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The Rule of Law

A Novel

Book #18 of Dismas Hardy


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About The Book

In “master of the legal thriller” (Chicago Sun-Times) John Lescroart’s electrifying novel, attorney Dismas Hardy is called to defend the least likely suspect of his career: his trusted assistant who is suddenly being charged as an accessory to murder.

Dismas Hardy knows something is amiss with his secretary, Phyllis. Her out-of-character behavior and sudden disappearances concern Hardy, especially when he learns that her convict brother—a man who had served twenty-five years in prison for armed robbery and attempted murder—has just been released.

Things take a shocking turn when Phyllis is suddenly arrested for allegedly abetting the murder of Hector Valdez, a coyote who’d been smuggling women from El Salvador and Mexico until he was shot to death on the very same day that Phyllis first disappeared from work. Hardy realizes that if his cherished colleague has any chance of going free, he must figure out how all these strands connect—and fast.

Proving that he is a “certifiable A-Lister” (Booklist), John Lescroart crafts yet another whip-smart, roller coaster of a novel that will keep you on your toes until the very last page.


AFTER YOU MURDER someone, life is never the same.

Ron Jameson found himself thinking about this all the time; he couldn’t get over the before and after differences.

Before, he’d been a hardworking mid-level attorney, billing his mega-hours, fair to both clients and opponents, responsive to his partners, honest to a fault.

Before, he had been a compassionate yet somewhat stern father to his two children, a righteous man who both taught and modeled the importance of respect—for property, for their mother, for other political, social, and religious viewpoints.

Before, he’d lived a circumspect, modestly successful, controlled existence, neither particularly happy nor sad, vaguely content most of the time, occasionally a bit bored, going through the motions.

Before, he’d been half-alive.

That had left the other half.

After he’d murdered the man who’d slept with his wife, it had taken him a while to get his bearings. Most of that time was spent worrying about what would happen if he were caught, about what he would tell his children and his wife. How he could justify himself and what he’d done to those he loved.

Every day he had lived with the constant fear that the police would catch onto him, that in spite of his best efforts he’d left a clue somewhere, key evidence that would convict him. He worried about going to jail, about spending the rest of his life in prison.

He was the sole support of his family; how would they all survive?

After, above all, he worried about how he could have turned into the man who could have actually done what he’d done.

When the police had found the incriminating evidence—a shell casing from the same make and caliber of the gun he’d used—on the boat of Geoff Cooke, his former best friend and partner in the law firm, it had taken him a while to understand. Mystifyingly, Geoff had apparently then used the same weapon to kill himself, which meant that the case was closed.

The police no longer believed that he’d done it. He was no longer a suspect.

It appeared that his law partner had in fact killed the philandering bastard.

When in reality—he came to understand—it had been his wife expertly shifting the blame from him to Geoff, protecting him and their marriage and their family, shooting his law partner and convincingly making it appear to have been a suicide, then planting the incriminating shell on Geoff’s boat.

Which meant that both of them, husband and wife, were killers.

And after you murder someone, life is never the same.

About The Author

Andy Wallace

John Lescroart is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-nine previous novels, including the The Rule of LawPoison, and Fatal. His books have sold more than ten million copies and have been translated into twenty-two languages. He lives in Northern California.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (September 10, 2019)
  • Length: 336 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501115745

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Raves and Reviews

"Lescroart’s novels are known as much for their abundantly human characters as they are for their rigorously plotted stories, and this one is a showcase for both of those attributes. Also impressive is the way Lescroart has kept his long-running series fresh by allowing Dismas to grow over the years. . . . Lescroart is a certifiable A-lister. His series entries and stand-alones always draw a crowd."

– Booklist

"Lescroart plots so cleverly that he has you believing his split-level thriller is really a single foreshortened novel. The perfect read for those who agree that "it's only trouble if somebody's shooting at you."

– Kirkus

“Enthralling… Sharp dialogue and a timely plot help make this entry a winner."

– Publishers Weekly

The Rule of Law cements Lescroart’s status as the undisputed master of the courtroom thriller, as always spiced with richly drawn characters and genuine emotion. Neither he nor Dismus Hardy have ever been better.”

– Providence Journal

"The Rule of Law is vintage Lescroart, drawing on parallels between real-life and hot-button issues while also providing top-notch entertainment."

– The Real Book Spy

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