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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.)
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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
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