978-0-7838-0344-9 / 9780783803449

The Mercy Rule (Thorndike Core)


Publisher:MacMillan Publishing Company.



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About the book:

Dismas Hardy, the dart-playing, saloon-keeping lawyer who is one of John Lescroart's most consistently interesting and appealing heroes, faces a dilemma: if he can prove to a jury that Graham Russo helped his father Sal kill himself because the sick old man asked him to, a liberal San Francisco jury will probably vote to acquit Graham of first-degree murder. Hardy would love to plead manslaughter to escape the wrath of the state's attorney general who wants to nail Graham. However, despite the evidence against him, Graham insists he didn't do it. What is a lawyer to do and who can he believe?

Although Lescroart leads the reader up and down a few blind alleys before the truth comes out, the mystery's not the thing here. It's the characters and their back stories that make this such a good read. Foremost among them is Graham, who washed out of pro baseball and walked out of a promising law career before finding the father who once deserted him long ago. The core of the story is Graham's relationship with Sal, who's losing his mind to Alzheimer's but may still be a threat to a federal judge who was once his closest friend. Then there's Sarah Evans, the homicide cop who falls in love with her suspect. For good measure, there are some changes in the lives of those characters who are familiar to readers from other Dismas Hardy adventures-- Abe Glitsky, the half Jewish, half black cop; Drysdale, the D.A. who's been beaten in court by Dismas in previous outings; Frannie, Dismas's wife; Moses, his brother- in-law, and Dismas himself, who becomes more interesting every time Lescroart brings him back. While the pacing is languorous and the denouement not as tight as it might be, The Mercy Rule provides a complex and satisfying reading experience. --Jane Adams

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