John Lescroart is one of the most successful legal and crime thriller authors to date. With over twenty-five books to his name, including the incredibly successful Dismas Hardy franchise, Lescroart is known for his exciting, twisting tales about crime and the legal process. The best reading order for Lescroart’s novels is very straightforward because his series have all been published chronologically.
Lescroart was a self-proclaimed jack of all trades before he turned to a career in writing. At various times in his life, he was an advertising director, a bartender, and a fundraising executive. In 1981, his first novel, Sunburn, was published and Lescroart began to gain notoriety for his work. Throughout his career, Lescroart has been recognized with several prestigious awards, including the American Authors Award for Book of the Year in 2007.
Across the world, Lescroart has sold millions of copies of his books, which are now available in over twenty-two languages. His bestselling franchise, the Dismas Hardy series, has been gripping readers across the globe for decades as they follow the renowned lawyer through the twisted tales of complex legal cases.
For readers seeking to get the most out of Lescroart’s rich and captivating novels, it is best to approach them chronologically. While each novel features its own legal case or crime, readers can truly delve into Lescroart’s characters and follow the nuances of their journeys by reading the books in the order they were originally published.
All John Lescroart Books in the Best Reading Order
The Auguste Lupa Series
Son of Holmes (1986)
Rumored to be the son of the famous Sherlock Holmes and the nefarious Irene Adler, Auguste Lupa strives to uncover the truth behind the death of an intelligence officer and, in the process, reveal the story behind his parentage.
Set in a small French town during the First World War, Son of Holmes is a thrilling historical novel that shrouds the reader in mystery.
Rasputin’s Revenge (1987)
With the assistance of Holmes and Watson, Lupa must unravel a murderous plot that threatens the Winter Palace and its courtiers.
Lescroart’s second installment in the Auguste Lupa series, Rasputin’s Revenge, is packed with the same intrigue and mystery as its predecessor.
The Dismas Hardy Franchise
Dead Irish (1989)
Dead Irish introduces readers to Dismas Hardy, a man seeking peace after leaving his career in law enforcement. However, Hardy is quickly drawn back into the world of crime when Eddie Cochran dies unexpectedly.
Readers are sure to be drawn into Hardy’s world as he strives to untangle a web of deceit and desire.
The Vig (1990)
When a killer is released from the confines of prison and comes seeking Hardy, he must delve back into the criminal underworld to protect himself from the killer’s treacherous quest for payback.
The Vig explores the dangers of the mob and how it reconfigures the justice system to serve its own means.
Hard Evidence (1993)
Hardy finds himself at the center of a billionaire’s murder trial after their bullet-ridden body washed up on shore. The case is more complex than it initially appeared and Hardy finds himself working for the defense in a shocking change of events.
For readers interested in the legal process, Hard Evidence is a fascinating read full of thrilling sequences.
The Thirteenth Juror (1994)
When Jennifer Witt is accused of murdering her husband and their eight-year-old daughter, Hardy is tasked with one of his most complicated cases yet. Especially when Jennifer refuses to take a self-defense claim in light of her husband’s frequent physical abuse.
The Thirteenth Juror is a deeply moving and complex exploration of human morality and the parameters of the justice system.
The Mercy Rule (1998)
Reluctant to return to the world of law and crime after dedicating himself to his wife and children, Hardy is unable to escape the pull of the legal system when a fellow lawyer is accused of killing his father via a morphine overdose.
Exploring the complexities of familial relationships and moral ambiguity, The Mercy Rule is a captivating read.
Nothing But the Truth (2000)
Hardy finds himself in an impossible position when his wife is sent to jail when she refuses to give evidence against another man. Unsure if he wants to unravel the web of lies that surrounds Frannie and Ron’s relationship, Hardy must fight against time to save his wife.
A thrilling deconstruction of interpersonal relationships, fans of the previous Hardy novels will love Nothing But the Truth.
The Hearing (2000)
Conspiracy and corruption pollute the investigation into the murder of a young lawyer. Hardy finds himself in a difficult position when it is revealed that the young woman was the daughter of his best friend, Abe Glitsky.
The city of San Francisco is caught in the grips of the murder trial as Hardy strives to uncover the truth in The Hearing.
The Oath (2002)
A medical malpractice suit sees Hardy and Glitsky on opposite sides of a murder trial as Hardy strives to prove the innocence of Glitsky’s prime suspect. As the trial uncovers the terrifying truth that countless patients have been dying at the hospital under mysterious circumstances, Hardy must race to uncover the real killer.
The First Law (2003)
When Hardy is compiling a case against Patrol Specials, he finds himself in a world where survival and protection are the only rules people abide by.
The First Law is a thrilling read that explores Hardy and Glitsky at their most vulnerable.
The Second Chair (2004)
Hardy is rapidly losing his faith in the legal system, a dilemma only made worse when his partner, Amy Wu, agrees to defend a seventeen-year-old accused of murdering his girlfriend and English teacher. Glitsky is caught in his own turmoil as he struggles to curb the mounting violence in San Francisco.
The Second Chair is the legal thriller genre at its finest.
The Motive (2004)
In a murder trial corrupted by political influence and collusion, Hardy and Glitsky find themselves in an incredibly complex position, especially when Hardy’s ex-girlfriend is posited as the prime suspect.
Without the trust of his fellow officers, Glitsky must investigate the murder on his own while Hardy strives to win the case, with the two storylines converging in the mindblowing conclusion of The Motive.
In this ambitious novel, Hardy is tasked with uncovering the truth behind the relationship between the American government and its contractors. Discovering the truth forces Hardy to delve into the murky world of military contracts and international conflict.
Betrayal is a page-turner that will keep readers gripped from the first page.
