In The 13th Juror, Dismas Hardy, lawyer/investigator, undertakes the defense of Jennifer Witt, accused of murdering her husband and their eight-year-old son as well as her first husband, who had died nine years earlier from an apparent drug overdose. While preparing his case, Hardy learns that both of Jennifer's husbands had physically abused her. But Jennifer refuses to allow a defense that presumes her guilt. She is not guilty, she claims. Hardy is now driven to seek an alternative truth a jury can believe. As the trial progresses, the complex truth itself begins to change, to bend, to fade in and out of focus as the clock keeps ticking on Jennifer's fate, until there seems only one person left to convince, and she is "the 13th juror" - the judge. Annotation In one moment, Jennifer's world came crashing down. Her husband and son were murdered, and she--as a prime suspect--was facing the death penalty. Jennifer, a battered wife, refused to use a spousal abuse defense, insisting she was innocent. As Jennifer's story began to lose credibility, Dismas Hardy, her attorney/investigator, had only one last weapon for defending his client--the truth. Editorial Reviews Further evidence that Lescroart ( Hard Evidence ) can hold his own among legal-thriller writers comes with this taut novel about an abused San Francisco housewife who is arrested for shooting both her seven-year-old son and her physician husband, a control freak. Narrator Dismas Hardy, defense attorney and hero of four previous Lescroart novels, has plenty of suspects and issues to grapple with. First there's his icy, recalcitrant client, Jennifer Witt, who refuses to go with a battered-wife defense; Jennifer's aloof psychiatrist, who may or may not be her lover; some financial shenanigans concerning the victim's business that provide plenty of motive for high-stakes murder. Then there's the problem of Dismas's grandstanding boss, whose flamboyant, hit-or-miss style leaves Dismas constantly scrambling f
After a fizzled career as a prosecutor (lately chronicled in the author's 1992
Hard Evidence), Dismas Hardy works the other side of the street as a defense attorney. His first case seems hopeless: Jennifer Witt is accused of killing her husband and son, and plenty of witnesses place her near the bloody scene. The woman denies all, but it seems obvious it's all over except for the gas chamber. So Diz works "other dude" theories--finding who else could have pulled the trigger. Fruitful avenues of inquiry open up that Diz pursues with a diligence bordering on obsession, exasperating his wife and frustrating himself as the leads peter out. But he discovers that the victim was far from perfect, a wife-beater in fact, who also may have been entangled in some financial shenanigans at his medical practice. So what was the motive? Jennifer acting in self-defense? A Mob hit? Perhaps Jennifer's violent father popped the doc, and there's something fishy about her psychiatrist, too. All questions stay alive in the author's skillful hands, as his alter ego presents his theories to a tough-but-fair type of judge (the juror of the title). The suspense meets the minimum demands of mystery addicts: the domestic violence motif, the San Francisco locale, and the publisher's big promotional plans may increase Lescroart's modest following.
"A brilliant courtroom drama."
The Washington Post Book World
"I double-dare you to begin reading John T. Lescroart's new suspense trial novel and put it down....This one is on the money."
, USA Today
"Compelling...The power of the book lies in Lescroart's impeccable accumulation of detail."
The San Francisco Chronicle
"Unusual in his ability to combine courthouse scenes with action sequences, judicial puzzles and dimensional people, Mr. Lescroart produces a full house of well-drawn characters. The many subplots, social issues and legal maneuvers of
The 13th Juror, come together in a fast-paced text that sustains interest to the very end."
The Wall Street Journal
About the Author
John Lescroart is the author of nineteen previous novels, including The Betrayal, The Suspect, The Hunt Club, The Motive, The Second Chair, The First Law, The Oath, The Hearing, and Nothing But the Truth. He lives in Northern California.