Lescroart, John T. 1948-

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Lescroart, John T. 1948-

(John Lescroart, John Thomas Lescroart)


Surname is pronounced "Les-qua"; born January 14, 1948, in Houston, TX; son of Maurice E. and Loretta (a homemaker) Lescroart; married Leslee Ann Miller, June 13, 1976 (divorced July, 1979); married Lisa M. Sawyer (an architect), September 2, 1984; children: (second marriage) Justine Rose, John Jack Sawyer. Education: Attended the University of CaliforniaSanta Cruz, 1966, College of San Mateo, 1967, University of San Francisco, 1967-68; University of California—Berkeley, B.A. (with honors), 1970. Hobbies and other interests: Baseball, food and wine, fishing.


Home—El Macero, CA. Office—426 D St., Davis, CA 95616-4131. Agent—Barney Karpfinger, The Karpfinger Agency, 357 W. 20th St., New York, NY 10011.


Writer, novelist, music producer, and musician. Computer room supervisor, 1970-72; professional singer and guitarist in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, 1972-77; Guitar Player, Cupertino, CA, editor and advertising director, 1977-79; Guardians of the Jewish Homes for the Aging, Los Angeles, CA, associate director, 1979-83; A.T. Kearney, Inc. (consulting firm), Alexandria, VA, technical writer and associate consultant, 1982-85; Pettit & Martin (law firm), Los Angeles, CA, word processor and legal administrator, 1985-91. Writer, 1991—. CrowArt Records (an independent music label), founder and owner.


Mystery Writers of America, El Macero Country Club, Authors Guild, PEN, International Association of Crime Writers.


Joseph Henry Jackson Award, San Francisco Foundation, 1978, for novel Sunburn.


(Editor) Craig Anderton, Home Recording for Musicians, GPI Publications (Saratoga, CA), 1975.

(Editor) Rusty Young, The Pedal Steel Handbook, GPI Publications (Saratoga, CA), 1976.

Sunburn (novel), Pinnacle Books (New York, NY) 1981.

Son of Holmes ("Auguste Lupa" series), Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1986.

Rasputin's Revenge: The Further Startling Adventures of Auguste Lupa—Son of Holmes ("Auguste Lupa" series), Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1987.

Son of Holmes and Rasputin's Revenge: The Early Works of John T. Lescroart, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1995.

A Certain Justice ("Abe Glitsky" mystery series), Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1995.

(As John Lescroart) Guilt ("Abe Glitsky" mystery series), Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 1997.

Writer of more than 500 songs; recorded (with Amy Tan and Norman Mailer) Lit Rock Sampler #1, "Don't Quit Your Day Job" Records, San Francisco, CA.


Dead Irish, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1989.

The Vig, Donald I. Fine, (New York, NY), 1990.

Hard Evidence, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1993.

The 13th Juror, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1994.


A Certain Justice, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1996.

The Mercy Rule, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Nothing but the Truth, Dutton (New York, NY), 2000.

The Hearing, Dutton (New York, NY), 2001.

The Oath, Dutton (New York, NY), 2002.

The First Law, Dutton (New York, NY), 2003.

The Second Chair, Dutton (New York, NY), 2004.

The Motive, Dutton (New York, NY), 2005.

The Hunt Club, Dutton (New York, NY), 2006.

The Suspect, Dutton (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor of short stories to anthologies, including Best American Mystery Stories, Houghton Mifflin, 1998; Murderers' Row, Otto Penzler (editor), New Millennium Press (Beverely Hills, CA), 2001; and Thriller, James Patterson (editor), Mira Books (Ontario, Canada), 2006).


The "Dismas Hardy" is available in its entirety on audio book.


John T. Lescroart worked at a variety of jobs, his last at a law firm, before he quit to become a full-time writer. The event that changed his life was a near-death experience when he contracted spinal meningitis from contaminated sea water and lay in a coma for eleven days before making an unexpected recovery. Since that time, his list of novels has grown, notably his popular mystery series featuring the evolving character Dismas Hardy.

