“Poison: a Novel” (Atria), by John Lescroart
Thoughts of retirement for attorney Dismas Hardy have to be put on hold when a former client begs for his help in “Poison,” John Lescroart’s latest thriller.
Abby Jarvis made a horrible mistake years ago. She did her time, and after being released, she found a job as a bookkeeper with Grant Carver and his prestigious company. When Carver kills himself, she finds herself about to get a huge windfall, thanks to his will. But a second autopsy reveals that he was murdered by a poison called aconite, and she becomes the No. 1 suspect. It doesn’t help her claims of innocence that she was embezzling funds from the company.
Dismas Hardy feels compelled to help Jarvis, not only because he truly believes that she didn’t kill Carver, but also because he can’t stay away from the courtroom. He was shot because of the last case he worked, and his wife doesn’t want him working at all, especially not on a murder case. Hardy has to balance his personal feelings and his family’s wishes against the pursuit of justice, even if it puts him back into a potentially dangerous situation.
Lescroart’s characters play key roles in this marvelous mystery. In addition to Hardy playing the role of Perry Mason, police Lieutenant Abe Glitsky and private investigator Wyatt Hunt are also like their counterparts from the iconic series, with Hunt asking the tough questions from the potential suspects. The way the narrative flows also invokes key atmospheric moments paying a wonderful homage to the world created by Erle Stanley Gardner, while adding material to make it timely and relevant. While Dismas Hardy contemplates retirement, and his family encourages that decision, readers of this series won’t want to see him leave the courtroom anytime soon.
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