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The First Law: A Dismas Hardy Novel | [John Lescroart]

The First Law: A Dismas Hardy Novel

At last recovered from a near-fatal gunshot wound, Lieutenant Abe Glitsky is back at work. But instead of returning to his old job as chief of homicide detail, he's assigned a desk job in the payroll department, where he has no business investigating murders -until his father's closest friend is shot dead in a downtown pawn shop.
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Publisher's Summary

At last recovered from a near-fatal gunshot wound, Lieutenant Abe Glitsky is back at work. But instead of returning to his old job as chief of homicide detail, he's assigned a desk job in the payroll department, where he has no business investigating murders -until his father's closest friend is shot dead in a downtown pawn shop.

Glitsky asks the new homicide lieutenant about the case, but the brass tells him to stay out of it. Guided by the Patrol Special - a private police force supervised by the SFPD that is a holdover from San Francisco's vigilante past - the police have already targeted their prime suspect: John Holiday, proprietor of a run-down local bar, and a friend and client of Dismas Hardy.

Hardy has ample reason to doubt both his client's guilt and the evidence conveniently stacked against him. Hardy turns to Glitsky for help, but when Holiday is implicated in the grisly killings of two more men, their pleas fall on hostile ears. To avoid arrest, Holiday turns fugitive, and the police believe three things: that Hardy's a liar protecting Holiday, that Holiday is a cold-blooded killer, and that Glitsky's a bad cop on the wrong side of the law.

And as the deadly pursuit for a murderer intensifies, Hardy, Glitsky, and even their families are directly threatened by the forces that want to see Holiday brought down. Cut off from the system that they both served, denied justice from the corridors of power, and increasingly isolated at every turn, Hardy and Glitsky face their darkest hour. For when the law that is meant to shield and protect those closest to them fails, they must look to another, more primal law in order to survive.

Check out more titles in the Dismas Hardy series.

©2004 John Lescroart; (P)2004 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (88 )
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  •  
    Pam Sturgess Laguna Niguel, CA 05-20-13
    Pam Sturgess Laguna Niguel, CA 05-20-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good book + horrible performance = waste of money"

    As is my habit, when an author I like comes out with a new title, I go back and start from the beginning and listen to ALL of his books before listenting to the new book. As i went through the Dismas Hardy books this time, I wondered why I didn't have The Oath, The First Law or The Hearing in my library. I purchased and downloaded all 3 WITHOUT rereading the reviews. Then I found out why I had NOT purchased them previously. This is one of the all-time worse narrators every to record a book. It's even more horrible because a couple of these are key book in the series. He actually does a lisping detective (REALLY?!!) What purpose does that serve. Hardy's voice read by Lawrence is nasal and whiny. I can't begin to express how difficult it was to listen to these. BEWARE!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PaddyC 01-08-12
    PaddyC 01-08-12
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    "Top Notch Legal/Crime Drama"
    Where does The First Law rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This might be my favorite of the Dismas Hardy/Abe Glitzky series


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Glitzky is my favorite character in this audio book, as the embattled former lieutenant in this thrilling story. The author did a great job with the Glitzky character, who has no official authority in this story, but had to take charge in a complex case with corruption and incompetence in the SFPD.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    as usual, the ending is thrilling, pulling the multiple themes together. The various settings in San Francisco are well documented and life like, as I lived in or near the city for 20 years .


    Any additional comments?

    this audiobook is a must have for your collection.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    denise 06-21-11
    denise 06-21-11 Member Since 2009
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    "The best yet"

    lots of suspense and intrique. I've read 6 of Lescroart's books. This is the best yet. I honestly couldn't put it down.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Key Largo, FL USA 05-18-10
    Richard Key Largo, FL USA 05-18-10 Member Since 2006

    keys guy

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    "Good police procedural"

    I'd been looking for a good police procedural and found it in The First Law - great characters and well crafted plot with unfolding clues. This is my first Lescroart and now I think I'll back up to the first book in the Dismas Hardy series. My only disappointments with this book were a few places that stretched credibility, and a strange narration. The narrator was brilliant with many of the character voices but also sometimes hesitant as if he was reading it for the first time. I didn't find this to be too much of a problem myself and I do highly recommend this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann 04-22-12
    Ann 04-22-12
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    "Terrible Narrator"
    What disappointed you about The First Law?

    I love the Dismas Hardy Series, as narrated by David Colacci. However, Robert Lawrence is TERRIBLE. Before you buy this book, listen to a sample of the narrative.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 01-04-12
    Jane 01-04-12

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very disappointing presentation"

    I am a fan of Lescroart's work. I enjoy his characters, their interactions, the integrity of his presentation of law and policing. I enjoy his sense of humor -- the dry wit between friends, the intelligence of his women, the passion and commitment to 'seeing things through to the end.' End being Justice, doing the right thing -- but not self righteously -- purposes are measured and examined.

    The First Law was a key book in terms of the Dismas Hardy series -- how the lives of important characters evolve -- and also tackles issues of corruption. As usual, it was rich with action and human complexities.

    The reader, however, managed to present the book in a manner that all but removed the subtleties of Lescroart's skills. His-- admittedly rich -- voice had the impersonal tone of a newsreader. It was as if he was determinedly disinterested. Furthermore, his voices for the various characters lacked life and sympathy -- or variation.

    Above all -- and very strangely -- his phrasing defied the author's flow: he paused where and when he wanted to.

