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The Suspect    by John Lescroart order for
by John Lescroart
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

When the action of The Suspect opens, outdoorsman Stuart Gorman has escaped for a few days to the relative comfort and peacefulness of the wilderness area near Lake Tahoe. The fifty year old writer - having had some success and fame as the author of fishing books - has left the turmoil of his life in San Francisco behind him. His wife, a successful orthopedic surgeon, had recently told him that she demanded a divorce.

Now, however, after thinking more about his wife's abrupt unreasonableness, Stuart suddenly abandons his tranquil isolation (and avoidance), and - intent upon confronting and having it out once and for all with his wife Caryn - Stuart hurries back to San Francisco.

Back in the city, though, Stuart seems to have made a gruesome discovery. Caryn appears to have accidentally drowned in their hot-tub. Perhaps she had been intoxicated. Perhaps she had taken too much medication. Perhaps she had fallen and hit her head, and then she drowned. When the emergency services arrive at the Gormans' home, and then when the police become involved in what would seem to be a straight-forward case of accidental death (or was it suicide?), Stuart Gorman's life suddenly becomes dangerously complicated.

As a person of interest in the case who is being questioned by the police, Stuart is advised by his good friend Jedd Conley (the California State Assemblyman) to retain the services of a good attorney. Conley recommends a colleague (a lawyer who had actually been his not-so-successful adversary in the courtroom) with whom he had been quite familiar when he had practiced law prior to his political career.

As the tangled scenario develops, Stuart quickly goes beyond being the person of interest and becomes instead the suspect and is arrested. Unfortunately, Stuart does not have much of an alibi, and all of the evidence and the motives - in a very compelling way as far as the police and the prosecutors are concerned - point to Stuart as the murderer. Accused of killing his wife, Stuart suddenly finds himself caught in the cold-blooded maelstrom of the judicial system.

Stuart realizes that he has few allies: his newly retained attorney, Gina Roarke; his daughter Kymberly; his sister-in-law (and his dead wife's sister) Debra Dryden; and his life-long friend, Jedd Conley. Now entrapped in an inexplicable nightmare, on trial for the murder of his wife, Stuart is about to find out which of the allies - if any - he can completely trust to save him from what almost certainly seems to be the inevitability of a guilty verdict.

With seventeen best-selling novels already to his credit, popular author John Lescroart has served up another intriguing tale of crime and justice in The Suspect. Lescroart relies again upon his tested and proven abilities to produce complicated plots, compelling characterizations, and captivating trial scenes, and The Suspect - with its spell-binding and surprising conclusion - comes to readers, not surprisingly, as another top-notch, suspense-filled entertainment.

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