My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In The Suspect, John Lescroart puts the spotlight on a previously marginal character in this series, that of Defense Attorney Gina Roake. A partner in the firm of Dismas Hardy, who started the series, Gina’s had plenty of courtroom experience, but none on a homicide case. She cuts her teeth on the defense of Stewart Gorman, a writer of wilderness books. When he returned home from his cabin, where he had retreated to recover from wife Caryn’s announcement that she wanted a divorce, Stewart finds her lifeless body in their hot tub. Naturally the police, lead by detective Devin Juhle, consider the husband the prime suspect, and the circumstantial evidence does seem to support that theory. But Caryn had many complicated business relationships, and Gina believes Stewart’s claims of innocence. With the assistance of the law firm’s multi-talented investigator, Wyatt Hunt, she makes it a point to search for another viable suspect. But for the reader, Stewart’s innocence is not so clear, and he surely must be one of the most ingenuous, not to say stupid, defendants ever to grace the pages of such a book.
The Suspect is fast paced, logically laid out. Among author Lescroart’s strengths are his ability to create sympathetic, credible characters, punchy dialogue, and easy to follow courtroom scenes, even when there are no explosive revelations to be had. There are is an unforeseen but welcome surprise at the end, one that promises some interesting developments in future novels. Solid, smart, and compelling, this is a legal thriller that holds one’s interest from start to finish.