cover image Poison


John Lescroart. Atria, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5011-1570-7

In bestseller Lescroart’s satisfying 20th Dismas Hardy novel (after 2016’s The Fall), the San Francisco attorney, who’s recovering from two gunshot wounds and looking forward to retiring soon, can’t resist defending a former client, Abby Jarvis, against a murder charge. After committing vehicular manslaughter more than a decade earlier and serving 22 months in prison, Abby has cleaned up her act, become a parent, and landed a steady job as a bookkeeper for a plumbing and fixtures company. After Abby’s boss, wealthy Grant Wagner, recently died, apparently from a heart attack, his daughter Gloria questioned that conclusion, given her father’s healthy lifestyle. The autopsy that Gloria pressed for revealed that Grant was poisoned with aconite, and Abby, who stood to inherit $1 million, was subsequently indicted for the crime. Believing Abby innocent, Hardy begins to search for plausible alternative suspects. Though the final reveal won’t shock veteran genre readers, Lescroart does a good job of balancing the whodunit plot line with well-developed portrayals of both major and secondary characters. Agent: Barney Karpfinger, Karpfinger Agency. (Feb.)