I am famous in my family for saying everything's "too long." Even a movie needs a good editor. What director can be hard-nosed enough to chop up her or his self-perceived perfect final cut?
Well, the Dismas Hardy books are the exception to my rule. For example, The Hearing could arguably be called slightly too long. But to me, a thick book featuring Dismas Hardy (and/or the characters around him) is a delight.
Once in a while I have to go back and check just who exactly one of the characters is, but Lescroart, at least so far, has a firm hold on his plot and protagonists. Hardy and his wife and children, and their friends and co-workers, are so interesting. It would be incorrect to call Lescroart's books "cosy mysteries," a phrase I have heard used for some British novels. But the settings in the homes of the characters, their unique personal quirks, the offices where people work, not to mention the wonderful environs of San Francisco, make these books the kind you want to curl up with on a cold winter night (not to mention a warm summer day).
Is the book far fetched? Only slightly. A poem is supposed to be the concentration and distillation of many melding thoughts, concepts, ideas. A book is like that. All the things could happen, maybe not so many packed into a relatively short space and time frame, but the writer must be licensed to do this else the story could really run on forever.
I can't remember the first Lescroart book I ever read, but I think perhaps it was not a Dismas Hardy one. No matter, I was hooked. Unfortunately I did not make a note of the author's name and had to wait till I came across more books by him. I will say that the Dismas Hardy books are more enjoyable when read in sequence, as I'm doing now, and when I've read them all I'll be frustrated if more haven't been produced by then..
One of Lescroart's strength's is his sense of humour. The repartee between characters is often downright funny. He has ongoing situations that I look forward to with gusto: the sour-faced secretary and guard dog for David Freeman, Hardy's landlord with the brilliant legal mind...the literally gut-wrenching specials of the day at Lou's restaurant. They say that one of the hardest things to do is to write humour. Personally I think that it's something some writers can do, and some just can't. Lescroart has the requisite gold dust.
I liked the fact in this book that Hardy's friend Abe Glitsky meets and hooks up with his new love, Treya Ghent. When you don't read books in order, some of these things are slightly confusing. It can't be helped, even if the writer adds a phrase or two of explanation.
But do columnists really write such angry columns as the ones Hardy's friend Jeff Elliot writes? I'm going to read my newspaper more carefully now to see if Canadian columnists are as blunt. Maybe I can believe that old saw that Canadians are really nice (an opinion held by Canadians, if no one else). Are we also less litigious? I don't know. We've had some shocking examples of sloppiness and just plain evil in our political and judiciary systems. I digress. But I was glad to see the Elliots back again.
I can recommend this book. Highly.