Dutton, Apr 2001, 25.95, 488 pp.
High-ranking police officers often receive calls to come to a crime scene in the middle of the night as just happened to San Francisco's Lieutenant Abraham Glitsky. Someone killed attorney Elaine Wager, a candidate for a judgeship, but this trip is personal as Elaine is Abraham's illegitimate daughter, a fact she never knew. He informs his staff that he expects them to “sweat” a confession from Cole Burgess, a two-bit junkie.
They succeed and book Cole for first-degree murder. Cole's sister hires Dismas Hardy to at least obtain drug treatment so he does not linger in a cell going cold turkey. He agrees to handle that, but nothing more until the ambitious DA decides to use Cole to further her political ambitions by seeking the death penalty. Dismas takes on the role of defense attorney because he begins to have doubts that Cole is the killer.
THE HEARING is one of the year's best legal thrillers as it entertains and shocks in a believable manner. John Lescroart masterly creates characters that are hard on the outside, but contain a soft spot inside their gut. The well-designed story line uses the motivations of the cast to propel the action forward, especially the humorous duels between Dismas and Glitsky. A great storyteller tells quite a story.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner