A Plague of Secrets (Dismas Hardy Series #13)

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Overview

Dismas Hardy, Abe Glitsky, and Wyatt Hunt return

When high-grade marijuana is found on a coffee-shop manager murdered in San Francisco, it suggests that the shop's owner, Maya Townshend, may be behind more than a caffeine fix. But when another murder exposes a drug-buying A-list celebrity and political clientele, a tabloid-fueled controversy takes the investigation into the realms of conspiracy and cover up.

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A Plague of Secrets (Dismas Hardy Series #13)

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Overview

Dismas Hardy, Abe Glitsky, and Wyatt Hunt return

When high-grade marijuana is found on a coffee-shop manager murdered in San Francisco, it suggests that the shop's owner, Maya Townshend, may be behind more than a caffeine fix. But when another murder exposes a drug-buying A-list celebrity and political clientele, a tabloid-fueled controversy takes the investigation into the realms of conspiracy and cover up.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Dylan, the manager of the successful Bay Beans West Coffee Shop, is found shot dead with a backpack full of marijuana, the evidence points toward the cafe's owner, Maya Townshead, as the killer. When another body is found and Maya is linked to that killing as well, she is charged with murder. Lescroart's stalwart San Francisco attorney, Dismas Hardy, is brought in as Maya's defense lawyer, and as he digs into the case, he uncovers secrets from Maya's past that, once revealed, may prove her innocence or may just as easily send her to prison. David Colacci's clear, deliberate delivery keeps the complicated story moving smoothly forward, while his gift for vocal characterizations shines in the author's expertly written courtroom scenes. A Dutton hardcover (Reviews, May 11). (July)
Library Journal

Lescroart does not disappoint with his latest novel, the 20th he's penned and the 13th to feature lawyer Dismas Hardy, again paired with head of San Francisco homicide Abe Glitsky. When the police arrest politically connected small-business owner Maya Townshend for the murder of one of her employees, Dismas must beat the clock to find the real killer. With Maya less than forthcoming about aspects of her past and her connection to the victim, investigator Wyatt Hunt and his Hunt Club must work to uncover things that are buried deep in the past. The novel, part setup of the crime and part courtroom thriller, maintains a steady pace with tight writing and characters that ring true. While affable Dismas carries the lead, Glitsky deals with his son's near-fatal injury, for which he blames himself—a subplot that could have been further explored. But this is a quibble about a terrific read. VERDICT John Grisham fans will love the courtroom drama and straight-to-the-facts style. The publisher is rightly committed to making this best-selling author a household name. [See Prepub Alert, LJ3/1/09.]—Amanda Scott, Cambridge Springs P.L., PA


—Amanda Scott
Kirkus Reviews
Not even pot-tolerant San Francisco can ignore the complications that follow the murder of a dealer who seems to have been keeping half the town high. Dylan Vogler earned $90,000 a year managing Haight-Ashbury's Bay Beans West, twice as much as he would have made at Starbucks, but not enough to keep him from growing and selling high-grade cannabis to a select list of about 70 clients. When he's shot to death outside the coffeehouse clutching a backpack full of weed, everyone who ever knew him goes into a defensive crouch. Inspectors Darrel Bracco and Debra Schiff wonder why BBW owner Maya Townshend would deny knowing anything about his dealing and insist that the only reason for his sky-high salary was to keep a good employee happy. When they learn that Vogler treated his boss like a hired hand; link both of them to a dicey shared past; and place her at the crime scene right around the time of the murder, they promote Townshend to a person of interest. Striking an unholy alliance with a U.S. Attorney eager for publicity, Bracco and Schiff threaten to seize both Townshend's coffee shop and her wealthy husband's real-estate holdings as drug proceeds. When another friend from her shady school days is found murdered, they stick her in the pokey. By this time, Townshend has retained Dismas Hardy as her counsel, and her problems have become his. In fact, given a client whose every utterance is either ambiguous or an out-and-out fib, Hardy doesn't see how he can possibly get her off. There'll be a walloping big courtroom surprise, but as has become customary in Hardy's recent cases (Betrayal, 2008, etc.), this one doesn't come to a full boil until afterwards, in an ill-advised shootout thatpunishes the guilty and then some. Less issue-driven than usual, more of a whodunit-and a sharp one at that.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451228321
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Series: Dismas Hardy Series , #13
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 230,400
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.40 (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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 60 )
Rating Distribution

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(20)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good Book

    This is the first John Lescroart book I've read. Pretty Good. An exciting and surprising conclusion. I read it in one weekend, and found it an exciting page turner. I would recommend it as a good summer "shade tree" read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2009

    Read It Now!

    Another good story from John Lescroart for all his Diz Hardy and Abe Glitsky fans, set in beautiful San Francisco. The wait between books is always worth it. This one has a good plot, lots of courtroom dramatics, and a STUNNING ending. What more could a fan ask for? It's one for the permanent library.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2009

    Great Book

    Mr. Lescroart has written another great Dismas Hardy book. His writing style is crisp and to the point, not a lot of extraneous descriptions that are unnecessary to telling the story. As always, I am looking forward to his next book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Caffeinated Tale

    John Lescroart has spun a tight tale of murder and lies, fully compelling in its characters traveling the streets of San Francisco. The courtroom scenes are top notch, but I think he got pretty carried away at the ending. It didn't spoil the tale, but it did prevent his conclusion from being as good as the main story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A TERRIFIC VOICE PERFORMANCE

    If you listened to The Vig, Betrayal, or any number of Lescroart's other thrillers narrated by Colacci you know what a terrific voice performer he is. I called his reading of Second Chair "Vital and arresting" - the same holds true of A Plague of Secrets.

