Dutton, Jan 2003, 25.95, 400 pp.
In San Francisco, Laura Wright and her drama teacher Mr. Mooney are killed in his apartment. Laura's lover, Andrew Bartlett, the father of her unborn child is arrested two months after the double homicide and charged with special circumstances murder. Amy Wu, an associate in the law firm in which Dismas Hardy is the managing partner, takes the case even though she believes her client is guilty.
With his parents' permission, Amy plea bargains for her seventeen year old client so that he will plead guilty if he's charged as a minor. She explains to Andrew that he will be remanded to a juvenile youth facility for eight years and then would be a free man. Andrew agrees to Amy's suggestion since the evidence against him is so overwhelming, but at the last minute he declares his innocence. Dismas takes a more active role in the case, seeking evidence, interviewing witnesses and acting as THE SECOND CHAIR in Andrew's upcoming hearing.
No doubt about it, Dismas Hardy is the twenty-first century's Perry Mason only more personable since the audience sees his interactions with his employees, friends, wife and children. THE SECOND CHAIR is a great legal thriller with a cast of characters easy to like. The intrinsic workings of the California judicial system specially when it comes to the rights of a juvenile is fascinating to observe. John Lescroart's latest work, THE FIRST CHAIR is definitely heading to the New York Times bestseller list.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner