Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: The Keeper by John Lescroart

The Keeper is the latest by John Lescroart after last years phenomenal The Ophelia Cut. Let me just say this isn't The Ophelia Cut. There is no huge courtroom battle, no mountain of evidence against the defense, or really much of a performance from Dismas Hardy.

The Keeper begins with Hardy and his wife, Frannie, reading the morning paper and discussing the disappearance of Katie Chase. Katie is a client of Frannie's who was recently receiving counseling for her turbulent marriage. 

The main suspect, as with many cases where the wife has gone missing (or is dead), is the husband Hal Chase. He is a correctional officer for the San Francisco county jail where a stream of inmate deaths is barely making any news. Could there somehow be a connection? 

John Lescroart begins The Keeper as close to cliche as possible. Wife goes missing, the husband is a suspect, said husband enlists the help of powerhouse attorney Dismas Hardy, then revelations surface that the husband (who is also having an affair) may actually have a motive. All a very good recipe for a story we've heard before... many, many times before.

What Lescroart does right is that although the premise is pretty cliched, he does not continue in that direction long before many more suspects are introduced and more victims die. The Keeper becomes a police procedural starring Abe Glitsky who takes the story by the horns and is essentially the only character we follow. After I got used to the idea that we would not see Hardy battle it out before a judge, I got on board with this title. 

Bodies drop like flies, suspects come and go, and there is no shortage of possible ways this mystery could have turned out. I only feel like I didn't have any closure with respect to the inmate deaths. I found this to be an issue with the only other previous novel I read by Lescroart. The blurbs mention how important the politics are in his novels but there never seems to be a resolution to the politics of the matter. 

For all those fans who expect a great courtroom drama you are barking up the wrong tree. But just like the ending in The Ophelia CutThe Keeper ends in a way I never saw coming. Maybe Lescroart's go-to is an explosive ending that entices us readers to remain trapped in his literal web. I don't know for sure, but I am definitely looking forward to reading even more by this author.   ***

Copy provided by Simon & Schuster via Netgalley

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