Fatal

Fatal

From New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart, a riveting standalone novel about the unexpected, shattering, and lethal consequences of a one-night stand on a seemingly happily married couple.Kate loves her life. At forty-four, she’s happily married to her kind husband, Ron, blessed with two wonderful children, and has a beautiful home in San Francisco. Everything...

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Title:Fatal
Author:John Lescroart
Rating:
ISBN:1501115677
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:320 pages

Fatal Reviews

  • Matt
    Oct 30, 2016

    First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, John Lescroart, and Atria Books for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.

    Lescroart has made a name for himself, publishing over twenty legal thrillers with his collection of interconnected characters in the San Francisco area. Keeping with the Bay Area in this standalone novel, Lescroart shows readers why he remains a powerful writer no matter the characters he uses. After meeting at a dinner pa

    First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, John Lescroart, and Atria Books for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.

    Lescroart has made a name for himself, publishing over twenty legal thrillers with his collection of interconnected characters in the San Francisco area. Keeping with the Bay Area in this standalone novel, Lescroart shows readers why he remains a powerful writer no matter the characters he uses. After meeting at a dinner party, there appears to be a strong magnetism between Kate Jameson and Peter Ash. Kate finds herself acting out of her norm and lures him to a local hotel under false pretences. Defying his gut and normal practice, Peter allows himself to be seduced and their dalliance ends up weighing heavily on them both. Peter begins a life of philandering, as if his encounter with Kate has made him forget his wife and twins back home. Kate, too, has started to act odd in the eyes of her husband and children, as though the guilt is eating away at her. Out one day with best friend and SFPD Homicide Inspector Beth Tully, Kate is about to admit her deep secret, when the restaurant in which they are dining is attacked and scores are injured. Six months later, Beth is recovering slowly after being shot during the attack and Kate has made a significant recovery after slipping into a coma. Beth is alerted to the apparent murder of a man whose turned up in the Bay, one Peter Ash. As Beth and her partner begin trying to dig into the life of this man, the secret that seems to have pushed Kate and Peter to become shells of their former selves has begun leaking out, which leaves the list of potential suspects in Ash's murder mounting. While this case preoccupies her, an act of kindness in another homicide opens up a connection to a distant witness, one that will open social pathways for he. Struggling to find out how she can help, Beth must not lose her momentum on this current homicide. While she remains unaware of Kate's dalliance, Beth's investigative memory will soon push her to ask those awkward questions to anyone who may know about Peter Ash and his less than stellar extra-curricular activities. When two others with a tangential connection to Ash die, presumably suicides after they are wracked with guilt, Beth may have found her murderer, which allows her to put the Ash case to rest. However, as Lescroart has taught his readers over the years, nothing is ever cut and dry when it comes to homicide. A wonderful novel that entertains as much as it does impress long-time fans and is sure to lure a new set of fans with ease.

    Lescroart has become so synonymous with Dismas Hardy and the collection of other characters that I am not sure if this is a refreshing change or has me pining for more off-colour humour. The story was wonderfully laid out, offering a mystery woven into the plot line that eschews little judgement for the affair. How two people's lives can change so dramatically and affect so many based on a single decision is surely front and centred throughout the story, though the characters chosen offer such a varied reaction that Lescroart need not worry about his story losing momentum throughout. It clips along with ease and the shift of protagonists is done without so much as an awkward bridging, though the homicide investigation does take front and centre, alongside the personal plight of a brief case Beth handled in the early part of her introduction to the story. Lescroart writes what he knows, at least from a San Francisco point of view, and this affirms the greatness of his story. This novel does take some getting used to (at least for long-time fans), as the other shoe does not drop until late in the game, leaving the reader to guess at suspects and keeping any courtroom drama from anywhere in this story. That said, it is perhaps this difference that keeps readers hooked and goes to show Lescroart's versatile nature.

    Kudos, Mr. Lescroart on another success. I was so pleased to be able to see a different side to your writing, though I am still pining for more Dismas, Abe, and the rest of the gang.

    Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

  • Judy Collins
    Nov 27, 2016

    New York Times Bestselling author,

    returns following

    (2015) with a totally different type novel than his norm.

    a standalone, the unexpected - the deadly

    As you begin reading you will think you are embarking on another

    American television series (currently catching up with the last season); however, minus all the continuous down and dirty sex scenes.

    a gripping domestic suspense of a woman who

    New York Times Bestselling author,

    returns following

    (2015) with a totally different type novel than his norm.

    a standalone, the unexpected - the deadly

    As you begin reading you will think you are embarking on another

    American television series (currently catching up with the last season); however, minus all the continuous down and dirty sex scenes.

    a gripping domestic suspense of a woman who chooses a burning desire--to commit adultery-- infidelity, leading to a dark and suspenseful journey.

    age 44 is married to Ron (a lawyer) with two children.

