“How did your mother die?” For San Francisco PI Wyatt Hunt, that enigmatic text message triggers his biggest, and most personal, case—and it’s a great start to bestseller Lescroart’s outstanding fourth Hunt novel (after 2010’s The Treasure Club). Hunt, an orphan with few details of his birth parents, soon learns that his birth name was Wyatt Carson; that his mother, Margaret, was murdered; and that his father, Kevin, was charged with the crime but never convicted. He also receives, from the priest who married his parents, a letter from Kevin asserting his innocence. Lescroart deftly handles a large supporting cast and makes fine use of the city of San Francisco while cleverly incorporating a piece of real history into the narrative, the infamous Jonestown massacre in Guyana in 1978 (the “People’s Temple” leader Jim Jones had been active in San Francisco). This book succeeds on every level—as a mystery, as a thriller, and as an exploration of its appealing hero. Agent: Barney Karpfinger. (Jan.)
Time for San Francisco private eye Wyatt Hunt to confront the obligatory demons from his past as he searches for the killer of his birth mother. "How did your mother die?" asks an anonymous text message. The founder and principal of The Hunt Club, who's never known who his birth parents were, soon learns at least part of the answer: She was killed 40 years ago, only three years after her marriage to the man who was tried twice for her murder and set free twice by hung juries. Father Don Bernard, the priest who married Margaret and Kevin Carson, has more news for Hunt: an ancient letter from his father swearing his innocence and saying that he's leaving the Bay Area for a job in Texas. The ice-cold trail, lit at first only by the flares of further text messages, turns red-hot when Ivan Orloff, Hunt's newest investigator, gets killed after making what seemed like some pretty routine inquiries. The trail leads from Evie Secrist, Margaret's best friend, back to the Jonestown mass suicide a generation ago, and forward to Evie's ex-husband Lionel Spencer. But it ends again, frustratingly, with Spencer's own death, which Hunt's old SFPD frenemy, homicide inspector Devin Juhle, is all too eager to write off as suicide. Will Hunt and Tamara Dade, his veteran assistant and new lover, be able to pick up the scent the cops missed? Most readers will see ahead of Hunt where this is all headed. Nor will many of them consider the substitution of the hero's back story for Lescroart's customary sociological probe of San Francisco corruption (Treasure Hunt, 2010, etc.) an improvement. The scene in which Hunt finally comes face to face with his anonymous informant, however, is transfixing.
“Not only the best Wyatt Hunt novel yet, but one of Lescroart’s best.”—Associated Press
“If you’re hunting for a great book, your quest ends here.”—Providence Journal
“Suspenseful and surprising, full of twists and turns.”—Booklist
“John Lescroart’s writing skills are a national treasure.”—The Huffington Post
“Grisham and Turow remain the two best-known writers in the genre. There is, however, a third novelist at work today who deserves to be considered alongside Turow and Grisham. His name is John Lescroart.”—Chicago Sun-Times
In Lescroart's latest Wyatt Hunt thriller, the successful San Francisco—based private detective receives a text message from an unknown party asking if he knows how his birth mother died. Orphaned and raised by a caring foster family, Hunt never had an interest in finding his biological parents—until now. The message sets Hunt on a touching and tragic quest for the truth, which may cost him everything. VERDICT Well read by Eric Dawe, the story contains enough twists and turns to hold the listener's interest. As in previous Hunt novels, the city is as much of a character as the wide range of police officers and PIs filling the narrative. Recommended to Lescroart's fans and others who enjoy fast-paced detective stories. ["Devoted Lescroart fans may enjoy the work, but thrill-seekers might want to look elsewhere," read the less-than-positive review of the New York Times best-selling Dutton hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 1/20/12.—Ed.]—Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ. Parkersburg Lib.