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Some series are about more than the main character, as John Lescroart proves with his extended universe.
What is the Dismas Hardy series about?
Created by American author John Lescroart, Dismas Hardy is an ex-cop and lawyer who live in San Francisco and work a lot with his best friend, officer Abe Glitsky, among many other friends and associates.
Lescroart’s books are not always about Dismas Hardy, but the lawyer is the main protagonist in most of them. Some revolve around Abe Glitsky, the private investigator Wyatt Hunt, Rebecca Hardy (Dismas’s daughter), or Gina Roake, a partner in Dismas Hardy’s firm.
In a way, this is a reading order for the Hardy Extended Universe.
How to read The Dismas Hardy Books in Order?
There’s an indication when Dismas Hardy is not the main protagonist of the book.
- Dead Irish – In his new life as a bartender at the Little Shamrock, Dismas Hardy is just hoping for a little peace. He’s left both the police force and his law career behind. But when the news of Eddie Cochran’s death reaches him, Hardy is propelled back into all the things he was trying to escape. And forced to untangle a web of old secrets and raw passions, for the sake of Eddie’s pregnant widow, Frannie.
- The Vig – The past returns in the form of Rusty Ingraham—a former fellow prosecutor who drops by for a drink, warning Dismas Hardy that a perp they put away nearly ten years ago just got released…and might still be looking for revenge. Next thing Hardy knows, Ingraham’s houseboat becomes a murder scene, with a dead woman on board and Ingraham, presumably, at the bottom of the bay. To save himself, Hardy’s got to solve the case.
- Hard Evidence – When the bullet-ridden body of a Silicon Valley billionaire washes up on shore, assistant D.A. Dismas Hardy finds himself the prosecutor in San Francisco’s murder trial of the century. The suspect: a Japanese call girl with a long list of prominent clients. But when a bizarre series of events blows the case wide open, Hardy finds himself on the other side of the law—as a lawyer for the defense…
- The 13th Juror – Dismas Hardy undertakes the defense of Jennifer Witt, accused of murdering her husband and their eight-year-old son as well as her first husband, who had died nine years earlier from an apparent drug overdose. While preparing his case, Hardy learns that both of Jennifer’s husbands had physically abused her. But Jennifer refuses to allow a defense that presumes her guilt. She is not guilty, she claims. Hardy is now driven to seek an alternative truth a jury can believe.
- A Certain Justice – A Abe Glitsky Story. Somewhere in the once-placid streets of San Francisco, a young man is on the run, charged by the media with a crime he didn’t commit, hounded by demagogues, hunted by a desperate police department. Abe Glitsky knows that Kevin Shea is innocent of a brutal racial murder. An ambitious politician will use Shea for her own ends. And a down-and-out lawyer is all that stands between Kevin Shea and an even more atrocious crime.
- Guilt – A Abe Glitsky Story. Mark Dooher is a prosperous San Francisco attorney and a prominent Catholic, the last person anyone would suspect of a brutal crime. Charged with savagely killing his own wife, Dooher is fighting for his reputation and his life in a high-profile case that is drawing dozens of lives into its wake. Now, Abe Glitsky tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered life and a D.A. risks her career, the truth about Mark Dooher is about to explode.
- The Mercy Rule – Graham Russo, a former baseball star, is charged with murdering his dying father. Was it suicide, the last desperate act of a dying man? Was it murder? Or mercy? Now, as a carnival of reporters, activists, cops, lovers, and families throng around the case, Dismas Hardy is going to trial with a client he doesn’t trust, a key witness he cannot believe, and a system that almost destroyed him once.
- Nothing But the Truth – Dismas Hardy’s wife, Frannie, is in jail. Unbeknownst to her husband, Frannie has just appeared before a grand jury–and refused to share a crucial piece of information about her friend Ron, who’s accused of killing his wife. Now it’s up to Dismas to race the clock and find a culprit, all the while wondering: Why would his wife go to jail to protect another man?
- The Hearing – Dismas Hardy’s best friend, Abe Glitsky, has kept a secret from him…and everyone else. Hardy never knew that Abe had a daughter–until she was shot dead. It seems obvious that the heroin addict hovering over her body with a gun is the guilty party, and Glitsky has few qualms about sweating a confession out of him. But there is more to this murder-much more.
- The Oath – Doctor Eric Kensing is living in fear that he is about to be indicted for the death of a patient. That patient was his boss, Tim Markham. But Kensing and Markham aren’t just connected by work – Kensing’s wife is one of Markham’s many lovers. It’s not looking good for Kensing, so he enlists the help of lawyer Dismas Hardy. Despite all the damning evidence, Hardy becomes increasingly sure that Kensing is innocent.
- The First Law – While Dismas Hardy has built a solid legal practice and a happy family, his friend John Holiday, a proprietor of a rundown local bar, has not followed the same path. Despite this, Hardy has remained Holiday’s attorney and confidant, and when Holiday is suspected of murder, Hardy and Glitsky find ample reason to question Holiday’s guilt.
- The Second Chair – Dismas Hardy has lost his faith in the law. Now he has a high-profile and challenging case: a seventeen-year-old arrested for the double slaying of his girlfriend and his English teacher. As the case moves swiftly to trial, Hardy can’t even turn to his old friend Abe Glitsky for help. San Francisco has been seized by a wave of violence and an embattled Glitsky must somehow stop the criminal upsurge while being hounded by a hostile media.
