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18 May 2015

John Lescroart: The Fall

Who pushed her?
While I am a fan of legal crime fiction, somehow I have missed reading any books in the Dismas Hardy series by John Lescroart. This is #16 in the series and the author tries very hard to keep this long-running series alive by bringing in Hardy's beloved adopted daughter Rebecca ("The Beck" to her family and friends) as a defense attorney with her first homicide case.

Anlya Paulson, a 17 year old African-American girl living in a group foster home falls to her death from a bridge over a freeway in San Francisco. Because of many recent failures, the SFO police are under extreme pressure to solve homicides of African-Americans. When they find evidence that may point to a white volunteer worker with troubled kids having an affair with the girl, a witness sees them arguing a couple of hours before her death, and a homeless man identifies the suspect, the detectives are sure that they have the correct suspect. But are the police acting too fast to solve the case?

Greg Treadway is a court appointed special advocate to Anlya's twin brother, also in foster care. Rebecca meets Greg Treadway in her father's bar and gets drawn into the case when Greg is interviewed by homicide police and eventually accused of the homicide there is evidence that he had been having an affair with the dead girl. Greg pleads his innocence on all counts and engages Rebecca to defend him.

Lescroart then leads us through an interesting baptism of "The Beck" as a promising defense lawyer. Always in the background Dismas it around to help her and point her in the right direction. It soon becomes clear that the police have rushed into the case as Rebecca finds out things that they haven't covered.

This was classic defence attorney crime fiction using a formula that new evidence is found during the trial to lead to an exciting conclusion. In this case there are twists in the tail that unfortunately were pretty evident from very early on.

While I generally enjoyed the book I thought that the author might be trying too hard to think up something different to spice up a long running series.

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