Dead Irish

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By John Lescroart

Dismas Hardy is “divorced, an ex-marine, ex-cop, ex-attorney,” who, more than three years after the death of his infant son, has lost touch with who he is.

When his best-friend and boss at The Little Shamrock bar, Moses McGuire, asks him to use his police experience to follow up on the shooting death of Moses’ brother-in-law Eddie Cochran, Hardy is reluctant.

Eddie had been found shot in the left temple in the parking lot of a Spanish-language newspaper. Eddie was right-handed. The unregistered gun found at the scene had been fired twice. A vague, torn note had been found on the seat of Eddie’s truck — not close to where the body was found.

Despite the number of things that don’t make sense, the cops are leaning toward suicide. 

Impossible to believe, according to his family. Eddie was well-liked; getting ready to go for an MBA at Stanford; and wildly in love with his wife, Frannie. They were expecting a baby. If the police decide it was a suicide, Frannie won’t get any insurance money.

Dismas grows to believe that it’s an unlikely suicide. His former partner, Inspector Sergeant Abe Glitsky, tends to agree. But it’s not his case; his colleague caught the call. The two are in competition for a lieutenant’s position that is opening up. Office politics distort their vision.

On one level, this book is a straightforward police procedural with Dismas the unbadged police officer focusing on the case rather than the politics of promotion.

But this book is so, so rich with characters, red herrings and possibilities to explain what happened to Eddie: a drug deal; chicanery between the newspaper owner and Eddie’s boss who owns a failing distribution business; and blackmail.

And plenty of people feel guilty about Eddie’s death, including his father and the family priest, Father Cavanaugh. Eddie had spoken to both about a business problem where he thought something wrong was happening. His father advised letting it go because he was moving on to graduate school and it wasn’t his business. Father Cavanaugh advised him to follow his conscience and do what was right.

In the background, Dismas may be reuniting with his wife, Jane Fowler, daughter of a judge. In the foreground, not all the people in Eddie’s life are who they seem to be.

It’s a great set-up for a long-running series. And, this is a series, you’ll want to read in order. DEAD IRISH was followed by:

  • THE VIG (1990)
  • HARD EVIDENCE (1993)
  • THE 13TH JUROR (1994)
  • THE MERCY RULE (1998)
  • THE HEARING (1999)
  • THE OATH (2002)
  • THE FIRST LAW (2003)
  • THE MOTIVE (2004)
  • BETRAYAL (2007)
  • THE OPHELIA CUT (2013)
  • THE KEEPER (2014)
  • POISON (2018)
  • THE RULE OF LAW (2019)

The Author: John Lescroart (1948 – )

John Lescroart is known for his legal and crime thriller series featuring protagonists Dismas Hardy, Abe Glitsky and Wyatt Hunt.

Before he became a full-time writer in 1994, Lescroart held a wide variety of jobs, including word-processing for law firms, bartending, moving furniture, painting houses, editing, programming computers and being an advertising director and a fundraising executive.

He is one of the founding members of International Thriller Writers. He has also written several screenplays.

A native of Houston, he went to high school in San Mateo, CA, and earned a bachelor of arts degree with honors at the University of California Berkeley.

He lives in Davis, CA.


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