Just because San Francisco attorney Dismas Hardy’s friend Lt. Abe Glitsky’s been forced out as chief of SFPD Homicide doesn’t mean he can’t go back to work—as an independent investigator for Hardy himself, with all the complications fans would expect.
Katie Chase, a client of Hardy’s family-counselor wife, Frannie, has been reported missing by her husband, Deputy Sheriff Hal Chase, who works as a prison guard. When Hal calls in his stepmother, Ruth Chase, instead of Katie’s parents, Curt and Carli Dunne, to help with his two small children, he risks tearing his family even further apart. Hal himself is behind his wife’s disappearance, Curt and Carli darkly intimate, and the discovery of Katie’s corpse close to the family home gives more credence to their charges. Hal hires Hardy to represent him, and since Hardy’s regular investigator is away on vacation, he asks Glitsky to investigate. So far the case looks much more like a straightforward whodunit than Lescroart’s large-scale studies of Bay Area political corruption (The Ophelia Cut, 2013, etc.). But that all changes when Glitsky begins looking into a rash of suspicious activity at the jail, especially the fatal slip and fall of inmate Alanos Tussaint. Probing ever more deeply, Glitsky links nefarious County Sheriff Burt Cushing and Adam Foster, his chief deputy, to both the allegations of illegal violence in the jail and an unusually nasty coverup. Ordered by Hardy to stick to collecting evidence he can use in court, Glitsky, concluding that “the facts of the case cried out for obsession,” announces his determination to see justice done whatever the cost. The cost promptly rises.
Glitsky isn’t the only one who’s in for a bumpy ride, for beneath the cathartic outburst of homicides are more perps than you can waggle a Taser at. The investigation, heartfelt but untidy, ranks in the middle range among Hardy and Glitsky’s caseload.