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The latest in the series (#15) is an entertaining mystery that focuses on the collaboration between attorney Hardy and his long time friend turned investigator, ex cop Abe Glitsky, as they delve into the case of a missing woman and corruption at the local jail. The body of the woman, wife of jail guard Hal Chase, is found in a wooded clearing close to the family home and Hal is arrested. But the homicide isn't going to be closed that easily -- and the team is off and running, chasing down clues and trying to find evidence.

Although I knew who the murderer was almost instantly (a side effect of reading hundreds of books in this genre), the evolving story was paced well with plenty of red herrings. The partnership of Dismas and Abe has developed over the long series and the characters are well drawn and complex. Their interaction is spiked with humor but their respect for each other is evident.

I enjoy the series and fans will want to devour this latest book!

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria books for the e-book ARC to review.
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on May 6, 2014
This is the fifteenth book in the Dismas Hardy series, but most of the story is told from the point of view of former homicide detective Abe Glitsky. He has been retired for about 6 months and Hardy hires him as an investigator. He was bored reading books and watching TV, so he was quite willing to go out and do something useful, even though he felt like a turncoat, working for the defense. Hardy gives him a lot of freedom. He just wants him to find out who killed his client's wife. Glitsky is a veteran detective, so he knows what to do. Before too long the DA needs a new investigator, when one of his people is killed, so he hires Glitsky, still with the imperative to find out the truth.

This book is a fairly run of the mill Police Procedural. It works well as a stand alone story, and you don't feel like you jumped into the middle of a series. Abe Glitsky is a fairly fleshed out character, and you get a feel that he could have a future as an investigator for the DAs office. He is the only character that gets to be filled out. The rest of the players are more two-dimensional bit characters, you probably know them if you have followed this series.

I enjoyed The Keeper, but wasn't glued to the page. The story plodded along without too much happening other than Glitsky's detective work and home life. There wasn't too much tension, it felt more like a Police Procedural from the UK than an American Police Procedural.

I give this book 3 1/2 Stars out of 5. I liked Glitsky, but the plot could have used a few more twists and surprises.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.
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on May 19, 2014
THE KEEPER is not a legal thriller. I don’t believe, if memory serves, there is a single courtroom scene on any page. That is a neat trick, considering it is full to the brim of defense attorneys (the venerable Dismas Hardy) and district attorneys (Wes Farrell and an entire team of assistants), not to mention police, ex- (Abe Glitsky) and otherwise, and a defendant (Hal Chase) who is in jail and may or (more likely) may not be innocent. John Lescroart's latest offering is a pure mystery, evenly divided between police procedure and private investigation, and wonderful from beginning to end.

Chase is a deputy sheriff assigned to duty at the San Francisco County Jail. When Chase’s wife, Katie, goes missing from their home on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, leaving her very young children unattended, suspicion almost immediately falls upon Chase, and not without reason. The couple has been having financial problems; the now-missing Katie had been in counseling; and both husband and wife had huge life insurance policies that named the surviving spouse as beneficiary. Chase, seeing which way the wind is blowing, lawyers up with Hardy. This is somewhat ironic, given that Katie had been seeing Hardy’s marriage counselor wife for some time. When it is revealed that Katie and Chase had been having extramarital affairs, it appears that Chase had at least two more motives to murder his wife.

Given that his usual investigator is away on an extended trip, Hardy retains Glitsky to start turning over evidentiary rocks in the hope of uncovering another suspect. Glitsky, who recently has been somewhat involuntarily retired from his job as a homicide detective, does not lack for suspects, but there is a problem: none of them are anywhere near as good as Chase. In due course, Chase is indicted and finds himself incarcerated in the very jail where he used to work. There is a problem there, though, and it starts at the top with County Sheriff and works its way down. Prisoner deaths and overdoses are occurring all too frequently, and when an investigation into the death of an inmate is connected to Chase’s previous guard duties, Glitsky wonders if perhaps someone at the jail may have had a motive to kill Katie as well.

Glitsky’s investigation results in a rare and uneasy alliance between Hardy and Farrell. Two more deaths --- one tragic, one otherwise --- seem to put the two teams on the right track, and it appears that justice, however rough and incomplete, is done. That is, until a single and simple fact is revealed that upsets every supposition and conclusion that has been made in the case. Doubting himself and his ability to do the job he loves so much, Glitsky must bring every bit of his skill and talent to bear in order to ensure that a killer is brought to trial after avoiding charges for much too long.

Lescroart brings his “A” game to THE KEEPER, deftly leading the reader through a plot that begins simply but becomes more complex as things progress. Mystery aficionados may guess the identity of the doer (or doers) before story’s end, but, as is true with any visit to the streets of San Francisco, the journey is as interesting and enjoyable as the destination, if not more so. This one is a delight for fans and newcomers alike.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
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on June 7, 2014
This is not Lescroat's best novel by far. The story is very complicated - not in the sense of being hard to follow, but in the sense that there was nothing that drew me in, nothing I cared about, and the complicated nature only added more characters and more twists and side roads that also held no interest for me. I've enjoyed most of his other novels and do like seeing old characters, but by now the Dismas Hardy series is becoming almost burdensome because the author seems to feel he needs every character from every previous book to have a role and his/her own story. In some ways his San Francisco is like a small town where the head cop, the DA, the defense attorney, the coroner etc are all old friends and hang out eating, drinking and joking. For hardcore Hardy fans, this is probably a decent addition. If you're new to the author or simply looking for a compelling mystery, I'd look at some of his earlier work.
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on June 15, 2014
I love John Lescroart and Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky. This book felt like something the author threw together just to write another book. Disappointing plot. I guessed the murderer early on. Abe was made to look like a novice investigator. No trial. Pass this one by. C'mon John, give us another great one!!
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on May 7, 2014
A new Lescroart is always awaited with great anticipation. Glitsky, Dismas and the gang do their stuff in this, the 15th installment of their adventures. They do not disappoint - but the plot does. I won't say much in order not to spoil it for others but it was all too predictable. I had it figured it out fairly quickly, which took the fun out of the book. Hopefully Lescroart will be back - and in top form - soon.
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on June 4, 2014
I was about 1/2 way through the book and thoroughly enjoying the adventure, but a bit disappointed because it seemed like a pretty cut and dry murder mystery. Just enough clues to make the reader think they figured out the ending. Well, I was completely wrong - so well done Mr. Lescroart. This book has all the usual suspects from a Dismas Hardy novel, but that's what makes them good. There is a special emphasis is on Abe Glitsky this time, following him while he tries to solve the unsolvable. A good, solid book from a reliable storyteller.
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on May 22, 2014
I had just finished a John Sandford novel and then started on this one. That may have influenced my so-so rating. Overall, I found "The Keepr" slow moving and the investigative procedurals weren't that impressive. It was easy to put down. I had stopped buying Lescroart after having been a huge fan almost from his first Dismas Hardy novel. My reason for stopping was exactly my problem with this one - too slow and cumbersome despite what could have been an interesting plot.
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on June 1, 2014
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 Cut, The 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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on September 1, 2014
Writers must be afraid to give up their staple characters. This novel is an example of this. Dismas, Abe & crew need to be shelved for good. Silly plot, boring secondary characters, unrealistic conclusion. If you must read, save money and go to the library.
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