3.5 179
by John Lescroart

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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,…  See more details below


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.

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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Penguin Publishing Group
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18 Years

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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.


Meet the Author

John Lescroart is the author of nineteen previous novels, including The Betrayal, The Suspect, The Hunt Club, The Motive, The Second Chair, The First Law, The Oath, The Hearing, and Nothing But the Truth. He lives in Northern California.

Brief Biography

El Macero, California
Date of Birth:
January 14, 1948
Place of Birth:
Houston, Texas
B.A. in English with Honors, UC Berkeley, 1970

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