    They attend a dinner party and Kate becomes obsessed with Peter, also married. Her best friend is a cop, Beth Tully. They had been friends since college and shared their thoughts. She had warned her not to act on her lustful feelings.

    However, Kate does not listen.

    turns into a nightmare. The lives it touches. Crossing lines. Harmful secrets. Could she go back to normal? Shattered lives. Deadly consequences. Murder.

    A shooting. Kate and Beth are wounded, then six months later. Peter winds up dead, plus more.

    Be patient, a slow start; however,

    (coming from this author), straying from the usual Dismas Hardy style---writing from a woman’s point of view, a strong driving force which navigates the novel. A different tone than the norm, character-driven, with more sensitivity and relationships between women and men.

    Lescroart is welcome to lead us down a different path, as long as he leads us back with another Dismas Hardy (coming soon), can’t wait! A superb storyteller (no matter the genre) from the master. Perfect cover!

  • Dan Schwent
    Jul 28, 2016

    When Kate cheats on her husband, she only meant it to be a one time thing. However, Peter, the man she cheated with, has other ideas and his world disintegrates around him. Six months later, Peter winds up dead in the ocean of a gunshot wound...

    On the heels of reading

    , I was in the mood for more domestic suspense so I picked this up when it showed up on Netgalley.

    Fatal is an interesting animal. The first half is set when Kate has an affair with Peter, right up until a terror att

    When Kate cheats on her husband, she only meant it to be a one time thing. However, Peter, the man she cheated with, has other ideas and his world disintegrates around him. Six months later, Peter winds up dead in the ocean of a gunshot wound...

    On the heels of reading

    , I was in the mood for more domestic suspense so I picked this up when it showed up on Netgalley.

    Fatal is an interesting animal. The first half is set when Kate has an affair with Peter, right up until a terror attack puts Kate and her best friend Beth into the hospital. When the book picks back up, Peter is dead, Beth, who happens to be the homicide detective who catches Peter's case, is on crutches and Kate herself is still recovering from a brush with death.

    Who killed Peter Ash wound up being a serpentine affair involving a lot of sex and a couple murders. As with a lot of mysteries, things wound up being really complex. While some of the twists caught me by surprise, a few of them were obvious and one I found a little far-fetched.

    I thought the characters were a little weak. Beth was the only one I felt any attachment to. I didn't care about Kate before she had the affair and she mostly faded into the background in the second half of the book. The ending was a little unsatisfying but it was open ended enough to allow Lescroart to write another book with Beth as the detective, something I'd be up for.

    Anyway, I guess I'll give this the safety rating of 3. It was engaging at times but it isn't going to set the world on fire.

  • Julie
    Sep 16, 2016

    Fatal by John Lescroart is a 2016 Atria publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Any fan of John Lescroart should be aware this is not a Dismas mystery. In fact, this stand alone novel is a completely off the beaten path from Dismas, which is a good thing, in my opinion. I love to see an author step out away from the security of their trademark series, and write something that might be a little outside of their comfort zone,

    Fatal by John Lescroart is a 2016 Atria publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Any fan of John Lescroart should be aware this is not a Dismas mystery. In fact, this stand alone novel is a completely off the beaten path from Dismas, which is a good thing, in my opinion. I love to see an author step out away from the security of their trademark series, and write something that might be a little outside of their comfort zone, without hiding behind a pseudonym.

    Having said that, I have mixed feeling about this one.

    Kate has a solid marriage and a life many would envy, but she decides, pretty much out of the blue, to blow all that up by pursing a man she met at a dinner party. Naturally, despite her having gotten it all out her system, there are consequences, and things spiral out of control in ways she could never have thought possible.

    If you didn’t learn your lesson about the consequences of adultery from ‘Presumed Innocent’, or ‘Fatal Attraction’, then maybe you should read this book in order to refresh your memory or to drive the point home, once and for all.

    This twisty story is not only a crime story, but a cautionary tale, reminding us of how selfish adultery is, how it touches so many lives, from spouses, children, friendships, and careers, employees, you name it. Lives literally blow up and it’s never pretty. But, when a murder takes place, the suspects are many, the secrets explosive, and no one will walk away unscathed.

