John Lescroart was born in Houston, Texas and brought up in Texas, New York and Northern California. On graduating from U.C. Berkeley, he did various jobs before becoming a full-time writer, including working as a singer in Europe, a bar tender in an Irish pub in San Francisco and associate director of the Jewish Homes for the Aging in Los Angeles. After doctors estimated he had two hours to live when he contracted meningitis, John Lescroart decided, on his return to health, to take the risk of writing full-time. Two years after that decision, his novel THE 13th JUROR hit the New York Times bestseller list and stayed on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list for three months.
Mark Dooher has a successful legal career, a long-lasting marriage, charm, good looks, and money; but when he meets young, beautiful law student Christina Carrera, he wants her, too. The author of A Certain Justice (LJ 7/95) has Mark manage, through a series of devious manipulations, to rid Christina of her fiancé, get her a job at his firm, and make her fall in love with him. But there is the troublesome matter of his wife, whom he cannot divorce because of his important professional relationship with the city's archbishop. Then his wife turns up conveniently murdered, and the resulting trial could turn out to be Mark's greatest challenge yet. This original, well-crafted page-turner is blockbuster material. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/97.]‘Melissa Kuzma Rokicki, NYPL
Perhaps it's because he's one of the few writers of legal thrillers who isn't a lawyer that Lescroart has brought so much more to this novel and its predecessors (A Certain Justice, etc.) than simply courtroom dazzle‘though the legal infighting here is first-rate. Mark Dooher, head of a high-powered San Francisco law firm, pushing 50 and tired of his alcoholic wife, is smitten with beautiful law student Christina Carrera. He begins a subtle campaign to woo her, revealing himself to readers ("the little compliments, the kindnesses") as manipulative, but believably so. When Dooher's wife is murdered in an apparent burglary, SFPD detective Abe Glitsky finds enough odd clues to press for a murder charge against Dooher. With Dooher's best friend, Wes Farrell, leading the defense (with Christina as second chair), the cold-blooded attorney takes on the police, the court and various hostile witnesses. What raises the drama‘marred only by a perfunctory ending‘to an unusually sophisticated level is not just the crackling legal action but also infusions of the melting-pot tensions of San Francisco, old-fashioned church politics (including a priest suffering a nervous breakdown after a murderer's confession) and strong secondary characters (a feisty rape counselor, a canny archbishop, a smart and ambitious Vietnamese detective). Guilt pervades the plot: Glitsky's over his wife's slow death from cancer; Farrell's over a less-than-stellar law career; Christina's over an old abortion. Only Dooher can say, "I don't feel any guilt"‘though he'll be joined by the many thriller fans who won't feel a twinge about spending a few hours with this robust and intelligent entertainment. $125,000 ad/promo; BOMC selection; author tour. (June)