that really just happen. I went back and re-read it 3 times on that last part to make sure that I got every detail right. The novel could have ended a hundred different ways, but John showed what really makes him so gre

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    John Lescroart has done it again

    "Damage" has our old friends back with their quirks and foibles, just as our live and in person friends do. The book tells how much money controls today's society and the cavalier, "let them eat cake", attitude about the working class society. It made me angry; it made me cheer, it made me want more of John Lescroart's work -- since I have them all, I'll re-read and wait.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Another great read

    This one features Wes Farrell, who has just left his law practice with Freeman, Farrell, Hardy and Roake, the Hardy being Dismas, who is featured in several Lescroart novels. Farrell has just been elected D.A. and is trying to get a handle on his new job, facing moral & legal issues, a serial killer, a crisis at home, and all the action you expect from a Lescroaet tale. Dismas does appear here briefly, and I hope there are more books in the Dismas series planned. In the meantime this book was a great read. If you are a Lescroart fan you won't be disappointed. And if you're not, but enjoy Patterson, JD Robb, & Vance, get this one. You will not be sorry.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    Edge of your seat!

    I have read this book a couple times and still a great read. Great, modern, true crime book with wonderful characters. Highly recommend

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2011

    not his best

    I usually love his books, that is why I bought this. It really is not good
    maybe he needs new lawyers or something

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2014

    Growl pack

    A sliver and gold wolf with amber eyes
    Usally quiet and sweet not notaced very often

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Lescroart keeps me interested, again.

    Another well written, gripping story.

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  • Posted June 4, 2011

    Highly recommended

    This is the first book I have read by this author. It is an exciting read; I am finding other books by Lescroart in the hopes they, too, will be as thrilling.

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  • Posted January 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Can John Lescroart write anything and get five star reviews? His latest, Damaged, is a struggle to finish. The last 30 pages seem like filler to meet some kind of contract obligation.

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    Really Like it!

    Love his books - especially liked this one with Abe Glitzky's thoughts, and like Wes Farrell!!

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