A Plague of Secrets (2009)
Bound to protect his client’s secrets in a homicide case that is gaining national notoriety, Hardy is trapped between the oaths he is forced to keep and the ideal of justice he has committed his life to.
An exploration of the conflicting notions of duty and justice, A Plague of Secrets is a perfect example of Lescroart’s legendary skills in creating suspense and intrigue.
The Ophelia Cut (2013)
When Hardy’s niece is brutally assaulted by an obsessed ex-boyfriend, only for him to be found dead the following day, Hardy must step in and defend her father, Moses McGuire, as he rapidly becomes the prime suspect.
The Ophelia Cut explores the murky pasts of Hardy and Glitsky and reveals the dangers of uncovering the truth.
The Keeper (2014)
Hal Chase is suspected of murdering his wife and wants the famous Dismas Hardy to defend him in court. However, when Hardy employs Glitsky’s assistance to uncover evidence about the case, a complex web of deceit is revealed.
The Keeper sees Glitsky in jeopardy as he searches for the answers to increasingly dangerous questions.
The Fall (2015)
Working alongside his daughter, Rebecca, Hardy strives to learn the truth behind the mysterious death of a teenager in foster care.
As the media intervenes with the legal system, Rebecca and Hardy struggle to find justice in The Fall.
Despite wanting to cut back his hours at work, Hardy finds himself at the center of a family drama after the patriarch of the Carver family is found dead.
Everyone is a suspect in Poison as Hardy explores the family’s toxic relationships.
The Rule of Law (2019)
When his beloved secretary, Phyllis, begins to miss work and behave oddly, Hardy knows something is amiss. Digging further into Phyllis’ background, Hardy uncovers a world of armed robbery, human trafficking, and attempted murder.
Determined to prove Phyllis’ innocence, Hardy must maximize his wits to save her in The Rule of Law.
The Missing Piece (2021)
When a rapist and murderer is discharged from prison only to be found dead shortly after his release, the legal world is riddled with questions it cannot answer. Hardy employs Glitsky, now working as a PI, to track down the answers they so desperately need.
The Missing Piece explores the nuances of human morals in a twisted tale that grows more complex as time goes on.
The Abe Glitsky Series
A Certain Justice (1995)
Glitsky is forced to question his faith in the law and his position as an African American Jewish man working within the legal system when a young man is accused of a racially motivated murder that he did not commit.
Caught between politics and justice, Glitsky must question his morals in A Certain Justice.
Mark Dooher is a powerful man who is accustomed to getting what he wants. When his wife is murdered, Dooher uses every tool and person he has in his pocket to protect himself, much to Glitsky’s frustration as he strives to find the truth.
Both a prequel and a sequel to A Certain Justice, Guilt is a must-read for fans of Glitsky.
Faced with a figure he worked to convict in the past, Glitsky must work to protect himself and the other people responsible for putting Ro Curtlee behind bars.
A fascinating exploration of collusion and the thirst for revenge, Damage is a masterfully written narrative sure to capture readers’ attention.
The Wyatt Hunt Series
The Hunt Club (2006)
First featured in the Dismas Hardy series, the PI Wyatt Hunt finds himself at the center of a homicide with countless suspects. When the woman he has a blossoming romance with is also revealed to have a connection to the victim, Hunt is at a loss, especially when she disappears.
Desperate to find the truth and prove Andrea’s innocence, Hunt embarks on a treacherous quest to save her in The Hunt Club.
Treasure Hunt (2010)
Treasure Hunt follows Hunt and his protege, Mickey Dade, as they work to find the motive behind the murder of one of San Francisco’s most beloved fundraisers.
In this narrative, Lescroart masterfully blends a crime thriller with a coming-of-age story.
The Hunter (2012)
When Hunt discovers that his birth mother was brutally murdered, he delves into his past to uncover clues about who murdered his mother and why. Hounded by a mysterious texter who knows more than they will ever reveal, Hunt finds himself in a situation fraught with danger.
The Hunter is a thrilling conclusion to the Wyatt Hunt trilogy.
Lescroart’s first novel explores Spain as it teeters on the edge of revolution. The arrival of an American searching for his missing lover unsettles the careful balance between the two central couples.
Sunburn is a tightly wound thriller that offers a deep examination of loyalty and love.
The Suspect (2007)
When a woman who recently asked her husband for a divorce is found dead in her hot tub, all signs point to her husband, Stuart. Gina Roake, a colleague of Dismas Hardy, is eager to prove his innocence and employs the assistance of Wyatt Hunt to find the truth.
As the case proceeds, the narrative of The Suspect becomes increasingly complex, calling Gina’s sense of justice and morality into question.
Kate’s life is turned upside down when she has a one-night affair with Peter, a man she met at a dinner party with her husband. While Kate is ready to resume her life as normal after the affair, tragic events begin to consume her life.
Lescroart is a master of the legal genre as he expertly weaves questions of morality, justice, and faith into tightly wound mysteries. He is a must-read for any fan of legal and crime thrillers. With a multifaceted, interconnected cast of characters, readers can truly delve into Lescroart’s San Francisco and explore it in an entirely new light.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was John Lescroart’s first book?
The first book that Lescroart published was Sunburn, a historical thriller that explores love and loyalty.
Is John Lescroart still writing?
Lescroart’s most recent novel, The Missing Piece, was published in 2021. It is currently unclear whether he plans to continue the Dismas Hardy series or release more standalone novels.
Who is Dismas Hardy’s wife?
Hardy is married to a woman called Frannie and they have multiple children together.
How does Lescroart pronounce his name?
Lescroart’s surname is pronounced Less-kwah.
Are Lescroart’s novels bestsellers?
Nineteen of Lescroart’s thirty novels have been on the New York Times Bestseller list throughout his career.