Richard G. La Porte, writing in the St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, noted: "After a Joseph Henry Jackson Award-winning and veiled autobiographical Sunburn … Lescroart went on to a two-step experiment in the creation of a literary linkage between the Sherlock Holmes/Irene Adler liaison and Nero Wolfe called John Hamish Adler-Holmes who appears in Son of Holmes and Rasputin's Revenge: The Further Startling Adventures of Auguste Lupa—Son of Holmes as Auguste Lupa. Lupa, a British Secret Service agent with a penchant for Roman Imperial aliases, works for Mycroft Holmes, the original ‘M’ of the Service, but carries an American passport. After The Great War, Lupa retired to New York City and apparently took up orchid culture. Both of these relatively brief novels are well planned and researched and are believable pastiches. Lescroart is not, of course, the first to determine Nero Wolfe's parentage."

Lescroart's second series features the wayward Dismas Hardy of San Francisco's corporate culture. "In Dead Irish," stated La Porte, Dismas Hardy is "a failed cop, husband, lawyer, and parent. He [is] a part-time barkeep, nursing his Guinness and darts in the Little Shamrock, catty-cornered across 9th and Lincoln from the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park." Library Journal reviewer Rex E. Klett deemed the book "a full-bodied, substantive, and stylistic effort of the first order [with] full attention to character … a sympathetic protagonist, and a satisfying conclusion." Peter Robertson, writing in Booklist, called it "an unusual and powerful mystery."

In a Publishers Weekly review of The 13th Juror the critic stated that "the story gets off to a slow start … and [Lescroart] … comes close to telegraphing the solution to the mystery, and much of his writing about characters' personal lives is hamfisted. Despite these flaws, however, an intricate story and satisfying courtroom scenes carry the day." Dan Bogey, writing in Booklist, called the novel "very readable … with engaging characters and a riveting plot that fans of Scott Turow and John Grisham will love."

Regarding the protagonist of Lescroart's "Abe Glitsky" novels A Certain Justice and Guilt, La Porte summarized: "Back before Dead Irish when Hardy was a cop, his partner was Abe Glitsky. Abe stayed in the SFPD and is on his way up the promotional ladder with its treacherous snakes of political reform. Affirmative action policies posed a double-ended problem to Abe. Glitsky senior is an orthodox Jew and Abe's mother was black. Although his appearance is strongly African-American, his commitments are not."

Dawn L. Anderson, writing in Library Journal, called A Certain Justice a "heart-stopping thriller" that "will keep readers riveted to their chairs." Chicago Tribune reviewer Chris Petrakos made similar remarks, noting that "Lescroart does a masterly job juggling politics and justice, demonstrating along the way that the two rarely mix." A Kirkus Reviews critic surmised that it is not as humorous as Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, but it is "just as mordant and electric." Steve Brewer, writing in Mostly Murder, called Guilt "a blockbuster of a trial…. [Lescroart] establishes the main characters carefully."

La Porte stated: "Although the Hardy/Glitsky books are part of the mystery/detection genre, they are far more fully developed than most of the earlier series character studies. For one thing, the greater length gives Lescroart more time for detailing the fauna and flora of the mean streets of San Francisco and their effects on the people in the story. For another, they are primarily plot-driven, character-development studies. They are not stories of how the protagonist, The Master Detective, brings his acute powers to bear on a single problem but more the reverse. The crime and its manifestations are brought to bear on the protagonist forcing him to rise, change, and challenge himself to prove his beliefs."

La Porte summarized: "All of this [writing] is done with a smooth literary style with a padding of truth and a verisimilitude that makes you feel that you are right there where it is happening. There may not be an old bar with its dartboard on that corner of 9th and Lincoln but it seems as if there should be one. This is one of the strongest points in Lescroart's writing; the believability, not only the places, but also the people."