    What a good move it is to continue to pair the same accomplished reader with succeeding stories in a series. That person becomes so ingrained in listeners' minds (or ears) as a particular character that, for me, the battle for a sale is half won. Such is certainly the case with Colacci and Dismas Hardy. Can't have one without the other and wouldn't want it any other way.

    Lescroart continues to intrigue with seemingly endless plot variations and imaginative twists. Here, with his 13th thriller we meet a mysterious woman - Maya Townsend. Of course, she's gorgeous, well connected (her uncle is the mayor) and silent partner in a popular San Francisco hangout - the Bay Beans West Coffee Shop. However, there seems to have been a lot more than latte offered there.

    The manager of the shop, Danny Vogel, is shot to death, and a quantity of marijuana is found in his knapsack. Slight problem: the murder weapon was Maya's. Next another friend of hers is found dead - this time with a cleaver separating his skull and Maya's fingerprints are found in his apartment. It's not long before we discover that the two recently departed had been blackmailing Maya for something that is past history but could still send shock waves through the city.

    She has hired Dismas to help her, which turns out to be more of a challenge than he had realized as prosecutors go for broke at her trial. So, we have murders, legal shenanigans, and a beautiful enigmatic woman - enjoy!
    - Gail Cooke

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An excellent legal thriller

    Never read John Lescroart before, but I am a long time fan of John Grisham. While the styles are not exactly the same, the legal thriller is something I really enjoy. I will be reading more of Mr. Lescroart going forward. An excellent read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    Excellent Book to Read

    I found the book to be very interesting and recommended it to other reading friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    Fun

    As usual he does a great job. His stories never get stale. Not that his style is like them but his books are like Parker & Mickey Spilane just good fun to read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    a Plague of Secrets

    I've just finished reading the above referenced book.It held my interest to the point I was late for my office managerial position because i couldn't stop reading the book until the last page. It was sensational! Mr. Lescroart, Thank you for exciting moments as you never fail to hold my interest with your anticlimactic endings. The charaters in this book were very clearly brought out and the plot was riveting. wWthout giving the plot away, I was literally at the edge of my seat at the end, reading the action that took place in the Courtroon Whew! I await your next book with exciting anticipation...You are one of my favoarite mystery writers along with others such as Flynn, Crais, Margolin, Katzenbach, Tanenbaum, W.E.B Griffin, Martini, etc. Enjoyment of a mystery experience is achieved by picking up any one of your books... But as an avid fan, I highly recomment a Plague of Secrets to everyone who enjoys a good mystery.Julie De Chiara.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A PUZZLING WHO DONE IT AND WHY?

    EXCELLENT!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2012

    Recommended

    Another entertaining beek in the Dismas Hardy series. I love the characters in this series, and while this book is still entertaining, it is not quite as good as others in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2009

    Lescroart NEVER disappoints.

    If you have not read everything that John Lescroart has written then I would suggest that you make it a point to do so. His characters are real, his plots are intriguing and his insights remarkable. He never fails to tell a great story and to entertain from the first page to the last.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    A Plague of Secrets is a winner!

    John Lescriart is one of my favorite writers, and his newest book is his best in a LONG time.

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  • Posted August 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    John Lescroart Does it Again!

    Love the Dismas Hardy series - this one does not disappoint. Lescroart completely surprises with the ending - did not see it coming. Anxiously await his next one!

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  • Posted July 28, 2009

    Lescroart's worst book

    I've read all of Lescroart's novels; have enjoyed them all until now. This one is thoroughly disappointing. Poor, stilted, contrived writing and plotting. Some inexcusable verbatim repetition of character descriptions at different points in the text. A totally forgettable story. I hope this is not a sign that Lescroart can't be depended on for a good read going forward.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is a terrific Hardy-Glitsky tale with several exciting subplots

    In San Francisco, an unknown sniper shoots and kills Bay Beans West coffee shop manager Dylan Volger. The police find Dylan carrying marijuana and growing weed in his home; they also find his clientele includes highly placed local politicians. -------------

    The cops suspect the Haight-Ashbury coffee shop owner, Maya Townshend as the culprit. Besides being the niece of the city's mayor and her sister being a city supervisor, Maya was paying her ex-convict manager an exorbitant salary to run a coffee shop. The investigators Bracco and Schiff think she tired to kill her former college lover to end his blackmailing of her related to his marijuana sales that U.S. District attorney Jerry Glass insists paid for her expensive home as she was the senior weed mover. Glass sees a boost to his career especially if he adds asset forfeiture to convicting her. Defense attorney Dismas Hardy defends his client whom the media has hung as a drug dealing adulteress killer on two murder counts, drug dealing and more based on motive and no physical evidence.-------------

    This is a terrific Hardy-Glitsky tale with several exciting subplots including Abe's son in a coma and the cop being at the courtroom for a final sort of like Perry Mason twist (without the confession) from out of the headlines in Georgia. The story line is fast-paced, but it is the characters especially the plausible support cast to include the two murder victims who turn PLAGUE OF SECRETS into a super legal thriller.----------

    Harriet Klausner

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    Posted January 17, 2010

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    Posted January 10, 2010

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    Posted December 31, 2009

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    Posted January 8, 2010

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