Damage Paperback – Jan 3 2012
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About 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.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
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.
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.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Finally, though, this great writer has given his fans the kind of book that first made us like his novels and follow these series. DAMAGE is absolutely brilliant. It is truly on the same level as Lescroart's breath-taking Guilt (Abe Glitsky), The Second Chair (Dismas Hardy), The Hearing, and others. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading (or rather, gulping down) this great novel.
Gone is the inane, goody-two-shoes investigator Wyatt Hunt and his coterie of whiny friends and employees. The focus of this novel is back on Glitsky, a great policeman and a complex, fascinating human being who is as unlike the one-dimensional Hunt as anybody could be. Wes Farrell, who, in my opinion, is the most endearing and quirky character ever created by Lescroart is also one of the protagonists here. Believe it or not, Farrell is now the District Attorney. It is a great challenge for this former defense attorney to learn to see the world from the prosecutorial side of the courtroom.
Farrell and Glitsky have to work together as the DA and the Chief of Homicide. Still, the case of Ro Curtlee, a scion of a wealthy and powerful family who was convicted for rape and murder many years ago but has now been released on bail pending a retrial, puts a big strain on the friendship between Farrell and Glitsky, as well as on Wes's relationship with his girlfriend Sam. It's become an overused cliche to say that a book is impossible to put down, but that is truly the case with DAMAGE. The very first pages grip you with suspense which doesn't subside until the very end of the book.
Lescroart gives us his trademark courtroom scenes, which is what he does best, in this great novel. There is literally not a boring paragraph in this fast-paced book that keeps surprising you at every turn. We see the fascinating power play between San Francisco's new mayor, the city's new Chief of police, and our friends Farrell, and Glitsky. There is corruption, there are failings of the judicial system, there is mystery, there is human drama, there are complex characters - in short, this novel offers everything we have come to expect from Lescroart's great series.
The Curtlee family are rich, snobbish, spoiled, power brokers, who own a large San Francisco newspaper. They use their influence and money to attempt to control politics and anything that may affect their rich dysfunctional family. The *DYSFUNCTIONAL-SUPER-STAR-OF-THE-FAMILY* is Roland "Ro" Curtlee who is the perverted-despicable centerpiece of this crime saga. Ro just got out of prison after serving nine years of a much lengthier sentence on a technicality... after being convicted for the rape and murder of a housekeeper that worked in his parents' home. Almost instantaneously upon Ro's release the key witness in the trial is found murdered in a case of arson in her apartment. Before you can blink an eye, Janice Durbin, the wife of the lead juror who swung the deciding votes to convict Ro is found murdered in her home also consumed by arson.
The character that Lescroart resuscitates along with his own writing "cred" is our old friend Homicide Chief Abe Glitsky. Along with the author's recent decline, poor Abe was being dragged down from his former fiery heights... and not just due to his literary heart attack and battle wounds. If Lescroart was going to mount a stylistic comeback... what better fictional character than Abe to lead the assault. As old time Lescroart fans know by heart... Abe, part Jewish, part African American, never met a scowl he didn't like... and of course there is that *INFAMOUS* scar between his lips. Throughout the author's long history it is made clear that Abe's scar is akin to a strong beacon of light on a lighthouse warning ships of disaster. In Abe's case... when the author says in an infinite amount of ways... "WHILE THE SCAR BETWEEN HIS LIPS GREW MORE PRONOUNCED, AN ANGRY WHITE LINE." ... the reader knows immediately that *Mount Glitsky* is boiling with molten anger... and the villagers better look out. Well, in this excellent tale that white scar glows at least ten times. Along with the brutal escapades of Ro, there are numerous additional sub-plots to keep you guessing, along with a generous portion of real action and mayhem. There is also the behind the scenes investigative "chops" of trying to track down the last viable witness, who has tried to disappear. A sign of the times for long time Lescroart fans is that as encouraging as it is witnessing Abe's resurrection... it's just as encouraging witnessing the minimization of Dismas Hardy which means (thank goodness) that there is only one mention of his momentum killing *TEN-POUND-CAST-IRON-PAN*.
Lescroart is back... and I'm glad to say that I am once again looking forward to his next book.
Wes Farrell has won the job of district attorney for the city of San Francisco. As he settles in he is called by the very rich parents of Roland Curtlee. They want Wes to keep the bail low enough for their 'innocent' boy to get out of jail. Here is a man who has been in jail for 9 years for the rape and murder of a woman. For some obscure reason and probable political interference, his case is thrown out. Wes does not need this harassment, but it is just the beginning. A judge grants Ro bail, and soon all Hell breaks loose. It is inferred in many instances that justice can be bought via political favors, and the money of the wealthy. It has been known that money can buy you freedom, but never so blantantly as shown in this novel. Justice is up for grabs.
Several detectives and their boss are introduced to try and figure out how to keep this mess from increasing the body count. The bodies are murdered in a similar manner to the method Ro had used in previous murders. The rest of the novel introduces us to the families of those involved. The novel essentially surrounds the search for evidence to convict Ro Curtlee for good.
I have not read John Lescroart before, and it seems his writing is entertaining. However, if I can guess 'who done it', it is not for me. And, the true ending is so unbelievable that it takes your breath away.
Recommended if you like mysteries. prisrob 01-07-11
A Plague of Secrets
Treasure Hunt (Wyatt Hunt Novel)
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.
Over at least ten novels John Lescroat has created a fictional San Francisco world with recurring characters from politics, the law and the police. We are treated to their struggles with legal, moral and ethical issues as they fight crime and punish criminals. In this story Wes Farrell, a defense attorney and law partner of Dismas Hardy takes center stage. Farrell has been recently elected as the DA in San Francisco. Farrell is confronted with an influential newspaper owning family (the Cutlers) whose son Roland, a convicted murderer has just had his prison term ended because of a technicality in his prior trial. Farrell, not settling easily into his new role as chief prosecutor, doesn't fight to prevent Roland's release on bail. Despite pleas from the police (Inspector Glitsky) and others in the DA's office Farrell allows Roland's release as he awaits a new trial. Mayhem ensues. A witness from the first trail is murdered; an investigator from the DA's office is killed. The jury foreman from the first trial, who was instrumental in ensuring Roland's conviction, finds his wife murdered also.
There is a brisk pace to this novel and the characters have a refreshing depth to them. The main characters have their personal stories in addition to their professional roles. The setting, San Francisco is well drawn, the weather is appropriately poor and the characters are continually looking for a parking spot - a detail that rings true. The plotting isn't complex. For the most part the killer is known and the story explores the legal issues around getting Roland back in jail. There is a subplot related to one of the murders but I admit to figuring that one out early in the story. I had a real problem with the way the author resolved the story. After spending most of the novel trying to work the legal system to lock up this guy in the end the author took the easy way out and had the entire family murdered by a maid who had been raped by Roland. The secondary plot about the murder of the jury foreman's wife is resolved with a little more suspense.
While this chapter in the story of San Francisco crime fighting community contains the cut throat politics and usual cynicism we come to expect from these guys it is not a particularly compelling mystery. Lescroat fans will not rate this as one of the stronger books in this series but still a page turner and worth a read. Three and a half stars from me.