Lescroart has managed to produce another masterpiece of murder, corruption, and deceit in The Keeper, with the action this time centered around the character of Abe Glitsky in a brand-new role. Los Angeles prison guard Hal Chase’s wife has gone missing, and Hal—as the lead suspect in the as-yet unproven murder—hires defense attorney Dismas Hardy. It turns out Hardy’s wife had been the missing woman’s therapist and knows a few things about the marriage that she’s not allowed to tell. The tension ratchets up very quickly over whether this is actually a murder, but a body soon turns up and while the cops hone in on Chase, Hardy hires his friend, the recently-retired and very bored ex-homicide detective Abe Glitsky, to try and find the real killer.
Meanwhile, evidence begins to surface pointing to extra-marital affairs by both Chase and his wife, bringing new suspects into the mix. At the same time, Chase turns out to be smack in the middle of a high-level corruption ring within the prison system, adding yet more suspects to the case. Glitsky has his hands full and very quickly develops a target on his back. With each new piece of the puzzle he turns up without the restrictions of a badge but also without an insider’s legal knowledge of what constitutes acceptable evidence for a trial, he seems to be alienating friends and foes alike even as he comes ever closer to solving the mystery.
Like all of Lescroart’s mysteries, this one is densely packed with criss-crossing plot lines, a host of suspects to eliminate, fascinating character backstories, and enough humor to keep it lively. While I loved the extended and complex focus on Glitsky (one of my favorite characters) in his new role, I sometimes felt that Lescroart was still in the process of figuring out how to portray Glitsky’s new relationship with his old circle of cohorts, and not always successfully. I also have to confess that I sussed out who the murderer was much too early in the story, and while this may have been a lucky guess on my part, it did take away a little bit of the fun for me. Still and all, a well-written and exciting stand-alone addition to the Hardy/Glitsky collection, with promise of more PI Glitsky to come.