    This is a nice effort by Lescroart, but it felt a little heavy handed, because the obvious message was driven home so hard, it was like being hit over the head with it. The characters’ actions and the dialogue are often stilted or unconvincing, and the plot needed a balance check a time or two.

    For those who need a character to like or cheer for, be forewarned, you won’t find one here, with Beth being the possible exception, at least in my opinion.

    The ending, is unsettling, but also a little disappointing, and while we know how everything ended up, the conclusion left a bitter taste in my mouth.

    However, the story is interesting enough that I kept turning the pages, and I never guessed how things went down or whodunit, but, for me, this is just an okay read, not bad, just a little tepid, and nothing here has stirred me or left me thinking about the book for too long after completion.

    So, I’ll go with the take it or leave it- middle of the road rating. 3 stars

  • Stephanie
    Nov 28, 2016

    I love the Dismas Hardy series and was ecstatic to be granted an ARC for

    new standalone novel. It is a completely different type of work than the series, but is well done.

    The story starts with a dinner where three couples are in attendance. Kate, a happily married woman, finds herself thinking of Peter, one of the other guests, also happily married. Kate isn't just thinking of Peter -- she is obsessed with bedding him. After the inevi

    I love the Dismas Hardy series and was ecstatic to be granted an ARC for

    new standalone novel. It is a completely different type of work than the series, but is well done.

    The story starts with a dinner where three couples are in attendance. Kate, a happily married woman, finds herself thinking of Peter, one of the other guests, also happily married. Kate isn't just thinking of Peter -- she is obsessed with bedding him. After the inevitable happens, a chain of traumatic events follows, including a terrorist incident injuring both Kate and her best friend, Beth.

    The story takes unexpected twists and turns that are mainly unpredictable. I found myself not wanting to put the book down until it was complete. On the other hand, the moral undertone was a little bit too heavy. Furthermore, most of the characters were highly unlikeable, some bordering on despicable. Overall, I really enjoyed the time spent with this book.

    I recommend

    to readers of the thriller genre and to fans of the author.

    Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for an ARC.

  • Liz
    Jan 16, 2017

    3.5 stars

    I think I've read almost every Dismas Hardy book John Lescroat has written and most of his other series’ books as well. And I found them uniformly good. So I was thrilled to get this stand alone book from netgalley. The plot concerns a married woman who acts on an attraction to a married man she meets at a dinner party. Her best friend, Beth, is a police detective who tries to talk her out of acting on her fantasy, to no avail. Given the premise, I had trouble liking Kate, the married w

    3.5 stars

    I think I've read almost every Dismas Hardy book John Lescroat has written and most of his other series’ books as well. And I found them uniformly good. So I was thrilled to get this stand alone book from netgalley. The plot concerns a married woman who acts on an attraction to a married man she meets at a dinner party. Her best friend, Beth, is a police detective who tries to talk her out of acting on her fantasy, to no avail. Given the premise, I had trouble liking Kate, the married woman in question. I never felt like her strong attraction to Peter was ever sufficiently explained, so it just seemed so odd that she decided to cheat.

    It's also not adequately explained why Peter goes off the rails after this one encounter and upends his life. From a single encounter to leaving the wife, kids and screwing everything in sight. I just didn't get it.

    It's not until ⅓ of the way in after a terrorist attack and Peter is killed does the book start to come alive. It's a big old messy case for Beth with either no suspects or hundreds. I like that it's not nice and neat. Or that Beth’s life isn't nice and neat. The novel moves along at a good clip once Peter is murdered. Beth is a good character and I would be interested in seeing her show up in her own series.

    This was a decent mystery. Yes, you have a pretty good idea where it's heading, but that doesn't make it any less of a page turner.

    My thanks to netgalley and Atria Books for an advance copy of this book.

  • Monnie
    Dec 01, 2016

    "

    ." That time-honored line from Sir Walter Scott's "Marmion" kept running through my head as I read this book - a terrific standalone from the author of the popular Dismas Hardy series.

    The story revolves around three married couples - Kate and Ron, Peter and Jill and Bina and Geoff. The first two didn't know each other until they meet at a dinner party at the home of the third. But just one meeting was all it took for Kate to beco

    "

    ." That time-honored line from Sir Walter Scott's "Marmion" kept running through my head as I read this book - a terrific standalone from the author of the popular Dismas Hardy series.

