The Fall

Well, you know you have been reading a series for a long time when the main character, Dismas Hardy, has an adult child about to try her first big case as an attorney. They grow up fast, no?

Rebecca gets handed a complicated case involving the death of a young African American girl who either fell, jumped or was pushed out a window into oncoming traffic. When a white middle school teacher and volunteer special advocate for foster children, Greg Treadway, becomes the prime suspect, Rebecca has her hands full with her client and the prosecutor. The evidence against her client is most definitely damaging, but new evidence soon comes to light which could exonerate Greg, But, is the new evidence reliable, will be allowed in at trial?

This is the sixteenth novel in this series and I have watched these characters come a long way. In this book, Dismas and Abe play pretty small roles as Rebecca takes center stage for the first time. Hardy is a great adviser to Rebecca, but lets her take control for the most part, although I did get the feeling he was chomping at the bit to get more involved.

This was not the best story in this long running series, but it did hold its own for the most part. It did drag in places and was just a little dull and flat. There is a psychological edge to the story, which I liked, but it was understated and the pacing was off somehow, making the story move at a snail's pace at times and was also little predictable.

Plus, the story seemed to be missing some of the depth previous installments in the series have had, and perhaps I was missing the Hardy - Abe connection a little bit, because if you are a longtime fan of the series, you know these guys have both been through some things together and sometimes it can get really heavy, either in a professional way, or in a personal one. There was just something lacking in this one that is hard to define.

What worked best for me was the courtroom dialogue and drama. Too often a book will be listed as a “Legal Thriller”, but will have little or no courtroom presence. This book however, was a text book example for what I define as a Legal Thriller, and these scenes were the best part of the book. I love the legal wrangling’s, seeing the attorney's duke it out, all while peeling away the layers of the mystery. The author allowed the reader a sneak peek into the life of a defender and we are able to see the court system for what it is… warts and all. I always find this type of thing compelling, so for me the banter in the courtroom was the saving grace for this book.

Although the story winds along at a slower pace, the last several chapters made the wait worthwhile, with a thought provoking finale.

Overall, I did enjoy seeing Rebecca stand out there on her own and I do hope she has a solid role in the future of this series, either in a big or small way, but I also hope we see Abe and Hardy resume their top billing with a meatier role next time around. This is a solid legal thriller, and it was great to sit in on the courtroom politics, and touch base with familiar characters and their families.

Book Blurb for The Fall

From New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart, a riveting new novel of legal suspense featuring Dismas Hardy and his daughter, Rebecca, now grown up and an associate in Hardy’s law firm.

Late one night, a teenage African American foster child named Tanya Morgan plummets to her death from the overpass above San Francisco’s Stockton tunnel. But did she fall…or was she pushed?

Rushing to produce a convictable suspect in the glare of the media spotlight, homicide inspectors focus their attention on a naïve young man named Greg Treadway. Greg is a middle school teacher and he volunteers as a Special Advocate for foster children. At first, the only thing connecting him to Tanya’s death is the fact that they shared a meal earlier that night. But soon enough, elements of that story seem to fall apart…and Hardy’s daughter, Rebecca, finds herself drawn into the young man’s defense.

By the time Greg’s murder trial gets underway, Dismas and Rebecca have unearthed several other theories about the crime: a missing stepfather who’d sexually assaulted her; a roommate who ran a call girl service; a psychologically unstable birth mother; and a mysterious homeless man who may have had dealings with Tanya. Or Greg Treadway himself, who is perhaps not all that he first appeared. But how will they get these theories in front of a jury? And if they can, what price will they have to pay?

With signature suspense and intricate plotting, The Fall puts Dismas Hardy and his only daughter in the middle of one of John Lescroart’s most complex and thrilling cases yet.

Night Owl Reviews Jun, 2015 3.50