In The Mercy Rule, called a "satisfying legal thriller" by Melissa Kuzma Rokicki in Library Journal, Graham Russo asks defense attorney Dismas to represent him when Graham is accused of murdering his father, Sal, who had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease and a brain tumor. Graham admits to Dismas that had assisted his father with his morphine injections, but denies that he ended his father's life. Homicide detective Sarah Evans and Dismas believe that Sal was murdered, but not by Graham. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the courtroom scenes "little masterpieces of battlefield maneuvering," but added that "because the book's only overarching concerns are plot-related … the added level of depth and concern that would create a truly great courtroom thriller are absent." Booklist contributor Gilbert Taylor said Lescroart "has the technical clues of the plot perfectly arranged … but it's his credible characters who cement this entertaining, front-rank whodunit."

Nothing but the Truth finds Dismas and his wife, Frannie, drifting apart, which explains why Dismas did not know that Frannie had been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury to testify when her friend, Ron Beaumont, is suspected in the death of his wife, Bree, who had been a political advisor and the possible lover of a gubernatorial candidate. Ron has shared a secret with Frannie, which she refuses to relate, and now Fran- nie faces contempt charges and jail time. Dismas steps in to help Frannie and vows to find the actual murderer, but the first officer assigned to the case has already been murdered, and trouble comes at Dismas from all directions. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that "it's the close-to-home secrets affecting Hardy and his marriage that resonate most," and concluded by calling the novel a "winning thriller." Booklist reviewer Emily Melton commented on the many elements of the plot, but said that Lescroart "keeps his potboiler under control, and the result is a riveting if over-the-top thriller." Thea Davis reviewed Nothing but the Truth for the Mystery Reader online, saying that "scenes shift swiftly, although the pace is slowed by an extraordinary amount of detail."

A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that in The Hearing, Lescroart "lays on the political intrigue as fearlessly as if he were writing exposé journalism." Junkie Cole Burgess is found beside the body of Elaine Wager, a former assistant district attorney and the daughter of a deceased female senator. Cole, who was holding the murder weapon and whose pockets were filled with Elaine's jewelry, is coerced into making a full confession with the promise of a fix, and a friend asks Dismas to defend Cole, who has obviously been railroaded. Cole is swiftly prosecuted by a district attorney who wants the death penalty, and also by Abe Glitsky, who was actually Elaine's unacknowledged father. Abe is suspended for leaking Cole's confession and changes sides, opposing the district attorney when he sees holes in the case against Cole. The cast of The Hearing is large, but a Publishers Weekly reviewer said that its "richness and diversity … neither slows the pace nor confuses the narrative, as even minor characters take on memorable presence and depth." Library Journal reviewer Nancy McNicol called the plot "tightly constructed."

In Joe Hartlaub's review of The Hearing for Book reporter.com, he commented that Lescroart's descriptions of San Francisco are "just right." Hartlaub called the plot "intriguing, complex…. Lescroart's unrushed and thoughtful narrative expertly and meticulously begins to paint each piece of the puzzle and slowly put them together, one-by-one. While he does this, we really get to know and care about the people involved." Hartlaub concluded by calling The Hearing "an all encompassing feast for the senses with enough mystery, drama, and characterization to fill three books."

As the "Dismas Hardy" series progressed, Hardy and Glitsky began appearing together regularly. The First Law finds Dismas and Abe teamed up against the head of a rogue security company. The Patrol Special has long served as a private security force for downtown merchants in San Francisco. Their connection to the police department is tenuous, but they have always worked with approval from law enforcement. Now, Wade Panos, head of the Patrol Special, has started using his power and influence to dodge complaints, misdirect a homicide investigation, and falsely accuse an innocent man whose business Panos wanted to acquire. Worse, Panos manages to smear the otherwise sterling reputations of Abe and Dismas. When they attempt to fight back, threats are made against their families. Incensed at this violation of the "first law"—to protect their own lives and the lives of their loved ones—Abe and Dismas elect to seek a solution outside the boundaries of the law. Reviewing the novel in Publishers Weekly, a contributor noted that "with his latest, Lescroart again lands in the top tier of crime fiction."

