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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 6, 2017
San Francisco bartender Dismas Hardy was briefly a patrol officer in the SFPD while he worked toward a law degree. He left the law shortly after the death of an infant son and divorce from his wife. But when his boss and best friend learns that his popular brother-in-law has mysteriously died, Dismas can’t resist the urge to investigate. The SFPD believes the man committed suicide. Dismas believes otherwise, and he sets out to find the truth.

The joy of San Francisco noir

To access police resources, Dismas turns to his former partner, now Detective Sergeant Abe Glitsky. Glitsky hopes for promotion to lieutenant and is reluctant to help an outsider. Largely on his own, then, Dismas digs for evidence of murder. His investigation leads him into the dark corners of San Francisco society and triggers additional murders. Suspense builds as the tale becomes ever more complicated. Dismas focuses on first one, then a second suspect, but the evidence is only circumstantial. The action cascades toward a shocking revelation and a violent conclusion. Dashiell Hammet may have pioneered what may be called San Francisco noir. John Lescroart proves himself to be a worthy successor with Dead Irish. The book is a joy to read.

About the author

John Lescroart has been writing crime novels for nearly 30 years. Dead Irish, his first, was published in 1989. This was the first of 15 books to date featuring former San Francisco cop and attorney Dismas Hardy. Lescroart has written nine other novels. His work frequently appears on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 22 languages. He lives in Davis, California, a little less than two hours north of San Francisco.
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on April 23, 2009
This review has more to do with the series than with Dead Irish. Working my way through the Dismas Hardy novels. Unlike many current detective writers, Lescroart eschews the charismatic psychotic serial killer and his/her elaborate, shocking crimes - burned, hanged, flayed, dismembered, et al. - and offers rather average folks - cops, secretaries, lawyers, etc. - caught up in difficult and unusual circumstances but trying to deal with the challenges of everyday life - work, family, friends.

His characters' reflections on these challenges are simple, poignant, thoughtful evocations of the issues that we all face, and Lescroart does a superb job of coalescing the vapors, giving voice to our ruminations and fears.

His work reminds me of the writing of James Gould Cozzens who won a Pulitzer Prize and was considered for the Nobel Prize. Writing during the middle decades of the 20th century, Cozzens was attacked by critics for being hopelessly out of date. His heroes are quite ordinary men, living quite ordinary lives and find themselves in the midst of a crisis that tests their moral and ethical beliefs. Like Cozzens' characters, Lescroart's heroes stand near us, offering the opportunity to reflect on our own lives.

The plots have the requisite twists and turns and tensions to keep them moving briskly, but it is the thoughts and feelings of the characters that lift these books well above the general run of detective/thriller/mystery novels. The layers build as the series progresses so stay the course and enjoy the books - it's definitely worth it.
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on July 14, 2013
If you like Michael Connelly, you should read John Lescroart!

For whatever reason, I had forgotten about John Lescroart's Dismas Hardy series. I'd read some of the books years ago enjoyed them a lot. Recently, I was looking for a "new" author to read and came across his name. As soon as I saw the name "Dismas Hardy" I remembered.

I've decided to reread the series from the beginning. I didn't remember reading a book where Diz and Frannie weren't married. This book was the first in which Hardy works on the suicide (or murder) of Frannie's husband, Eddie.

Lescroart is a master of the red herring! He can lead you down paths on which you are sure you know who the killer is and then find out that you're completely wrong!

His characters are fully drawn and literally come to life as you're reading. Dismas himself is a flawed man of strong loyalties. His friends are not simply cardboard cutouts there to complement the protagonist. They are flesh and blood characters in their own right just like Dismas, and Abe Glitsky is the most interesting of all of them.

One of the main characters of all the Dismas Hardy books is San Francisco itself. If you know the city, you'll enjoy revisiting in each book. If you've never been there, you'll want to visit, for sure.

Getting back to Michael Connelly, if you enjoy Harry Bosch, you'll feel very much the same about Dismas Hardy. They are cut from the same cloth. Give it a try.
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on July 5, 2014
I very much enjoy John Lescroat's legal thrillers, even though Dismas, his hero, often misses the clues till the last moment. This book is more of a novel, showing the characters , Moses, Dismas, Abe Glitsky, Frannie, at an early stage of Dismas's career, while he is still working in a bar. He hunts down the killer of a good friend. I read the book with increasing disappointment, since none of the characters were the slightest bit interesting or credible.Without the court scenes, this was just a dull thriller. Deleted from my kindle now, one of only a few books of mine , to be so treated....Since Amazon does not give the dates of publication, I do not knowif this is a retrospective 'how did they all meet back then' book, or an early one. Because the books set when Dismas is back as a lawyer
are great.
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on August 8, 2017
The story was pretty good, but there were just too many POV changes for me to feel invested with any of the characters. This made for a mediocre reading experience for me.
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As I write this review, in early 2017, John Lescroart's series of Dismas Hardy books stands at 15, with a further two books with Rebecca Hardy as the lead character, and three leading with Abe Glitsky. I have read many of those 20 total books and enjoyed them, and decided to go back to the beginning of the series to see how it all began, back in 1989 when Dead Irish was first published.

Dead Irish finds Dismas Hardy, having retired from both police work and his legal career, now tending bar, persuaded to investigate the death of the son of a friend. His efforts are far less self-assured than they are in later books where he has settled into this new career, and his relationship with old friend Abe Glitsky is also much less cordial and settled. These differences were very interesting to observe as Hardy struggles to determine what his role should be, not wanting to interfere with the police investigation but also finding it insufficient to pursue leads he feels require effort. Glitsky is also less than helpful, at best tolerant of his old friend who is seen as meddling in something that isn't his job or his business.

The story itself is a good one if less developed and polished than the later books are. The actual killer is very well concealed until very late in the story, with some nail biting moments as the climax is reached. Altogether it's an excellent story and a worthy beginning to the Dismas Hardy series.

For reference, here is the full listing of Dismas Hardy and related books, with links to their listings here on Amazon (Kindle versions linked but hardcover and paperback versions can be selected on the same page):

Dismas Hardy series:

1. Dead Irish (1989)
2. The Vig (1991)
3. Hard Evidence (1993) (the first of the courtroom stories)
4. The 13th Juror (1994)
5. The Mercy Rule (1998) (apparently not offered in Kindle version?)
6. Nothing but the Truth (2000)
7. The Hearing (2001)
8. The Oath (2002)
9. The First Law (2003)
10. The Second Chair (2004)
11. The Motive (2005)
12. Betrayal (2007)
13. A Plague of Secrets (2009)
14. The Ophelia Cut: A Novel (2013)
15. The Keeper: A Novel (2014)

Rebecca Hardy novels:

1. The Fall (2015)
2. Fatal (2017)

Abe Glitsky novels:

1. A Certain Justice (1995)
2. Guilt (1997) (apparently not offered in Kindle version?)
3. Damage (2011)
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on March 2, 2017
I had never read the first book so really enjoyed learning the beginning
Looking forward to reading many more
Love the characters and the location
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on June 19, 2017
I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series. Dismays Hardy is a sold character, as are Lescroart's full complement of other characters.
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on February 20, 2017
Excellent book. It kept you turning the pages all the way through it. I will definitely read more of this series of books.
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on March 31, 2017
Love finding new characters that feel so real. Excellent introduction to what hopefully will be a continuing series
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