With "Dead Irish" John Lescroat begins his wonderful San Francisco-based thriller series, introducing many of the characters who populate subsequent episodes. I call the series soap-opera thrillers -- meaning no disparagement whatsoever -- because Lescroart devotes so much attention to character development. He makes us feel a real connection to his characters and the intricacies of their lives. I can see how this degree of character development might annoy some thriller fans who want plenty of action, without non-essential distractions. And to those people I would not recommend Lescroart's novels. But Lescroart clearly had a series in mind when he began it with "Dead Irish," wanting to establish his characters' motivations and emotional underpinnings. Lescroart writes well to start with, improving with each installment, providing us with a chain of very enjoyable audiobooks. Although each episode can stand alone -- since Lescroart always fills in the details we need to know from previous episodes -- I recommend listening to this series in chronological sequence, in order to fully appreciate the developing story. David Colacci has the perfect voice and acting chops to read these audiobooks, using the same voices for each character throughout the series. I only regret that Mr. Colacci wasn't tapped to read all the Lescroart audiobooks, because the other readers break the consistency Colacci had established. I highly recommend the entire series to all thriller-lovers who have the patience for good character development and intricate plotting.
The O'Shaughnessy sisters skate dangerously close to the romance genre with their Nina Reilly series. The novels have most of the qualifying romance elements, including the tall, hunky, blonde bad-boy totally in love with the tiny, beautiful, intelligent lawyer, who resists his love and her own longing for him. Fortunately, excellent writing; fascinating, innovative plots; and intelligent, exciting court scenes save this series from the romance category. The Nina Reilly series definitely falls into the legal thriller category, and makes a significant contribution to it. I am greatly enjoying listening to the entire series again in chronological order. It seems to me that each novel gets better than the last. That implies, of course, that this first novel in the series, "Motion to Suppress," is the least satisfying of the lot. None-the-less, this audiobook still rates five stars. Pamela and Mary O'Shaughnessy have initiated a wonderful legal soap opera with "Motion to Suppress." Here we meet Nina Reilly, toiling away in a San Francisco law firm, in an unsatisfactory marriage, raising a lovable eleven-year-old boy, who has a mysterious, absent father. The end of her marriage prompts Nina to move to beautiful Lake Tahoe, where she bravely establishes her own law firm. Her very first case begins the exciting adventures of Nina Reilly, esq. You will enjoy meeting her tough, assertive legal secretary, Sandy Whitefeather — a member of the Washoe nation — and her above-mentioned hunky investigator, Paul Van Wagoner. The narrator of this series, Laural Merlington, does a good job reading the stories. She has a nice, mature, versatile voice, which she uses skillfully to distinguish the characters, especially the men. As the previous reviewers have said, you can listen to these Nina Reilly audiobooks in any order; but I am discovering as I listen to them again in order, that doing so does enhance the enjoyment of this series. I recommend starting here, with "Motion to Suppress," and then listening to each of the novels in order.
When I first started listening to "Guilt," I thought that this novel, despite the copyright dates, must come chronologically before "A Certain Justice," Lescroart's previous novel. But, actually, Lescroart here has used the risky technique of filling in the back-story missing from "A Certain Justice." I don't think the technique quite works with "Guilt," since it leaves the listener feeling a bit confused until the end, where the story jumps to events after "A Certain Justice." For this reason, I have docked one star from my rating of "Guilt." Otherwise, Lescroart gives us his usual excellent writing, and David Colacci gives us his usual excellent narration. Perhaps, to vent another slight criticism of "Guilt," Lescroart paints the bad guy -- Mark Dooher -- with a bit of cartoonist's brush: portraying a villain so good and likable on the outside that nobody can see the evil on the inside. But we like our bad guys bad, and our good guys good, don't we? We already know, from "A Certain Justice," that Mark Dooher is a bad guy, so we have inside knowledge that the other characters don't have; and we keep wondering when the other characters are going to wake up to Dooher's inner wickedness. Of course, he gets his just deserts in the end. I would recommend "Guilt" to Lescroart fans, suspense fans, and legal thriller fans who have patience for good character development and intricate plotting. Only I might recommend that they listen to "Guilt" before listening to "A Certain Justice," since these two novels seem to have been published out of sequence in Lescroart's San Francisco series.