In The Second Chair, Abe and Dismas are still reeling from the bloody aftereffects of First Law. Both, however, have advanced in their careers, with Dismas well established as the head of his successful law firm and Abe promoted to deputy chief of investigations. Both men chafe under the low-key executive requirements of their positions, however, and both are eager to put their skills to use in the field again. When Amy Wu, an up-and-coming attorney in Dismas's firm, makes a critical error in defending a young man accused of murder, Hardy must step in as "second chair" in the trial to ensure that the high-profile case is salvaged. In the process, he rekindles his faith in the legal system. "Under Lescroart's assured hand," commented Keir Graff in Booklist, "this perfectly paced tale of legal procedure and big-city politics keeps us turning pages even when it's time to turn in at night." A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented, "old fans and those who persevere will be rewarded with a compassionate look at life's vicissitudes and a thorny multiple murder."

The Motive brings Abe to the scene of a double homicide when a wealthy businessman, Paul Hanover, and his mysterious fiance Missy D'Amiens are discovered dead in the remnants of a townhouse fire. Abe's position as deputy chief of inspectors initially keeps him away, and the investigation begins with Sergeant Dan Cuneo. However, the mayor becomes dissatisfied with Cuneo's approach and assigns Abe to the case, sparking resentment in Cuneo. Elsewhere, Dismas is hired by Hanover's daughter-in-law, who also happens to have been his serious girlfriend in college. She has been accused of murder, and with no alibi and solid motive to kill, the case seems strongly stacked against her. As Abe and Dismas investigate, contradictory evidence emerges, as does questions about Hanover's recent eligibility for a federal appointment and his girlfriend's shadowy past. Personal tragedy also intervenes, as Abe's joy at the birth of his son is tempered with the knowledge of the child's potentially fatal health problems. Lescroart's "authentic voice, methodical presentation, and ability to juggle red herrings until all pieces fall into place will keep fans following wherever his cop-lawyer friends-heroes lead," remarked a Publishers Weekly contributor. The easy friendship and good-natured banter between Abe and Dismas seems "as comfortable as slipping into an old gumshoe," observed Paul Katz in Entertainment Weekly.

The Hunt Club introduces a new pair of San Francisco-based crime-fighting characters to Lescroart's oeuvre: private investigator Wyatt Hunt and homicide detective Devin Juhle. "Longtime Lescroart fans can relax: these pals are at least as interesting and enterprising as Hardy/Glitsky," observed a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Both Hunt and Juhle are struggling against checkered pasts. Hunts once worked for Child Protective Services, a job he loved, but was forced out after a troubling incident. Juhle works to distance himself from a violent shootout that killed a former partner. Now, Hunt is affiliated with the expanding Dismas Hardy law firm, and has gathered around him an eccentric but effective group of investigators nicknamed the Hunt Club. In the book, Hunt and his team become involved with investigating the baffling murder of a federal judge and his much-younger girlfriend. As the case unfolds, the Hunt Club discovers disturbing connections to the power elite of San Francisco. When Hunt's lover, who had connections to the judge, disappears, the streetwise detective becomes determined to solve the case no matter where it leads him. Lescroart presents "an uncommonly detailed story of his hero's origins and a much smaller case of double murder," noted a Kirkus Reviews critic.

Lescroart once told CA: "I have always been intrigued with the written word. I viewed my creative writing assignments as early as the sixth grade as great fun, and I continue to feel pretty much the same way. After experimenting with short stories, poetry, and song lyrics (and continuing to do so), when I was twenty-two I took the plunge and began my first novel, which no one will ever see.

"Six years later, my novel Sunburn won the Joseph Henry Jackson Award from the San Francisco Foundation. That award gave me the confidence to continue my pursuit of novel-writing as a career…. I am blessed with my wife Lisa, who is incredibly and consistently supportive of my pursuit of my dreams and my art.

