After dishing out 20-plus cases to San Francisco attorney Dismas Hardy and his friends and relations (The Fall, 2015, etc.), Lescroart pens a stand-alone whose Bay Area is just as tense and treacherous even if you’re not part of the justice system.
Inspector Beth Tully, SFPD, is part of that system, of course. But her best friend, MBA housewife Kate Jameson, is far outside it, at least until she confides in Beth that she’s been fantasizing about a man she and her husband, Ron, met the other night at the home of Ron’s law partner, Geoff Cooke, and his wife, Bina, a man whose last name she doesn’t even know. Beth naturally tells her to forget about him; Kate naturally phones Bina and gets his name and phone number; one thing leads to another; and in record time, Kate and attorney Peter Ash are bedded down in the discreet Meridien Hotel. Since neither wants to hurt their families, they both promise that their one-afternoon stand will remain just that and that neither one will say a word. Finis—except that Kate, who won’t let the affair go, starts calling Peter again, producing exactly the effects she swore she’d avoid. Meanwhile, life goes on: domestic complications await Peter, his wife, Jill, and their high school twins, Eric and Tyler; a gang of terrorists shoots up the Ferry Building, seriously wounding both Kate and Beth; and six months later, police fish Peter’s body out of San Francisco Bay, maybe a gunshot suicide, maybe not, triggering a search for whomever might have been responsible for his death and the other deaths that follow.
Lescroart manages the first movement of this cautionary tale by mixing his pitches with exquisite control. Once the homicide investigation kicks in, things become altogether more routine, though he still has a few nifty surprises in store for fans who’d expect nothing less.