A stupid mistake has serious ramifications in “Fatal,” John Lescroart’s latest stand-alone thriller.
Kate Jameson loves her life and marriage to Ron. She has two children, and her best friend for over 20 years is Beth, a San Francisco police detective. At a dinner party she meets another couple, Peter and Jill. For some reason she becomes obsessed with Peter. Kate tries to bury it, but the desire is too strong and she arranges a meeting with him in a hotel. They have a passionate encounter and then walk away from each other.
Soon after the liaison, Kate is sitting with Beth in a cafe when a man walks in with a gun. The events that happen and the aftermath will echo not only with Kate and Beth, but also with the people they care about.
Six months after the tragedy, Beth receives a case where a man’s body washes up on the beach. The dead man is Peter.
A story of normal people making insane decisions while trying to hide infidelity could easily get steered in the wrong direction and make the characters too unlikeable. Due to a sudden lack in judgment, everyone close becomes embroiled in the web of deceit that is necessary to keep the truth quiet.
Somehow Lescroart weaves this moral ambiguity into a tale that is both frustrating and gratifying. His writing is constantly surprising, and the ending is perfect. Fans will not miss his regular series characters, while those who have never read his novels will discover a true master of the craft. Jeff Ayers, AP