    The story revolves around three married couples - Kate and Ron, Peter and Jill and Bina and Geoff. The first two didn't know each other until they meet at a dinner party at the home of the third. But just one meeting was all it took for Kate to become obsessed with Peter - leading to a one-time tryst. Kate gets what she wants and tries to move on with her life, which includes occasional long walks near San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge with her old friend and police detective, Beth.

    But Kate's life certainly isn't all roses and clover; she and Ron have kids to deal with, he's having a rough patch at the law firm with his partner, Geoff, and Kate continues to wrestle a bit with her dalliance. Peter and Jill have sons with attitude problems; thankfully, Peter has longtime legal secretary Theresa's shoulder to cry on. Beth is trying to manage her hectic life on the force without alienating her daughter Ginny; as a result of one investigation, she takes a young victim under her wing who then becomes fast friends with Ginny, who has a good-looking, unmarried brother Andy (no surprise where that last one is going, but it's interesting to see how it gets there).

    Gradually, what's going on in the lives of all these players is revealed; clearly, all of them are dealing with "issues" of some kind. Character development is a strength here, with layers of backgrounds and feelings peeled back as the story moves along (amid plenty of action, twists and turns, I might add).

    Did I figure out whodunit? Well, yes and no - and I'll leave it at that. In conclusion, I'll note that the advance copy I received in exchange for an honest review includes a political joke that I suspect may be deleted from the post-election published version. If it is, that's too bad because it was doggone funny to me; but if it's left in, it's likely to trigger a Twitter rant from the other "side." Inquiring minds would love to know!

  • Melissa
    Dec 08, 2016

    I have to admit,

    felt like a mishmash of a few too many ideas crammed in to one novel. It all starts with an in-your-face bold betrayal of marriage vows, followed by a random terrorist attack, that eventually morphs in to a predictable murder investigation. I get the message the author was trying to send -

    - but there was something about it all that wasn't cohesive enough for me.

    From the opening of the story, I expected this to be a wild ride. We meet K

    I have to admit,

    felt like a mishmash of a few too many ideas crammed in to one novel. It all starts with an in-your-face bold betrayal of marriage vows, followed by a random terrorist attack, that eventually morphs in to a predictable murder investigation. I get the message the author was trying to send -

    - but there was something about it all that wasn't cohesive enough for me.

    From the opening of the story, I expected this to be a wild ride. We meet Kate, a woman determined to get her man or one carefree romp with him, at least. She initially meets Peter at a dinner party with some mutual friends and she’s relentless in tracking him down. The only problem - they’re both married. That doesn’t stop her from scheming though. It’s actually quite shocking how aggressive her seduction is. Peter had absolutely no idea what the heck he was walking in to.

    That’s not to say he failed to participate. Peter and Kate kind of end things on a “see you around” note, with no plans to ever relive the experience, but something in him sort of snaps. He realizes he isn’t happy in his life anymore and goes wild, or so we’re told. I think it was a mistake that the author chose not to give us more of his unraveling first-hand.

    Skip ahead six months - Kate and her best friend Beth are recovering from a terrorist attack, they both barely managed to survive, and Peter’s body has washed up on a beach with a bullet hole. This is where Beth takes over the storyline. She’s one of the lead investigators set to track down the person responsible for Peter feeding the fish. I have to say, Beth was my favorite part of the entire story. Is it possible we might get another book with her character? The witty and sarcastic banter she shared with her partner and her beau was pure gold. Have I mentioned, I’m a complete sucker for great banter?

    Once the investigation began, I felt like I knew exactly where the story was headed.

    That’s not to say this was horrible or even unenjoyable, it just wasn’t everything I hoped it would be - especially after that shocking opening. Sad to say, but

    many times over already.

  • Barbara
    Jan 19, 2017

    Kate and Ron Jameson are happily married with two savvy teenagers and a nice house in San Francisco. Things take a turn, however, after a dinner party hosted by Ron's law partner, Geoff Cooke. At the party, Kate meets attorney Peter Ash and develops an insatiable desire to have sex with him. Without mentioning Peter's name Kate confides her obsession to her best friend, Beth Tully - who happens to be an SFPD detective - and is advised to forget about the man.

    Against Beth's advice - and her own

    Kate and Ron Jameson are happily married with two savvy teenagers and a nice house in San Francisco. Things take a turn, however, after a dinner party hosted by Ron's law partner, Geoff Cooke. At the party, Kate meets attorney Peter Ash and develops an insatiable desire to have sex with him. Without mentioning Peter's name Kate confides her obsession to her best friend, Beth Tully - who happens to be an SFPD detective - and is advised to forget about the man.

