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Suspect [Hardcover]

John Lescroart
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 16 2007
On the heels of The Hunt Club—his biggest bestseller to date—John Lescroart weaves a new story of crime and justice in San Francisco that will keep pages turning and readers guessing from start to dizzying finish.

When Dr. Caryn Dryden is found floating dead in her hot tub, homicide inspector Devin Juhle targets a suspect close to home: her husband, Stuart Gorman. After all, Stuart was recently asked for a divorce . . . and he stands to gain millions in insurance. His alibi—that he was at his cabin on Tamarack Lake that weekend—doesn’t keep him out of hot water. But maybe a shrewd attorney will.

Gina Roake, a partner in Dismas Hardy’s firm, is eager to take on such a high-profile case, especially when the client’s innocence seems so easy to prove. Yet the more time she spends with Stuart, the more complicated her feelings become; she feels strangely drawn to him at first, then has to confront the possibility of a dark history lurking in his past. Desperate to know the truth, Gina calls in Wyatt Hunt to investigate. Before the facts are in, her client is on the lam; he’s already been tried in the press, and so he’s certain the courtroom won’t bring him any mercy either. Racing to a stunning conclusion as Gina uncovers disturbing answers, The Suspect is a chilling story of secrets, love, and lies.

Building on The Hunt Club’s phenomenal success, The Suspect showcases the writing of a master of suspense at the height of his art.


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From Publishers Weekly

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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Legal-thriller powerhouse Lescroart rounds up the usual suspects in his latest effort, the story of a man accused of murdering his wife. Investigator Wyatt Hunt and police detective Devin Juhle (from The Hunt Club, 2005) put in an appearance, as does longtime series regular Dismas Hardy, but the lead goes to Gina Roake, an attorney in Hardy's firm. Roake defends Stuart Gordon, an outdoor writer, whose wife is found dead in their home--while Gordon was out of town, alone. But defending a man she is not sure about isn't easy, and it gets harder when Gina begins to feel an attraction toward her client. Lescroart's prose has always ranged from smooth to clumsy ("he realized he was probably culpable of dishonesty"), but this time readers familiar with his work may find themselves wincing more often than usual. Still, the story is rock solid, and Gina Roake makes a nice addition to the author's roster of regulars. Stylistic flaws aside, this is a satisfying offering from an acknowledged brand name in the legal-thriller business. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
On a clear, still and silent Sunday at the end of the second week in September, a fifty-year-old outdoor writer named Stuart Gorman sat on a flat-topped rock at the edge of a crystalline lake set in a bowl of granite near the California Desolation Wilderness Area a few miles southwest of Lake Tahoe. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST-HEAR THRILLER Jan. 24 2007
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Versatile actor/director David Collaci who also narrated this author's Dead Irish (the first book with Dismas Hardy) has an easy-listening stage trained voice plus the ability to easily segue between characters. So deft is he at this that at times it almost seems that one is listening to a cast of readers rather than one. The conversations and confrontations between the two main characters are absolutely riveting when read by Colacci.

With each succeeding novel, now 18 in all, John Lescroart (pronounced "less-kwah" so you can tell your friends about this audiobook) garners a host of new fans. He is an author one cannot ignore as his plots are scrupulously drawn, his characters likable, and he choreographs the escalation of suspense masterfully.

Gina Roake, a 47-year-old partner in Dismas Hardy's law firm and a secondary character in previous Lescroart tales, is given center stage in this story of truth and justice. Still reeling from the death of her beloved fiancé, an icon in San Francisco's law world, she has gone camping by a Sierra Nevada alpine lake to be alone and, hopefully, heal.

Across the lake outdoor writer Stuart Gorman has a very different reason for seeking tranquility - his wife, Dr. Caryn Dryden, had just announced that she wanted a divorce. This was a shocking, infuriating kick in the head to Stuart as he had long ago realized that their marriage was not all he wished it but had determined to remain faithful - they had made promises to each other and he, for one, intended to keep them.

Nonetheless, he was furious when Caryn as much as said he no longer mattered to her and he took off for their cabin at Echo Lake.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  58 reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CRACKLING COURTROOM SCENES AND A SURPRISING FINISH Jan. 16 2007
By Gail Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
With each succeeding novel, now 18 in all, John Lescroart (pronounced "less-kwah" so you can tell your friends about this book) garners a host of new fans. He is an author one cannot ignore as his plots are scrupulously drawn, his characters likable, and he choreographs the escalation of suspense masterfully.

Gina Roake, a 47-year-old partner in Dismas Hardy's law firm and a secondary character in previous Lescroart tales, is given center stage in this story of truth and justice. Still reeling from the death of her beloved fiancé, an icon in San Francisco's law world, she has gone camping by a Sierra Nevada alpine lake to be alone and, hopefully, heal.

Across the lake outdoor writer Stuart Gorman has a very different reason for seeking tranquility - his wife, Dr. Caryn Dryden, had just announced that she wanted a divorce. This was a shocking, infuriating kick in the head to Stuart as he had long ago realized that their marriage was not all he wished it but had determined to remain faithful - they had made promises to each other and he, for one, intended to keep them.

