Defense attorney Dismas Hardy returns to defend a close friend against murder charges in New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart's most suspenseful and intricately plotted novel to date.
New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart's most beloved protagonist returns in a masterful novel that showcases the author's extraordinary storytelling gifts: a cast of flesh-and-blood characters, morally complex situations, and relentless, nail-biting suspense.
When his brother-in-law and old friend Moses McGuire is the prime suspect in the murder of his own daughter's rapist, attorney Dismas Hardy agrees to defend him. But McGuire has fallen off the wagon, and his stay in prison could bring to light old secrets that would destroy Hardy and his closest colleagues' careers. As the overwhelming evidence against McGuire piles up, Hardy focuses on planting doubt in the minds of the jurors-until, in a feat of legal ingenuity that is staggering in both its implications and its simplicity, he sees a new way forward that might just save them all. But at what price?
" Smart, riveting, and utterly compelling, The Ophelia Cut has and an incredible cast of characters from whom you will not want to depart... hands-down the best legal thriller I have read in years and a perfect case study for why readers love the brilliant John Lescroart." (Brad Thor, no.1 New York Times bestselling author of Black List)
The Ophelia Cut 1
MOSES HAD WANTED to see Dismas Hardy alone.
He'd unexpectedly dropped by Hardy's house on Thirty-fourth Avenue, and now the two men kept up a brisk pace as they walked along Geary toward the beach on this overcast November Sunday afternoon. Moses McGuire didn't like to worry his only sibling, Frannie, Hardy's wife. And he was, himself, worried to distraction.
That morning San Francisco's second newspaper, the Courier, had run an article by a columnist named Sheila Marrenas. It was part of a series on unsolved crimes in the city. This one revisited an event dubbed the Dockside Massacre, in which six years ago, five people, including the city's head of Homicide, Barry Gerson, had been killed in a gunfight on Pier 70.
For McGuire-and, he would have thought, for a lawyer like Hardy-it struck a little too close to home.
"They don't call her Heinous Marrenas for nothing," Hardy said. "Nobody reads her, Mose. I wouldn't worry about it."
"I read her. Lots of other people read her. She mentioned you by name."
Although that sent a little shiver of apprehension down Hardy's spine, he suppressed it. "She mention you?"
"Abe, Gina, anybody else?"
"David remains dead, if I'm not mistaken. He's not about to talk. Is that it?"
McGuire went on for a few steps, then stopped. "Tell me it doesn't get inside your head," he said.
Hardy pulled up, took in a breath. "It's never not inside my head, Mose. It never goes away. Not what we did. We had no choice about that. But the idea that it might come out. I live in fear of it every day."
"You ever think it might be better if we just . . . I mean, as it is, I read an article like that, I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop."
"Should we maybe bring it out into the open? Here's the easy answer to that: never in a million years. You shouldn't even begin to think anything like that. It would ruin a lot of lives, including yours."
"All right. But this living under the constant threat of exposure-"
"-is far better than living with the alternative, and don't you kid yourself." Hardy started walking again, and Moses fell in beside him. "You feel guilty?" he asked after a few steps.
McGuire shook his head. "No. That's why I think it wouldn't be so bad. If people knew what really happened, they'd see we had no choice. It was pure self-defense."
"True, but probably better not to let other people make that decision. We know it. We live with it. That's enough."
"It's wearing on me. That's all I'm saying."
"It wears on us all, Mose. I wish it hadn't happened, but talking about it isn't going to make things better." Now it was Hardy's turn to stop. "You don't think I haven't had nightmares? I'm watching a damn ball game and suddenly I'm zoned out, back there on that pier, taking the hit to my Kevlar. I'm not wearing that vest, I'm dead right now, you realize that? You don't think that makes an impression?"
"That's what I'm saying. We keep it a secret, we're basically saying it wasn't the right thing to do, and we know it was."
"No. Completely wrong. What we're basically saying is that, right or wrong, we can't tell anybody-not ever-because nobody would understand, and our worlds, as we know them now, would end." Hardy hesitated, then went on. "This is your damned twelve-step program talking. I don't care what they've been telling you all this time, having every issue out in the open, in the bright light of day, so you can talk about it and analyze how you feel about it is not the solution to every problem. Sometimes the solution-trust me here-is you just shut up and suck it up."
As always, with any even minor criticism of his A.A. program, McGuire became