The Barnes & Noble Review
Following closely on the heels of 2006's The Hunt Club, John Lescroart crafts another San Franciscobased thriller around a case involving a popular writer wrongfully accused of murdering his wife -- and the attorney who will do anything to clear his name.
Stuart Gorman, a bestselling outdoors writer who advocates spiritual healing through nature, and his maverick doctor wife, Caryn Dryden, have been headed for divorce for years. But now, with their only child packed off to college, Caryn finally drops the D-word on Gorman, who erupts and retreats to their secluded mountain getaway to cool down and reevaluate his quickly unraveling life. When he returns a few days later, however, he finds his wife very naked and very dead in the hot tub. He immediately calls the authorities; but when the police arrive, Gorman quickly becomes the prime suspect in the bizarre death. Numerous domestic disturbances, an impending divorce, a multimillion-dollar insurance policy, allegations of infidelity, and a neighbor who allegedly saw someone in Gorman's vehicle leave the scene of the crime in the middle of the night all point to the successful writer being a successful murderer as well. Enter Gina Roake, a 47-year-old defense attorney who, emerging from a long mourning period after a crushing personal loss, has decided to "attack life" once again...
Longtime fans of Lescroart's previous novels will notice numerous familiar characters -- homicide inspector Devin Juhle, private investigator Wyatt Hunt, et al. -- playing important secondary roles in this page-turning thriller, which cleverly plants the seeds of a steamy new story line in the novel's conclusion. Paul Goat Allen
Bestseller Lescroart's latest legal thriller falls short of its recent predecessors (The Hunt Club, etc.), after a promising opening. Successful outdoor author Stuart Gorman finds himself the prime suspect in the murder of his wife, Caryn, whose nude body he discovers near their hot tub at their San Francisco home after returning from a weekend at his mountain retreat. Feeling that he has nothing to hide, Stuart is frank about the tensions in his marriage, and those admissions, coupled with a history of domestic disturbance and a huge life insurance payout, prompt a close friend, California state assemblyman Jedd Conley, to recommend a lawyer, even before Stuart's arrest. The attorney, Gina Roake, is eager to sink her teeth into a major case as a way of overcoming a traumatic personal loss, and she soon turns investigator when evidence suggests that something amiss in Caryn's professional life as a doctor may have triggered her death. Unremarkable courtroom scenes and a clumsy gimmick to uncover the real killer make for a less than compelling resolution. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gina Rourke, a partner at Dismas Hardy's firm, is eager to prove that Stuart Gorman didn't kill his wife, even though he had asked for a divorce and is now on the run. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The author's latest legal thriller assigns a starring role to Gina Roake, yet another in his ever-expanding corps of regulars from the San Francisco justice system. Even though she'd just told him she wanted a divorce, and even though he told a traffic cop who tagged him for speeding that he was leaving town so that he wouldn't kill his wife, nature writer Stuart Gorman can't understand why the police regard him as their prime suspect after she's found drowned in their hot tub. It's true that Stuart is the person who found her the next morning, pulled her out and tried to administer CPR to a corpse already stiff with rigor mortis. And it's true that Dr. Caryn Dryden's death makes him a multi-millionaire. But he couldn't possibly have killed Caryn, he points out, because he was up at Tamarack Lake when she died. In that case, Insp. Sgt. Devin Juhle wants to know, how could a neighbor have identified Stuart's SUV pulling into his garage at 11:30 p.m. and leaving again an hour later? It must be a mistake, replies the suspect, who doesn't even want to retain counsel because he's convinced that the best way to clear himself is to play detective. Not until his old college roommate, California Assemblyman Jedd Conley, persuades him that hiring an attorney is no admission of guilt, does he sign on Gina, a partner of franchise linchpin Dismas Hardy (The Second Chair, 2004, etc.). Gina, a former prosecutor, has never defended a murder case before, and apart from the weight of the evidence, Stuart gives every sign of being the most clueless client in history. Lescroart cuts back on his trademark sociological sweep to deliver the mid-grade pleasures of the genre: a slow start, realisticallyrepetitious interrogations, some crackling courtroom scenes and a surprise ending that will catch at least half his readers unawares. Agent: Barney Karpfinger/Karpfinger Agency