Cover image for Poison : a novel
Poison : a novel

A Dismas Hardy novel ;
Poison : a novel
Personal Author:
First Atria Books hardcover edition.
Publisher Info:
New York, NY : Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., [2018]
Physical Description:
293 pages ; 24 cm.
A Dismas Hardy novel ; [book 17]
Dismas Hardy is looking forward to cutting back his work hours and easing into retirement after recovering from two gunshot wounds. He is determined to spend more time with his family and even reconnect with his distant son, Vincent. But Dismas just can't stay away from the courtroom for long and soon he is pulled into an intense family drama with fatal consequences. Grant Carver, the vigorous patriarch of the Carver family and its four-generations owned family business, has been murdered. His bookkeeper Abby Jarvis, whom Hardy had defended on a DUI charge eleven years prior, is the prime suspect after police discover she's been embezzling funds from the company--but she insists she did not kill her boss. As he prepares to defend her, Dismas investigates the Carver clan and discovers the dark, twisted secrets.


Call Number
Material Type
FICTION LESC New or Popular Adult Fiction Book
F LESC New or Popular Adult Fiction Book

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"Lescroart never ceases to amaze his fans. The wit, the timing, the dialogue--everything combines to give this author yet another bestseller and provide readers with a fast-paced, memorable thriller." -- Suspense Magazine

"The narrative flows effortlessly and includes a Perry Mason-worthy moment when Hardy manifests a bit of courtroom magic. Lescroart is a perfect choice for readers who enjoy great ensemble casts." -- Booklist

In John Lescroart's latest thriller, San Francisco attorney Dismas Hardy is called upon to investigate the murder of a wealthy man whose heirs are all potential suspects.

Dismas Hardy is looking forward to easing into retirement and reconnecting with his family after recovering from two glancing gunshot wounds courtesy of a recent client. But this plan is cut short when, against his wife's wishes, he is pulled back into the courtroom by the murder of Grant Wagner, the steely owner of a successful family business. The prime suspect is Wagner's bookkeeper, Abby Jarvis, a former client of Hardy's who had been receiving large sums of cash under-the-table from the company--but she insists that she's innocent and Dismas wants to believe her.

As he prepares for trial, Dismas probes deeply into the Wagner clan's history, discovering dark secrets, jealous siblings, gold-digging girlfriends, startling betrayals, and menacing blackmailers. Suspense builds as the trial date looms, and the closer Dismas gets to the Wagners, the clearer it becomes that he has a large target painted on his back.

With John Lescroart's razor-sharp dialogue, intricate plotting and relentless pacing, Poison is a nail-biter that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Author Notes

John Lescroart was born in Houston, Texas on January 14, 1948. He started writing as a student at the University of California-Berkeley, where he majored in English. Following college and a job with a telephone company, he traveled around Europe, singing folk and country-rock music.

He won the 1978 Joseph Henry Jackson best novel award for under-35 California writers with the autobiographical novel Sunburn. While helping his wife raise their two children and working in legal, bartending, musician, and social service positions, he still found the time to write numerous novels. His novels include the Dismas Hardy Series, Son of Holmes, Rasputin's Revenge, A Certain Justice, Guilt, The Hunt Club, The Suspect, Sunburn, Treasure Hunt, Damage, and The Hunter. He made The New York Times Best Seller List iwith his title's The Ophelia Cut,The Keeper and The Fall.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Roy, a reader new to the Dismas Hardy series, is oddly unemotional in his rendition of Lescroart's 20th book featuring genial San Francisco defense attorney Hardy and his pals. The mystery revolves around the death of Grant Wagner, the wealthy owner of a plumbing-supply company, who was killed using an uncommon poison, aconite. Circumstantial evidence points to his bookkeeper and former lover, Abby Jarvis. Though Hardy has promised his wife to stay clear of trials involving murder, he feels compelled to help Abby, a client from long ago, so he hires private eye Wyatt Hunt to snoop around Wagner's sons and daughters and gather info on two other murders that occurred after Abby's arrest. A connection could set her free. Much of the popularity of these novels comes from the personalities and abiding friendship of easygoing Hardy, quirky district attorney Wes Farrell, and humane, impatient homicide detective Abe Glitsky. All of that is present, though Roy doesn't quite nail the distinct charm of each character, while the genuinely funny banter among them also falls flat. The novel has well-developed characters, cleanly detailed San Francisco locales, and a sturdy whodunit plot, but it's a bit shy on suspense and thrills, a point underlined by Roy's unruffled recitation. An Atria hardcover. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

In 1989, Lescroart introduced us to San Francisco attorney Dismas Hardy, and then, in turn, to Hardy's crime-fighting colleagues, including Abe Glitsky, Wyatt Hunt, and Devin Juhle, and he has brought them all forward through time in more than 20 skillful legal suspense novels. Hardy has been trying to ease into retirement following two gunshot wounds (The Fall, 2015), but before long he finds himself entangled in an intense family drama, with a $25-million inheritance at stake, while defending a former client who has been indicted for murder. He experiences some conflict of his own at home when his wife, Franny, who is, ironically, a marriage and family counselor, reaches her limit with Dismas' danger-drenched life. The narrative flows effortlessly and includes a Perry Mason-worthy moment when Hardy manifests a bit of courtroom magic. Lescroart is a perfect choice for readers who enjoy great ensemble casts.--Murphy, Jane Copyright 2017 Booklist

