by John Lescroart Book #12 in the Dismas Hardy series (2008)
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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…
Between Evan Scholler, who has been sentenced to life without parole for the murder of an ex-Navy SEAL, and private contractor named Ron Nolan there is a connection. Two rapid-fire events in Iraq conspired to bring the men into fatal conflict: Nolan’s relationship with Evan’s girlfriend, Tara, a beautiful schoolteacher back home in the states, followed by a deadly incident in which Nolan’s apparent mistake results in the death of an innocent Iraqi family as well as seven men in Evan’s platoon.
As the murky relationship between the U.S. government and its private contractors plays out in the personal drama of these two men, and the consequences for Evan become a desperate matter of life and death, Dismas Hardy begins to uncover a terrible and perilous truth that takes him far beyond the case and into the realm of assassination and treason.