cover image The Missing Piece

The Missing Piece

John Lescroart. Atria, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-9821-7049-3

Bestseller Lescroart’s excellent 22nd Dismas Hardy novel (after 2019’s The Rule of Law) finds Wes Farrell, a defense attorney in the San Francisco law firm in which he and Dismas are partners, in the throes of an existential crisis. Wes no longer wants to defend people he believes are guilty. Meanwhile, Paul Riley is exonerated and released from prison after serving 11 years of his life sentence for the rape and murder of Dana Rush. Shortly thereafter, Paul is fatally shot. Doug Rush, Dana’s father, is assaulted by the police officers who come to interview him; they subsequently arrest him for Paul’s murder. Dismas and Wes agree to defend Doug. When their client disappears after bail is set, Wes hires PI Abe Glitsky to locate him. The plot cleverly entwines the police investigation with Abe’s, keeping readers deliciously off balance with each new possible motive and suspect. Lescroart delves into the concepts of the presumptions of both guilt or innocence while maintaining a fast pace and delivering a finale full of surprises. This long-running series remains as fresh as ever. Agent: Barney Karpfinger, Karpfinger Agency. (Nov.)