    The general result was to create an uncomfortable wedge between listener and the author. And I gave this book three stars because I really couldn't fully appreciate it because of the reader.

    However, I do highly recommend Lescroart works -- and especially those read by David Colacci.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nancy mims, florida, United States 05-26-11
    nancy mims, florida, United States 05-26-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Love all things Lescroart."

    I have read all of John Lescroart's books, and now years later I am going back and listening to them on my ipod. I walk my dog every morning and evening and find that I walk longer when I have a good book to listen to, and John Lescroart's are a great listen! However I didn't notice when I bought this one that David Calucci was not the narrator! I found this narrator does not have the same talent.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Mounds View, MN, USA 08-22-09
    Susan Mounds View, MN, USA 08-22-09 Member Since 2005
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    "first law flawed"

    The story may have been good but, unfortunately, I couldn't get past the talent's voice. I really am getting into Lescroat but this one didn't work for me.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Giorgio Illinois 06-25-12
    P. Giorgio Illinois 06-25-12 Member Since 2001

    TheWriter

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    "A mis-step in a usually terrific series."

    First, the narrator's voice was robotic; he did not pause for commas and periods. His phrasing and timing and vocal variations were all disorienting and took away from the already hard-to-tolerate story. I would not recommend this book for anyone not familiar with the series. Perhaps in print it would be better, but the narration is so wrong, it will give the wrong impression of the quality of the other books.

    I love the Hardy series, but the characters and their characterizations in this one were either Lescroart's earliest renderings of them or a result of something having gone terribly wrong. The multiple (convenient) deaths which follow the first crime stretched credulity. The gratuitous violence involving the murders of two men and the apparent suicide of a "good" guy felt like shortcuts the writer used to build up a (not so convincing) momentum to justify the stupid vigilante climax. I am so glad to have not read these in order. Had I "watched" Dismas, Abe and Moses in this episode, it would have tainted their characters for me and I would not have read the later books.

    One problem that kept popping up for me was whenever Hardy was about to do something unethical, he ran it by other people who had to tell him that it was unethical, who listed the legal reasons, etc.. Hardy is a lawyer, and I don't care how close to home the threats may have loomed, he did not need people to remind him of the risks he was taking. That felt like overkill and word padding.

    I HATED the rendering of Abe Glitsky in this one. Again, had I read it before coming to "know" him later in the series, I would have been less interested in him. Here we see him as a weak, scared, easily-intimidated man who, by the way, was willing to bend the rules at the request of his father. The Glitsky of the later books would have felt and done none of this. Lescroart would have us believe that a man (whatever his mettle) is easily compromised and his nature almost destroyed by what happens on his job. In this book, Abe was serving detention, demoted from head of Homicide; his passive job in Payroll sapped his masculinity and his common sense. I think this is a little more telltale about the author than the character. The role played by Glitsky is a political/social statement: Take my job away, and the man/woman I once was no longer exists.

    Hardy's client, John Holliday was a bigger character than the other characters in the book. To me, with a series and its recurring characters, this was a mistake. Lescroart gave Holliday a likable though ambiguous disposition and throughout the book we are led to believe that Holliday might be guilty. Those aspects of Hardy???s client should have been subordinate to aspects of Hardy and Glitsky. Holliday???s role should not have been bigger (in effect if not dialogue and presence). Holliday???s presence dominated the epilogue, also starring Glitsky and Hardy.

    About the ending: The exoneration and the slaughter were stupid, unlikely. It seemed to reek of the kind of inexplicable carnage that is successful with a series like the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child. But in Child???s series, Reacher is the protagonist and simultaneously a virtual unknown. Contrasting the ending of Lescroart's "First Law" with the body count endings of a Lee Child novel puts Hardy et al in a silly light.

    Lescroart got smart later on. In future installments, Hardy and Abe regain their footing and do more of what they do best. The dialogue improves, the plot and its pacing are right on. In "First Law," the scenes where the two families meet, eat and play were okay, though they lacked the zest of Abe's trademark growl and the zeal of Hardy's and Abe's upbeat spouses and children.

    Another problem here is that the book contained too many clich??d problems of the times. Drug/alcohol addiction and recovery, resentful women once wronged, a May-December relationship, residual Vietnam-veteran era rage, marriage/remarriage, dead children, troubled children and second wives, bad cops, good cops, stupid cops, and accidental evidence. These elements are present in all the Hardy books, and the books are generally richer for their inclusion, but in this one, they felt added-on, planted for effect rather than written in as an organic part of the narrative. Lots of beating the reader over the head with the old ghosts to remind us why it was okay for good guys to lapse.

    So, while not my favorite, and not a recommended volume, it was okay because it added to the history of the characters we come to know over several more books. I hope there are more Hardy/Glitsky tales to come. Glad this one and Betrayal are out of my way and I can sort of forget the bad impression they made.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christian Lavergne, TN, United States 06-01-12
    Christian Lavergne, TN, United States 06-01-12 Member Since 2008

    Audiobooks allow book nerds like me to venture out in public and keep "reading."

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    "Great Story - horrible Narrator"

    Pre-Colacci (the current narrator who has gone back and done a few of the early books for us)...I'm really glad this wasn't the first book I picked up of John's - because I probably wouldn't have kept coming back. Listen to this book later - and you'll enjoy the story...but the narrator is really bad...I mean it...really.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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