A Plague of Secrets

Overview

In a multiple murder case plagued by lies and deception, there is one terrible secret that defense attorney Dismas Hardy is duty-bound to protect. Even if the price is his client's life.
When Dylan Vogler, the charming manager of the popular Bay Beans West coffee shop in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, is gunned down near the store, inspectors are shocked to discover that his knapsack is overflowing with high-grade marijuana. It soon ...

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A Plague of Secrets (Dismas Hardy Series #13)

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Overview

In a multiple murder case plagued by lies and deception, there is one terrible secret that defense attorney Dismas Hardy is duty-bound to protect. Even if the price is his client's life.
When Dylan Vogler, the charming manager of the popular Bay Beans West coffee shop in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, is gunned down near the store, inspectors are shocked to discover that his knapsack is overflowing with high-grade marijuana. It soon becomes clear that San Francisco's A-list flocked to Bay Beans West for more than a pricy caffeine fix.
Maya Townshend is the absentee owner of the shop—and the beautiful and extremely wealthy socialite niece of the city's mayor. When she becomes Dismas Hardy's client, he thinks it will be a simple hand-holding exercise until the police identify a suspect. But then another of Maya's past acquaintances turns up murdered, and the newspapers begin to reveal the names of the coffee shop's celebrity, political, and even law-enforcement clientele. Hardy begins to question how much his client knew about what was actually going on inside her business—and whether she was also Vogler's lover.
All the while Hardy's best friend, homicide lieutenant Abe Glitsky, sick with worry over his severely injured youngest child, barely functions at his job. Without his supervision, his inspectors are prey to the machinations of the many power brokers with interests in the case. Ambitious prosecutors close in on Maya, and as her trial gets under way, Hardy discovers that his client harbors an explosive secret. A secret that Dismas Hardy is privilege-bound to protect.
Perceptive, fast-paced, and masterfully plotted, A Plague of Secrets represents John Lescroart working at the absolute top of his game.

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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: 9781491544549
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 10/21/2014
  • Series: Dismas Hardy Series , #13
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.50 (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

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