    Against Beth's advice - and her own better judgement - Kate tricks Peter into meeting her in a hotel room, then brazenly seduces him. Afterwards, Kate immediately wants to end things. Having got Peter out of her system, Kate blithely feels she can go on with her life as it was before. For his part, Peter, who has a wife and twin teenage sons, seems to have an existential crisis after the affair. He takes to drinking and womanizing....and seems to lose interest in his marriage and job.

    A couple of weeks after 'the affair' Kate and Beth are having coffee at the Ferry Building Marketplace when terrorists barge in and shoot the place up. The two women are seriously injured: Kate is shot in both legs and Kate sustains dire chest injuries, but both women slowly recover.

    Six months after the terror shooting, Beth - who's still limping - gets a new case. She and her partner, Detective Ike McCaffrey, are assigned to investigate the homicide of Peter Ash - who was found floating in San Francisco Bay. Of course Beth doesn't know about Kate's previous liasion with Peter......yet.

    The investigators talk to Peter's wife, sons, secretary, colleagues, friends, and so on. And Geoff Cooke - who considers himself Peter's best buddy - offers to assist in any way he can. More deaths occur, and the detectives have plenty of suspects to consider.

    In a side story, Beth and her daughter Ginny befriend an anorexic young woman named Laurie, who fell into despair after her married lover was killed.

    Eventually Beth and Ike discover who did what. For me, the ending wasn't completely satisfying.....but that's all I can say without spoilers.

    This standalone novel isn't as good as John Lescroart's 'Dismas Hardy' series. The plot of 'Fatal' feels a little raw and some of the characters aren't believable. For instance, Kate's sudden obsession for Peter doesn't ring true. I expected to discover she'd been hypnotized or drugged - and given a 'post-hypnotic suggestion' to have sex with Peter (but apparently not). I also think a 'nice woman' like Kate would consider the consequences of seducing a married man - and possibly ruining his life.....but she doesn't give this a second thought.

    When it comes to Peter, it's unlikely that a sensible, hard-working guy like him would change so dramatically after one sexual encounter. Peter's a grown man, not a hormone-driven teenage boy.

    I also have a quibble about the anorexic girl, Laurie. Anorexia is a serious condition, and anorexics don't suddently start eating just because a new friend brings over a tasty meal. This plot point doesn't seem well thought out.

    As I was reading, I thought this might be an early Lescroart book, being published now to make a few bucks. However - in the acknowledgements - Lescroart says he recently wrote the book, so that's not the case. Maybe it's just a new 'Beth Tully' series that's getting off to a bit of a rough start.

    All in all, this is an okay mystery. If you're a suspense fan who's planning a vacation or plane trip, this book would provide suitable company.

    Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book.

    You can follow my reviews at

  • Karen
    Jan 24, 2017

    This stand-alone novel is a fine example of award-winning John Lescroat’s writing skills when it comes to crime thrillers. His formula of suspense, compelling characters and great pacing works yet again.

    Recently introduced at a couples’ dinner, Kate can’t take her mind off of Peter. Impulsively, she phones Peter for a dalliance. The consequences of their one-night stand upends their lives; family loyalties put in jeopardy. Then one day, Peter is found murdered.

    8 years on the job, police inspect

    This stand-alone novel is a fine example of award-winning John Lescroat’s writing skills when it comes to crime thrillers. His formula of suspense, compelling characters and great pacing works yet again.

    Recently introduced at a couples’ dinner, Kate can’t take her mind off of Peter. Impulsively, she phones Peter for a dalliance. The consequences of their one-night stand upends their lives; family loyalties put in jeopardy. Then one day, Peter is found murdered.

    8 years on the job, police inspector Beth Tully leads the investigation into Peter’s death. I love Beth’s character - she is committed to the pursuit of justice, trying hard to balance her all-consuming career with her personal life, a life that always seems to take a back seat. Coincidentally, Kate is her best friend. That discovery simmered in my mind while potential murderers are introduced - Kate’s husband Ron, Peter’s secretary, his landlord, friends and family, motives pile up. The variety of the characters add color to the storyline; they are realistically flawed. Suspense builds as the investigation unfolds, clues are discovered and webs of deceit and unsavory behavior revealed. The book had a great pace and kept me guessing. I couldn’t wait to find out how the story would end. I highly recommend this book to fans of cop mystery thrillers.