- The Motive – When Paul Hanover’s multimillion-dollar home went up in flames, it was all over very quickly. And when the bodies of Hanover and his girlfriend were found in the charred debris, it appeared that the end came even more quickly for them-judging from the bullet holes in their heads. But this isn’t just any double homicide. Abe Glitsky and Dismas Hardy will face an old lover and an old enemy–and follow a trail of evidence that stretches far beyond their usual jurisdiction.
- The Hunt Club – A Wyatt Hunt Story. At first, The Hunt Club had a membership of one: private investigator Wyatt Hunt. Since then, others have joined with a common interest in obtaining justice. One member, inspector Devin Juhle, has just caught a major case: the shooting of a sixty-three-year-old federal judge and his twentysomething mistress…
- The Suspect – A Gina Roake Story. Carelessly confident that the cops will recognize his innocence when his wife is found murdered, Stuart Gorman tells them everything–and becomes not only the number-one suspect but number-one with a bullet. He reluctantly hires lawyer Gina Roake. Back in the game after a personal loss of her own, Gina knows all too well that innocence is no guarantee of justice…
- Betrayal – Dismas Hardy agrees to take an appeal to overturn the murder conviction of National Guard reservist Evan Scholler. Scholler had plenty of reasons for revenge—but as Dismas delves into the case, he begins to uncover a terrible truth that drops him right into the complicated world of government conspiracy, assassination, and betrayal…
- A Plague of Secrets – When high-grade marijuana is found on a coffee shop manager murdered in San Francisco, it suggests that the shop’s owner, Maya Townshend, may be behind more than a caffeine fix. But when another murder exposes a drug-buying A-list celebrity and political clientele, a tabloid-fueled controversy takes the investigation into the realms of conspiracy and cover-up.
- Treasure Hunt – A Wyatt Hunt Story. The widow of a major player in the world of San Francisco nonprofits believes that his alleged mistress killed him-and she’s putting up fifty grand to whoever helps prove it. Wyatt Hunt and his investigation firm want in on that action-no matter where it takes them…
- Damage – A Abe Glitsky Story. The Curtlees are a powerful force in San Francisco, unscrupulous billionaires who’ve lined every pocket in the Bay Area in pursuit of their own ascent. So when the family’s heir, Ro Curtlee, was convicted of rape and murder of a servant girl in the family home, the fallout against those responsible was swift and uncompromising. The jury foreman was fired from his job and blacklisted. The lead prosecutor was pushed off a career fast track. And head homicide detective Abe Glitsky was reassigned to the police department’s payroll office.
- The Hunter – A Wyatt Hunt Story. Private Investigator Wyatt Hunt has never been interested in finding his birth parents, but the discovery that his mother was murdered and the main suspect was his father leaves him with no choice but to take on a case he never knew existed. With the trail of the forty-year-old case long gone cold, Hunt’s first priority is to find out who the mysterious texter is and that person’s connection to him. But in confronting his past, could Hunt find himself up against a killer who’s still very much alive and very dangerous?
- The Ophelia Cut – When Moses McGuire becomes the prime suspect in the murder of his own daughter’s rapist, attorney Dismas Hardy – Moses’s brother-in-law – agrees to defend him. But McGuire has fallen off the wagon, and his stay in prison could bring to light old secrets that would destroy Hardy and his closest colleagues’ careers.
- The Keeper – On the evening before Thanksgiving, Hal Chase, a guard in the San Francisco County Jail, drives to the airport to pick up his step-brother for the weekend. When they return, Hal’s wife, Katie, has disappeared. By the time Dismas Hardy hears about this, Katie has been missing for five days. The case strikes close to home because Katie had been seeing Hardy’s wife, a marriage counselor. The original Missing Persons case has become a suspected homicide, and Hal is the prime suspect.
- The Fall – A Rebecca Hardy Story. On a cool night in May, a teenage foster child named Anlya Paulson plummets to her death from a San Francisco overpass. But did she fall…or was she pushed? Homicide inspectors focus their attention on a likable but naïve middle school teacher and volunteer foster care advocate. At first, his only connection to Anlya’s death is the meal they shared earlier that night. But soon his story falls apart, and Rebecca Hardy, now an associate at her father’s law firm, is drawn into his defense.
- Poison – Dismas Hardy is looking forward to easing into retirement and reconnecting with his family after recovering from two glancing gunshot wounds courtesy of a recent client. But this plan is cut short when, against his wife’s wishes, he is pulled back into the courtroom by the murder of Grant Wagner, the steely owner of a successful family business.
- The Rule of Law – Dismas Hardy knows something is amiss with his trusted secretary, Phyllis. Her out-of-character behavior and sudden disappearances concern Hardy, especially when he learns that her convict brother—a man who had served twenty-five years in prison for armed robbery and attempted murder—has just been released. Things take a shocking turn when Phyllis is suddenly arrested at work for allegedly being an accessory to the murder of Hector Valdez, a coyote who’d been smuggling women into this country from El Salvador and Mexico.
- The Missing Piece – No one mourned when San Francisco DA Wes Farrell put Paul Riley in prison eleven years ago for the rape and murder of his girlfriend. And no one is particularly happy to see him again when he’s released after The Exoneration Initiative uncovered evidence that pinned the crime on someone else. In fact, Riley soon turns up murdered, surrounded by the loot from his latest scam. But if Riley was really innocent all along, who would want him dead?
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This article was last updated on May 28, 2023.