Between the Lines: John Lescroart’s next legal thriller, ‘The Fall,’ out May 5

“I’m a working stiff,” said John Lescroart, pictured two years ago in his home office in Davis. “The Fall” is his 26th legal thriller.
“I’m a working stiff,” said John Lescroart, pictured two years ago in his home office in Davis. “The Fall” is his 26th legal thriller. Sacramento Bee file

New York Times best-selling author John Lescroart of Davis has done it again. His next novel, “The Fall,” due May 5, continues his run of 26 legal thrillers (Atria, $27, 320 pages).

This time out, one of his main characters, former cop turned defense attorney Dismas Hardy, teams with his daughter, Rebecca, who’s an associate in his San Francisco law firm. They take on a case that may be the suicide – or perhaps the murder – of a teenage girl in foster care.

Lescroart contributes much time and energy to local causes and never seems too busy to make appearances at grass-roots functions. That’s a rarity for an author with global book sales of 10 million and counting.

Lescroart, 67, pronounces his name “less-KWAH.” “Not more-KWAH,” he often jokes. Visit him at

Q: “The Fall” involves a father and daughter working on a case together. Any roots for that in your own family dynamic?

A: I was just trying to find something fun to put on the page, but, yes, to some degree. My wife and I are artists, so I’m amazingly surprised that both of our children are attorneys. I’m always interested in having my characters change, and it’s always fun writing about younger people.

Q: The teenage girl who falls to her death is African American, which links to current racial issues.

A: Last year, when I was writing it, I had concerns that the racial aspect might be anachronistic. But it turned out I beat the rush to this topic (sparked by incidents in Ferguson, Mo.). The way the justice system deals with racial issues doesn’t seem to be going away.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I have a book due in December and I have no idea what it’s about. It’s a stand-alone, with no characters I’ve ever used before. I’ve written 55 pages, and I owe 50 more by May. Writing is always fun, but sometimes it’s not easy.

Q: You do a lot of appearances.

A: I’m a working stiff who tries to respond to what people ask me to do, if they’re not wasting my time. I’ve been at small book groups in private homes, and (recently) went to (an authors event in Campbell) where there were five other authors and 850 people in the audience.

Q: What’s been the takeaway from all your book-touring?

A: Generally, authors are not celebrities, and the (venues that host them) should do something to add value to the experience of going to see them speak. They might say the authors will be there with their dogs, doing tricks.

Q: You’re a musician, too, and shared the studio recently with singer Jess Righthand (

A: She recorded several classic songs I wrote, harkening to the 1930s and 1940s. It’s rare that it takes me longer than a day to write a song. Sometimes it takes only a half-hour.

Q: You’re a gastronome, but you lost your San Francisco favorite, Cafe Des Amis.

A: It kills me that it closed. I love Boulevard, but you have to give them a two-month notice. Sam’s Grill has got my name on it. You can just walk in and get a seat, which is a plus if you want to eat before two months.

Q: What about Sacramento?

A: We come over the river frequently. We love Press, Mulvaney’s, Waterboy, Biba, Hook & Ladder

Q: Anything else?

A: The book business seems to be turning a corner away from digital and coming back to physical books. I still love what I do and hope I can keep doing it for as long as people want to keep reading.

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.

Reading and book-signing party

What: John Lescroart will host a launch party for his new novel, “The Fall.” The evening will include a reading and book-signing; music, wine and catered appetizers accompany. The public is invited.

When: 6:30 p.m. May 5

Where: Odd Fellows Hall, 415 Second St., Davis

Information: (530) 758-4940


If you have information on author appearances or other book-related special events, email it to at least two weeks before the event. To read the online calendar, go to Questions? Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128.