Nonetheless, he was furious when Caryn as much as said he no longer mattered to her and he took off for their cabin at Echo Lake. Once there, he vented his anger by polishing off half a quart of vodka then going a few rounds with the cabin - plates ricocheted off walls, chairs were broken and framed family photos smashed. Unable to find any peace, he decided to drive back to the city for a final showdown with Caryn.

It was not a showdown but it was final as he found Caryn dead, her nude body by their hot tub. Knowing that he had nothing to do with his wife's death, Stuart was frank when interrogated by Sergeant Devin Juhle, admitting that they were not getting along and that she had asked for a divorce. Further, her death will make him a millionaire three times over. To Juhle, if a wife is murdered, the spouse did it. Thus, he has not doubt that Stuart is guilty - all he has to do is prove it.

Upon the advice of his good friend, California Assemblyman Jedd Conley, Stuart hires Gina as his attorney. She jumps at the chance even though she has never defended a murder case. However, as she comes to know Stuart there are a few unpleasant surprises in store for her - he has twice been arrested for domestic violence, he spent a few days alone at the family cabin with Caryn's attractive sister, Debra, a young girl living across the street from Stuart swears she saw him come home at the time Caryn was killed.

As the investigation proceeds it appears that a recent invention of Caryn's awaiting FDA approval may have had something to do with her death. But, who would and perhaps more importantly who could have killed her?

Lescroart treats readers to some of his trademark crackling courtroom scenes, and a surprising, satisfying finish,. In addition, he leaves us to ponder whether or not we are really believed innocent until we're proven guilty.

Don't miss this one!

- Gail Cooke
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Main Character...Same Solid Writing Feb. 3 2007
By John R. Linnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Talk about your weekend from Hell. Try Stuart Gorman's. Stuck in what has become a rather routine, now loveless yet comfortable marriage, Gorman is jolted out of his complacency by his wife's demand for a divorce. They have just become empty nester's as their only child has gone off to college. This, at a time when his wife, a beautiful orthopedic surgeon is about to start a new medical venture with another physician and see FDA approval of a hip prosthesis which she has invented and patented. Gorman makes an adequate but modest income as an outdoor novelist, has been the parent most involved in raising their rather difficult daughter and is not prepared for the divorce demand.

He handles it angrily and badly and goes storming off to a fishing cabin for the weekend, where he gets drunk, trashes the place in his anger and then returns home in the wee hours of Sunday morning to find his wife in their hot tub, both naked and dead.

A slightly over eager police inspector has numerous circumstancial reasons to suspect him of murder which causes him to hire, at the suggestion of a friend, Gina Roake, an attorney in the Dismas Hardy firm to defend his interests.

For the unintiated, Hardy and Police Inspector Abe Glitsky have been the main characters in Lescroat's writings and The Suspect is a departure from that, other than a few cameo appearances by Hardy.

The switch in characters has done nothing to diminish the writing and telling of an intriguing legal thriller/mystery, however as Roake sees her client go from a suspect to the accused, notwithstanding a largely circumstancial case against him and the presence of other, even more likely suspects.

Hopefully, that is enough to whet you interest. Lescroart will do the rest.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Everybody's got something to hide." Feb. 3 2007
By E. Bukowsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A fifty-year old writer named Stuart Gorman is "The Suspect" in John Lescroart's engrossing new thriller. Gorman's marriage to his wife of twenty-two years, Caryn Dryden, had been in trouble for quite a while. She was a brilliant and upwardly mobile orthopedic surgeon whose workaholic lifestyle did not mesh well with her husband's. A few days after Caryn asks Stuart for a divorce, she is found dead in her hot tub, a possible homicide victim. At his own admission, Stuart flew into a rage when Caryn insisted that their marriage was over. However, he denies having any role in his wife's death, claiming that at the time Caryn was killed, he was staying in his rustic cabin where he went to think things over. Upon his return, he found his wife's body and promptly called the police. Unfortunately, Inspector Sergeant Devin Juhle doesn't buy Stuart's story. After all, Gorman had motive and opportunity: he was clearly furious at his wife (who was insured for three million dollars), and his alibi is shaky. An eyewitness claims that she saw his car pull into his garage around the time that Caryn was killed.

Squarely on Stuart's side are his sister-in-law, the beautiful Debra Dryden, and Kymberly, Stuart's troubled eighteen-year-old daughter. The suspect also has an old friend, San Francisco State Assemblyman Jedd Conley, who convinces Stuart to hire criminal defense attorney Gina Roarke to represent him. Until now, Gina played a secondary role in Lescroarts novels. The main characters have usually been criminal defense lawyer Dismas Hardy and his best friend, Abe Glitsky, deputy chief of inspectors in the San Francisco Police Department. Now, forty-seven year old Roarke takes center stage and she is an appealing heroine. Still grieving over the death of her lover, the charismatic David Freeman, Gina finds herself at loose ends. She has difficulty concentrating on work and is reluctant to start dating again. However, taking on Stuart Gorman's case gives Gina the mental and emotional boost that she needs. She is soon convinced that her client is innocent, and she tackles his case with a tenacity and passion that she hasn't felt in years. The reader cannot help but root for Gina Roarke, who is handling her first homicide case and feels nervous and insecure about her ability to get her client off. Gina faces formidable obstacles, including an ambitious assistant DA eager to nail Gorman, and voracious reporters who are quick to try Stuart's case in the press.

