A Certain Justice

John Lescroart, Author Dutton Books $22.95 (448p) ISBN 978-1-55611-445-8
Politics and justice mix like oil and water after racial tensions erupt into violence in this taut and engrossing San Francisco-set thriller. Lescroart (The 13th Juror) wastes no time setting up his story. In the first few, galvanizing pages, an African American lawyer is lynched by a mob of drunk Irish Americans incensed at the murder of one of their friends by a black career criminal. Alone in trying to save the doomed lawyer is Keven Shea, a 28-year-old grad student. But when a photograph showing him trying to hand the lawyer a knife to cut loose the noose is interpreted as an attempted stabbing, Shea, who goes on the lam, becomes the target of a citywide manhunt. He also becomes San Francisco's chief symbol of racial unrest as politicians ranging from the city's district attorney to a U.S. senator pursue their personal interest in declaring him guilty; only Lt. Abe Glitsky, head of the city's homicide detail, seems to be looking at the case objectively. Meanwhile, Shea turns for help to his girlfriend and, in one of the author's few nods toward cliche, to a down-and-out lawyer pal. Throughout, Lescroart keeps a sharp eye on both the big picture and the individual views of a multitude of well-drawn characters. By showing the political maneuvering that can accompany an outbreak of violence, he offers an unusually thoughtful, exciting thriller that evinces insight into incidents and attitudes that seem all too real. 125,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club featured alternates; author tour. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1995
Release date: 08/01/1995
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