A CERTAIN JUSTICE by John T. Lescroart


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 Lescroart swings for the fences with a West Coast take on The Bonfire of the Vanities. A black lawyer who accidentally locks himself out of his BMW sets off his own car alarmand gets lynched by an angry mob already outraged at the freeing of a murderous carjacker. Kevin Shea, who tries to save the man's life by passing him a knife, gets identified as the ringleader for his efforts. Now riots are erupting all over San Francisco; Senator Loretta Wager, whose stock has been falling in the African-American community, joins forces with demagogic activist Philip Mohandas to recoup her ratings by demanding summary justice; and a dragnet is out for the terrified Shea, who wants to turn himself in but fears he won't live long enough to tell his story in court. Shea's only hope rests in Wes Farrell, the ex-lawyer he met in his history class at SFSU, and Lt. Abe Glitsky, the half-black head of homicide, who's already begun to spot holes in the Shea-baiters' suspiciously dovetailing stories. But Farrell's not sure he wants to have anything to do with Shea, and Glitsky's outflanked by Wager, his former lover, who's dragging everybody into the witch- hunt, from the FBI to her daughter Elaine, the prosecutor who catches the case. The political circus gets so crowded that Glitsky's buddy Dismas Hardy, lawyer-hero of Hard Evidence (1993) and The 13th Juror (1994), only manages a walk-on. The real star here is Senator Wager, a career politician convinced that every compromise she makes, every scapegoat she throws to the dogs, is in a good cause. It's like seeing Richard Nixon reincarnated as a black woman. Not as funny as Tom Wolfe's East Coast conflagration, but just as mordant and electric. A richly satisfying thriller, and a breakthrough book for Lescroart. (First printing of 125,000; $150,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild featured alternate selection; author tour)

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 1995
ISBN: 1-55611-445-1
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Donald Fine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1995


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