Lescroart's cast of characters is varied and well-drawn. Wyatt Hunt, the chief investigator in Gina's law firm, is smart, funny, and supportive, and he capably handles most of the legwork for Gina. Devin Juhle is a dogged cop who stubbornly refuses to chase any leads that point to a suspect other than Gorman. One possible area of inquiry is Caryn's invention, known as the Dryden socket, which she created to repair hip joints. Caryn was about to withdraw the socket because of safety concerns shortly before the FDA was scheduled to grant its approval. Taking the socket off the market would have cost investors a great deal of money. Could this possibly have been a motive for murder? Before he is placed under arrest, Gorman decides to track down and interview some of Caryn's associates to learn more about what was going on in her life in the weeks before she was killed.

"The Suspect" is tightly written, carefully plotted, and fast-paced. It has beautifully written dialogue and a few welcome moments of humor to lighten the mood. Lescroart skillfully examines the psyches of his main characters and exposes the feelings that they keep hidden from public view. He also focuses on the unsavory aspects of human nature, such as duplicity, greed, and ambition, which often lead to violence. The courtroom scenes are compelling and the suspense builds steadily until a series of twists and turns brings the story to a slightly contrived but still satisfying resolution. Giving Gina Roarke her own novel was a smart move; she brings new life to a long-running series that had begun to show signs of age.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting legal thriller Jan. 18 2007
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When he returns to his San Francisco home following a weekend at Tamarack Lake, outdoor author Stuart Gorman finds his naked wife Dr. Caryn Dryden dead near their hot tub. San Francisco Police Department Inspector Sergeant Devin Juhle leads the official investigation. Stuart admits to the homicide detective that Caryn asked for a divorce, that their relationship was filled with domestic trouble and confesses that he hated her at least for this weekend though he also loved her; he has no alibi. More so he will receive a large life insurance settlement so his close friend, California State Assemblyman Jedd Conley recommends he obtain a lawyer because his arrest seems imminent.

Jedd gets his pal the services of attorney Gina Roake, just back from sabbatical following personal tragedy. Though her ego is lifted by being chosen, Gina wonders why her when her client and senator could choose anyone in the city. Still she quickly sends investigator Wyatt Hunt to see if someone can affirm that Stuart was in the Sierra Nevada lake at the time of death and to look closely into Caryn's medical career to see if that had something to do with her homicide. The media accuses Stuart of drowning his wife, which sends the accused on the run; making the case that much more difficult to defend as the jury is already tainted before the trial has begun.

This is an interesting legal thriller with a partner in Dismas Hardy's firm taking the lead on defending the client, convicted by a press frenzy before he even reaches the courtroom. The story line is fast-paced with interesting court scenes and a solid investigation into Caryn's professional connections. Though the ending seems implausible especially the post game twist and to dependent on an opening that Perry Mason would avoid, John Lescroart entertains his fans with this exciting tale.

Harriet Klausner
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Undermined by Main Character Jan. 16 2007
By Terri Rowan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Outdoorsman Stuart Gorman writes about his experiences with nature. When his wife tells him she wants a divorce, he leaves for his weekend camping trip raw in spirit and burning with anger. After returning home, he calls for help. His wife, Dr. Caryn Dryden, is dead.

Gina Roake is a defense attorney looking to get back in the game. Stuart Gorman's apparent status as a suspect in the Dryden murder seems to be a good fit, especially if he's as innocent as he claims to be. As Gina tries to get to the bottom of the investigation, she finds that Stuart has not been completely honest with her. Gina's belief in her client is put to the test, as he makes bad choices that make him look guiltier by the minute.

John Lescroart weaves a multi-layered tale of a marriage gone sour, corporate underhandedness, a single-minded detective, and a defense attorney determined to expose the truth. The premise is intriguing, and it is nicely done, to a point. Unfortunately, this is overshadowed by Stuart Gorman's actions. For a supposedly intelligent character, he makes some exceedingly poor decisions that readers will find hard to believe.

There is no doubt that Lescroart is a talented author with numerous titles under his belt. Ultimately, however, THE SUSPECT is lacking, undermined by the character of Stuart Gorman, as well as a few plot factors that make it difficult to believe in the story. If readers are willing to suspend disbelief a little more than usual, it's not a bad read. But if you can't stand characters that make you swear at their stupidity, this is not the one for you.

Reviewed by Christina Wantz Fixemer

01/15/2007

2.5-Books on WUAT = 3-Stars on Amazon
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