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3.6 180
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,


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.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.34(w) x 8.46(h) x 1.06(d)
Age Range:
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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Damage 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 180 reviews.
markpsadler More than 1 year ago
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.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
AndyAC More than 1 year ago
"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.
Russ_Ilg More than 1 year ago
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
HumbleFloyd More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book a couple times and still a great read. Great, modern, true crime book with wonderful characters. Highly recommend :)
P-king More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually love his books, that is why I bought this. It really is not good maybe he needs new lawyers or something
Anonymous 3 months ago
Skip2780 More than 1 year ago
I've been a fan for a long time.....right up until this book. The author takes a radical departure from his usual style and focuses on cruelty and the degradation of women. I became so disgusted I stopped reading it and deleted it from my library. Sorry to see you go down that road, John. You're better than that. If you decide to go back to your old style, let me know. Until then, I'll be taking a pass on all your future works.
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Another well written, gripping story.
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