cover image Fatal


John Lescroart. Atria, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5011-1567-7

Bestseller Lescroart (The Fall and 18 other Ditmas Hardy novels) successfully blends a police procedural with a whodunit in this absorbing standalone. A few days after meeting at a dinner party in San Francisco, Kate Jameson, who’s married, phones lawyer Peter Ash about a private legal matter and suggests they rendezvous at a downtown hotel, where she has a room. After they end up having sex, Kate doesn’t want a repeat, but Peter becomes obsessed with her. Soon afterward, Kate and her best friend, Beth Tully, a San Francisco homicide inspector, survive a terrorist attack. Six months later, Beth and her partner, Ike McCaffrey, are called to a beach where Peter’s body has washed up. The corpse, which was in the water for over a day, has a bullet hole in the chest, but the bullet is missing. With so little to work with and alibis abounding, Beth and Ike make slow progress. The challenges for the protagonists lend verisimilitude to the story and give it a satisfying rhythm. Lescroart keeps readers guessing until the very end. Agent: Barney Karpfinger, Karpfinger Agency. (Jan.)