Library Journal Review

After three decades as a San Francisco attorney, encouraged by his wife, Dismas Hardy is slowing down while recovering from gunshot wounds from an earlier case. Then Abby Jarvis, a former client, is arrested for the murder of her wealthy lover/employer Grant Wagner, and Hardy is drawn to her case. Two other murders make it clear Abby isn't the killer. Seeking a connection among all three crimes and feeling that his own family may be endangered, Hardy is desperate to make something happen. The Wagner adult children are squabbling over finances, blackmail looms, and nearly everyone has a secret. Not even his policeman friend Abe Glitsky nor his investigator Wyatt Hunt fully appreciate Hardy's situation. In this 17th of the Dismas Hardy legal thrillers (after The Fall), Lescroart avoids much courtroom action, instead relying heavily on the recurring secondary characters familiar to fans of earlier titles, with the San Francisco setting another character. Plenty of attention is given to Hardy's family relations and his wife's unhappiness with his work. VERDICT Readers may guess the solution well before the author reveals it, but -Lescroart's fans still will enjoy this one.--Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Poison 1 IF OPENING DAY wasn't the happiest landmark in Dismas Hardy's year, he didn't know what was. From the time he was eleven--when the Giants had arrived in San Francisco--until he was eighteen--the year before his father died--he had never missed attending the yearly ritual with his dad, first at Seals Stadium and then at Candlestick Park. Adding to the mystique, in an era that pretty much ignored the concept of father-son bonding, Hardy's father had considered this time he spent with his only son a major priority, far more important than the vicissitudes of everyday life, including his own job or his son's time in the classroom. The renegade in Joe Hardy had believed that a man must keep his priorities straight, and some rules were made to be broken. He had no problem declaring Opening Day a de facto holiday, regardless of the opinion of the administrators at his son's schools. He would pass this flexibility along to his son. For Dismas, those days in the company of his father, watching big-league baseball in person, were among the most cherished experiences of his young life. It didn't matter that they had occurred in the cramped bandbox of Seals Stadium or the freezing wind tunnel that was Candlestick Park. Great as those days had been, he thought that this one was better. Part of it, of course, was AT&T Park, which to his mind was essentially the platonic ideal of the ballpark. (Although, of course, how could Plato have known?) His seats, courtesy of a client who'd moved to Oregon and sold his season tickets to Hardy to keep or sell off as he saw fit, were as good as it got--in the last row on the Club Level, fifty feet from the broadcast booths, shaded from the sun and occasional drizzle, mere steps from the closest bar. He looked down at the sun-drenched field, warm and windless at the moment, a half hour to go until game time. Five minutes ago, the band Train had sung "Save Me, San Francisco" and now attendants were clearing the bandstand from the infield. Some of the players were still doing wind sprints or long toss out in left field. Soon his son Vincent (impossibly, twenty-six years old and playing hooky from his job at Facebook) would return carrying two beers, a couple of bratwurst, and an order of garlic fries. Hardy dabbed at his eye and took a breath against a wash of emotion. By all rights, he knew he shouldn't be here. He shouldn't be alive at all. About a year before, he'd taken two bullets--one to his chest that had bounced off a rib that deflected it away from his heart, and one superficially to the side of his head--bloody but not serious. These last couple of bullet wounds made it four in his lifetime, surely more than the average allotted number for a mostly sedentary sixty-something lawyer, albeit a former Marine whose first experience of getting shot, in the shoulder, had come while he was pulling a guy who would become his brother-in-law out from under enemy fire in Vietnam. But still . . . Four? * * * TROGLODYTE THAT HE was, Hardy had completely turned off his cell phone nearly an hour earlier, as soon as the Opening Day festivities and announcements had begun. Vincent, who could probably survive without air for longer than he could live if he were not connected to the cloud or the World Wide Web or whatever, for the first four innings kept up a steady and knowledgeable patter with his father about the game, his job, his girlfriend Jennifer, and the general state of his physical and mental health--all good. At the same time, his thumbs never seemed to stop tapping the face of his iPhone. Finally, with the Giants coming up in the bottom of the fourth, Hardy could stand it no more. "Who are you talking to all this time?" "Everybody." "About?" "Whatever." "Work?" "Sure. A little." "I thought you were taking the day off." "I am." "But you're also working?" "Dad. Really? Come on. That's the great thing about my job. I don't have to be there. I mean physically." "So what about here, where you are physically?" "What about it? I'm having a great day with my old man, having some brewskis, watching the ball game. I'm totally here right now. Bottom of the fourth coming up, three to two, Padres. You're thinking about cutting back to half-time for the summer. The Beck's had two offers to change firms and turned them both down. Mom's joined a women's hiking club and you think they're pushing it too hard. But if you want, I can go dark." "Not necessary." "But you'd prefer it?" "No," Hardy lied. In fact, he would have preferred it, but far more important to him was that he didn't alienate his son, to whom this was the norm, and who was, after all, living in the world in which he'd been raised. "I just need to get used to it. Multitasking in the modern age." "But you already are. Here we are, watching the game, you and me catching up on the home stuff, enjoying our beer. I'd call that multitasking, too. Wouldn't you?" He looked down at his phone and chuckled. "What?" Hardy asked. "Just a text from Ron." His roommate. "Saying?" "You really want to know?" "Sure." "Okay. Why'd the cowboy buy a dachshund?" "I give up. Why?" "He wanted to get a long little doggie." Hardy's lips twitched up slightly. "Good one," he said, though not, he thought, necessarily worth the interruption. Like so much of the rest of it. But continuing to push the conversation in that vein, he knew, was not going to be a fruitful line of discussion. He was just an old fart, unfamiliar and--it seemed suddenly, only in the past couple of years--slightly uncomfortable with the way so many of the young people he knew were living. He was the one who had to get over it, change with the times, go with the flow. "Hey," he said, getting to his feet, "I'm on a mission for another beer. You want one?" Vincent's thumbs were back flying over his phone's screen; looking up for the briefest of instants, he nodded absently. "Sounds great." Excerpted from Poison: A Novel by John Lescroart All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.