GUILT by John T. Lescroart


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 Murder stalks a go-getting San Francisco lawyer who just wants to be left alone so he can have it all. From the moment Mark Dooher first catches sight of law student Christina Carrera, he's convinced that he's got to have her. There are obstacles, of course: His old friend and colleague Wes Farrell disapproves; Christina's boyfriend works for Mark's own firm; and neither Mark's wife Sheila nor his principal employer, the Archdiocese of San Francisco, would care for the idea if Mark ever brought it up. Instead, he finagles Christina into the firm and promotes her boyfriend to oblivion in L.A., pooh-poohs Wes's objections, and keeps Sheila and the Archbishop in the dark. Everything goes fine until a pesky lawyer who's threatened to attach the Archbishop's name to a scandalous lawsuit gets stabbed to death shortly after turning down the hefty settlement Mark had been authorized to offer, and Sgt. Abe Glitsky fastens on Mark as the killer. Despite Glitsky's certainty, there's no physical evidence linking Mark to the murder, and the weight of the Archdiocese is able to keep the case from going to trial. Glitsky does arrest Mark two months later, however, when Sheila dies in an apparent robbery attempt. The sides are clear-cut: Christina, who joins Wes at the defense table at Mark's request, is absolutely certain Mark couldn't have done it; Glitsky is equally certain that he did (but then he's maddened with grief over the agonizing death of his wife). It'll all come out in court, right? Not exactly--because as the title indicates, the usually reliable Lescroart (A Certain Justice, 1995, etc.) wants to explore the dissonance between legal and actual guilt. The exploration, though, is surprisingly ham-handed and overextended, mainly because the author himself can't quite decide how guilty to make his protagonist look, and the richly promising gallery of characters has nothing to do but wait for a shrilly melodramatic finale. ($125,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-385-31655-0
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1997


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