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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author John Lescroart, a riveting stand-alone novel about the unexpected, shattering, and lethal consequences of a one-night stand on a seemingly happily married couple.

Kate loves her life. At 44 she's happily married to her kind husband, Ron, blessed with two wonderful children, and has a beautiful home in San Francisco. Everything changes, however, when she and Ron attend a dinner party and meet another couple, Peter and Jill. Kate and Peter exchange only a few pleasant words, but that night, in bed with her husband, Kate is suddenly overcome with a burning desire for Peter.

What begins as an innocent crush soon develops into a dangerous obsession, and Kate's fixation on Peter results in one intense, passionate encounter between the two. Confident that her life can now go back to normal, Kate never considers that Peter may not be so willing to move on.

Not long after their affair, a masked man barges into the café Kate is sitting in with her best friend, firing an assault weapon indiscriminately into the crowd. This tragedy is the first in a series of horrifying events that will show Kate just how grave the consequences of one mistake can be.

An explosive story of infidelity, danger, and moral ambiguity, John Lescroart's latest thriller will excite and satisfy both his current and new fans.

©2017 The Lescroart Corporation. All rights reserved. (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Jacques Roy's clear voice and expert pacing will keep listeners engaged with the serpentine mystery.... Roy's subtle approach and impressive vocal range make for seamless listening as the story jumps between the police investigation, domestic betrayal, and forays into Beth's personal life." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

How does this guy keep doing this?

If you could sum up Fatal in three words, what would they be?

What a silly question. (That's four.) Fatal is a stand-alone mystery that has some connections to the Dismas Hardy-Abe Glitsky books. Mainly the San Francisco Police Department. The writing is once again masterful, the plot is full of twists and turns, with perhaps too many killings but these are forgiven as they move the plot along. The characters are fully human, not one-dimensional, and their relationships are alive with good and bad feelings, and everything in between.

What did you like best about this story?

The layering of so many relationships. The complexity of the cop Beth and her best friend Kate: what goes on between them is fascinating. The character Peter Ashe is also central to everything in the book. I also loved the narration. David Colacci has read most of the Hardy-Glitsky novels; I had never heard Jacques Roy before, but he does a truly great job here. He is wonderful at tenderness, which is uncommon in this genre. I hope that female readers will like him. I know that the genre is mostly written for men, although I have women friends who very much enjoy these books as well.

What about Jacques Roy’s performance did you like?

As above, he has many of the skills that the best narrators possess. I don't know if he has had training in acting, but he sounds like he has. He knows how to use silence, which is much more important than people often see. We tend to take it for granted, but dialogue is much better when it includes the wise use of pauses and changes of pace.

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

There are quite a few. Many of them occur in the second half of the book. The terrorist attack is in the middle, and the book uses this point as a kind of breakwater. Much of what follows stems from it, but some of the action stems from Peter's promiscuity. Many of the conversations are quite moving, as is the case when love and sex drive the action.

Any additional comments?

My appreciation of Mr. Lescroart's talent and creativity grow as time passes. I hope you enjoy these books, as they make for fine entertainment.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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John Lescroart just has "it"

Lescroart can write! I found this book to be a stunning standalone for him (for those of you who follow his Dismas Hardy series) with fully-realized characters and a complex, well-developed story. The whodunit is not so much the crux of the book - it's more the characters and their motivations. San Francisco, it's neighborhoods, weather and locations all tie into the story and make a wonderful setting for the novel. The narrator was very, very good - just a shade below stellar. If you enjoy Dismas, you'll enjoy this offering from the author as well. For those of you unfamiliar with the author, don't come anticipating a thriller. This book will reward you with it's portrait of human failings and foibles; I would say it can be called a soap opera of the highest order!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Donlad
  • Hopewell Jct, NY, USA
  • 02-04-17

he had better books.

not a fan of this one. could have had some more about the main cacature

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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It was pretty engaging...

Until the procedural part of it literally dragged until the very end of the book. It was like watching a Law & Order marathon on TBS. it's interesting for the first three episodes, and then you tune it out as you get other things done.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Good story; should have ended sooner

What did you like best about Fatal? What did you like least?

Lescroart is so good at weaving an interesting story line that keeps you wanting to know what happens next. This time, however, he wrote about one chapter too many. The book would have been more intriguing if he had stopped with the conversation between the two killers, leaving you to wonder who killed whom. No need to bring the detective back in for a confrontation to prove she guessed what had happened but couldn't prove it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Pamela
  • Connersville, IN, United States
  • 01-29-17

Soft story line; manages to hit all liberal issues

Disappointing. Too many characters that make it difficult to connect with: Beth the cop, Kate, the attractive one night stand; Lori the anorexic; Peter the lawyer but jerk; Frank....Jill...their children....the list goes on and on as does the plot. However, not to disappoint the liberal left, Lescroart manages to get digs in on gun control, homosexuality and discrimination, jokes about Trump and Palin dying...geesh; it is all too predictable and boring. To think I actually looked forward to this book.

14 of 22 people found this review helpful

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had me hooked!

love dismas hardy series but this stand alone story was phenomenal. make sure you have time, you won't want to put it down.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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To many loose ends

Story is lacking in a clear decisive ending. Let’s you wondering who exactly were the guilty parties or party?

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Pretty cheesy and silly

So I thought this started off promising. It’s never explained why Kate badly wants to have an affair with Peter but I was willing to believe there was “just something about him” that left her desiring him so badly. But after the shooting takes place the book goes off the rails. I’m not sure I can list everything that was boring or implausible because there is just so much. I had difficulty keeping some of the characters straight because of how hard it was to pay attention at times. I listen to a lot of books and I try to be accurate in my reviews but this one ended up being mostly background noise. I finished it but I’m guessing this book will be completely forgettable.

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  • cristina
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 11-27-17

Not what you would expect

The plot summary will have you thinking this is the typical "fatal attraction" story except the author does not develop it along the expected line. The writing is above par, which makes it immensely readable. Characters are great.