Read The Motive Online

Authors: John Lescroart

Tags: #Mystery, #Thriller, #Suspense

The Motive

“An unpredictable plot…engrossing from start to finish.”


The Times Union
(Albany, NY)

With their park view and their old-fashioned detail, the Victorian houses on San Francisco’s Steiner Street were highly valuable. With their wooden construction, they were also highly vulnerable. So when Paul Hanover’s multimillion dollar home went up in flames, it was all over very quickly. And when the bodies of Hanover and his girlfriend were found in the charred debris, it appeared that the end came even more quickly for them—judging from the bullet holes in their heads.

But this isn’t just any double homicide. Hanover was a friend—and donor—to the mayor. She wants answers, now. And she wants Abe Glitsky, Deputy Chief of Inspectors, to provide them. With the help of his close friend, attorney Dismas Hardy, Glitsky reluctantly jumps on the case—trying not to step on departmental toes along the way. Before it’s over, the pair will have to face an old lover and an old enemy—and follow a trail of evidence that stretches far beyond their usual jurisdiction….

“Superb…it should end up as one of the year’s most talked-about page-turners in this popular genre.”


The Calgary Herald

“Grisham and Turow remain the two best-known writers in the genre. There is, however, a third novelist at work today who deserves to be considered alongside Turow and Grisham. His name is John Lescroart…. If you haven’t yet discovered Lescroart,
The Motive
is an excellent place to start.”


Chicago Sun-Times

“Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky are back and in more entertaining form than ever…. What separates Lescroart from the usual courtroom novelist is his characters…. They tend to come alive as people and not just action figures.”


Winston-Salem Journal

“As always Lescroart can be relied on to produce nailbiting trial scenes.”


Orlando Sentinel

“Dry wit…. The motive is as unusual as any I’ve come across in mystery novels.”


Toledo Blade

Praise for John Lescroart’s previous novels

The Second Chair

“Lescroart gives his ever-growing readership another spellbinder to savor.”


Library Journal

“Great characters and a wonderful sense of place.”


Chicago Tribune

The First Law

“With his latest, Lescroart again lands in the top tier of crime fiction.”


Publishers Weekly

The Oath

A People Page-Turner

“A terrific crime story.”


People

“Hardy and Glitsky are like good wine, improving with time.”


The Orlando Sentinel

The Hearing

“A spine-tingling legal thriller.” —Larry King,
USA Today

Nothing but the Truth

“Riveting…one of Lescroart’s best tales yet.”


Chicago Tribune

The Mercy Rule

“Well written, well plotted, well-done.”

—Nelson DeMille

Guilt

“Begin
Guilt
over a weekend…. If you start during the work week, you will be up very, very late, and your pleasure will be tainted with, well, guilt.”


The Philadelphia Inquirer

A Certain Justice

“A West Coast take on
The Bonfire of the Vanities
…richly satisfying.”


Kirkus Reviews

“A gifted writer…. I read him with great pleasure.”

—Richard North Patterson

The 13th Juror

“Fast-paced…sustains interest to the very end.”


The Wall Street Journal

Hard Evidence

“Engrossing…compulsively readable, a dense and involving saga of big-city crime and punishment.”


San Francisco Chronicle

Dead Irish

“Full of all the things I like. Lescroart’s a pro.”

—Jonathan Kellerman

A
LSO BY
J
OHN
L
ESCROART

The Hunt Club

The Second Chair

The First Law

The Oath

The Hearing

Nothing but the Truth

The Mercy Rule

Guilt

A Certain Justice

The 13th Juror

Hard Evidence

The Vig

Dead Irish

Rasputin’s Revenge

Son of Holmes

Sunburn

THE

MOTIVE

JOHN LESCROART

A SIGNET BOOK

SIGNET

Published by New American Library, a division of

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,

Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

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Auckland 1311, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

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Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:

80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Previously published in a Dutton edition.

First Signet Printing, January 2006

10  9  8  7

Copyright © The Lescroart Corporation, 2005

Excerpt from
The Hunt Club
copyright © The Lescroart Corporation, 2006

All rights reserved

ISBN: 978-1-4406-2076-8

REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA

Printed in the United States of America

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

To Lisa Sawyer

Again, and again, and again

Out of the crooked tree of humanity
no straight thing can ever be made.

—Immanuel Kant

Table of Contents

Part One

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

Part Two

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

Part Three

31

32

33

34

Acknowledgments

The Hunt Club

PART

ONE

1

B
y location alone, a block from Fillmore Street as it passes through the upwardly challenged Hayes Valley, Alamo Square would not be among the sexier neighborhoods in San Francisco. But one of the most popular and recognizable posters of the City by the Bay captures a row of beautifully restored and vibrantly painted three- and four-story Victorians that face the park on Steiner Street—the so-called “Painted Ladies.” The poster created a certain cachet for the area such that the cheapest of these houses now go for three-plus. Million.

The blaze at Paul Hanover’s, in the middle of this block, began around 8:00
P.M.
on May 12, although the first alarm wasn’t called in until nearly 8:30. Fires love old Victorians. Even though Hanover’s house had been stripped to the bare bones twenty years earlier—retrofitted for earthquakes and freshly insulated with fire-resistant material—it is the nature of Victorian design to have funky interior spaces, oddly shaped rooms, crannies and closets and unusual passages. Within the walls, since heat wants to travel up, fires employ the vertical stud lines as flues, almost as chimneys, to transport themselves effortlessly and quickly up and up into the roof spaces, where billowing smoke is most often noticed first.

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