In the second book of the Dismas Hardy series by John Lescroart, Dismas is visited by Rusty Ingraham, an old colleague from the District Attorney's office. It seems Louis Baker, a defendent that swore he'd kill both Rusty and Dismas when he was released is preparing to be released. Rusty fears this con will actually come after them, so he asks Dismas to set up a check system. Dismas calls Rusty each morning at 10a.m. and Rusty calls Dismas each night at 10p.m. If either one doesn't call or isn't available when the call comes, the other goes looking for him...or gets the heck outta Dodge!
The very first night of Baker's release Rusty doesn't call, and Dismas finds Rusty's house boat to be the scene of a murder. Dismas is determined to make sure that Baker is nailed for the murder, so he's on the case. But when it starts to look like Baker ISN'T the murderer, Dismas has to figure out who really IS guilty.
I listened to this novel on audio, and I have to say I really enjoy this reader, David Colacci. He also read the Dead Irish audiobook. He does a great job of creating distinct voices for the characters, the females a little less so than the males. He also doesn't get overly dramatic. Too much drama starts to make everything seem more unbelievable, sometimes even silly. Colacci does a great job of avoiding that pitfall.
There wasn't much mystery to this plot - I believe Lescroart intended it that way. The focus was supposed to be on the process and the insight into Hardy's psyche. It was a slower moving story line as well. I felt that there was too much extra stuff that wasn't really important to the main plot idea, which was sort of the point, that all these coincidences tied in at just the right time to make the investigation more complicated than it had to be. However, for me that seemed to make the plot loose and all over the place. There seems to be a rather unimportant subplot that deals with Baker's neighborhood. Lescroart makes a connection through Baker, but it definitely could have been left out and not had much effect overall. There's also a subplot about the soon-to-be ex-husband of the murdered woman. Lescroart added a lot more detail about him that was actually necessary in my opinion.
There's also a subplot with Hardy and Frannie, Hardy's business partner's sister. That didn't play into the main plot at all. And I was trying to decide why it was not sitting right with me, besides the fact that it really doesn't affect the main plot. I guess the reason is because he only JUST got back together with his ex-wife Jane at the end of the last novel, which is only supposed to take place a few months before this one. And they seemed to be rather serious about getting back together then poof it's over already, and he's completely in love with Frannie. Hardy also commits the big no-no for me when it comes to the "girlfriend." He thinks he prefers Frannie over Jane not because he doesn't LOVE Jane (he thinks he loves both women), but because Frannie NEEDS him. (Insert very dramatic eye roll here.) That whole thing was a little too soap opera-y for me.
All is all, I preferred Dead Irish to this book. But it was still a good book for the car rides back and forth to work. I'll continue the series. And I do still like Hardy as a series character despite that faux pas. I had to chuckle at a few of the dated details in the book. For example, Abe, Hardy's police detective friend, has a son named O.J. And Hardy has his share of good one-liners, that always adds to a crime fiction novel. So, I'm not ready to hang up this series yet. We'll see how things go.