"My heroes, disparate though they may be, are Ernest Hemingway, Lawrence Durrell, and John Fowles. I like Larry McMurtry and James Clavell. I am also a big fan of several mystery writers, including Arthur Conan Doyle, Rex Stout, John D. MacDonald, P.D. James, and Elmore Leonard. And I continue to believe, naively I'm sure, that if more people would read quality fiction, it would do more good for them and for the world than all the how-to and self-help books ever published."



St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, 4th edition, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.


Booklist, January 15, 1990, Peter Robertson, review of Dead Irish, p. 976; September 1, 1994, Dan Bogey, review of The 13th Juror, p. 27; July, 1998, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Mercy Rule, p. 1830; November 15, 1999, Emily Melton, review of Nothing but the Truth, p. 580; December 1, 2003, Keir Graff, review of The Second Chair, p. 626; November 1, 2005, Connie Fletcher, review of The Hunt Club, p. 5.

Books, summer, 1999, review of Nothing but the Truth, p. 20.

Chicago Tribune, July 16, 1995, Chris Petrakos, review of A Certain Justice, p. 6.

Entertainment Weekly, December 24, 2004, Paul Katz, review of The Motive, p. 73.

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1995, review of A Certain Justice, p. 731; August 1, 1998, review of The Mercy Rule, p. 132; November 15, 1999, review of Nothing but the Truth, p. 1764; February 1, 2001, review of The Hearing, p. 132; November 15, 2002, review of The First Law, p. 1647; November 15, 2003, review of The Second Chair, p. 1332; November 1, 2005, review of The Hunt Club, p. 1160.

Library Journal, January 1, 1990, Rex E. Klett, review of Dead Irish, p. 151; July, 1994, Dan Bogey, review of The 13th Juror, p. 127; July, 1995, Dawn L. Anderson, review of A Certain Justice, p. 121; January, 1998, review of Guilt, p. 176; August, 1998, Melissa Kuzma Rokicki, review of The Mercy Rule, p. 132; November 15, 1999, Nancy McNicol, review of Nothing but the Truth, p. 100; January 1, 2001, Nancy McNicol, review of The Hearing, p. 155; November 1, 2002, Kristen L. Smith, review of The Oath, p. 143; July 15, 2003, Kristen L. Smith, audiobook review of The First Law, p. 145; May 15, 2004, Kristen L. Smith, audiobook review of The Second Chair, p. 130; June 15, 2005, Kristen L. Smith, review of The Motive, p. 113; November 15, 2005, Nancy McNicol, review of The Hunt Club, p. 63.

Mostly Murder, May-June, 1997, Steve Brewer, review of Guilt.

New York Law Journal, January 5, 2001, Pamela Aucoin, review of The Hearing, p. 2

People, March 18, 2002, Sean Gannon, review of The Oath, p. 47; March 3, 2003, Edward Karam, review of The First Law, p. 41; March 1, 2004, Edward Karam, review of The Second Chair, p. 56.

Publishers Weekly, November 23, 1992, review of Hard Evidence, p. 52; June 20, 1994, review of The 13th Juror, pp. 93-94; August 17, 1998, review of The Mercy Rule, p. 48; December 13, 1999, review of Nothing but the Truth, p. 64; March 12, 2001, review of The Hearing, p. 60; November 19, 2001, review of The Oath, p. 46; January 13, 2003, review of The First Law, p. 41; December 15, 2003, review of The Second Chair, p. 54; November 29, 2004, review of The Motive, p. 22; February 7, 2005, review of The Motive, p. 34; October 31, 2005, review of The Hunt Club, p. 31; October 16, 2006, review of The Suspect, p. 30.


Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (September 12, 2001), Joe Hartlaub, review of The Hearing.

John Lescroart Home Page,http://www.johnlescroart.com (December 17, 2006).

Mystery Reader,http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (September 12, 2001), Thea Davis, review of Nothing but the Truth.