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[The Vig] [by: John Lescroart] Paperback
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Then one day his former office-mate in the DA’s office shows up at the Shamrock to inform him that a man the two of them had helped send to prison for a 13-year term has just gotten out early. And he had sworn to murder both of them. Thus begins The Vig, the second book in the bestselling Dismas Hardy series (now 16 strong) by San Francisco crime novelist John Lescroart.
The Vig is a murder mystery with a large cast of characters and lots of moving parts. In addition to Dismas, there’s Abe Glitsky, the African-American police officer who is his best friend; Abe’s wife, Frannie Cochran; Moses McGuire, Dismas’ partner at the Shamrock; Moses’ widowed sister, Frannie; Rusty Shanahan, the former office-mate; Louis Baker, the murderous ex-con, and three younger criminals who hang around the neighborhood where he’s staying; Dismas’ ex-wife, Jane; loanshark Angelo “the Angel” Tortoni and his thuggish enforcer, Johnny LaGuardia; plus several hangers-on. Lescroart makes the whole thing work beautifully. Despite the large cast and the complicated plot, The Vig isn’t hard to follow. The principal characters emerge whole from the page. Suspense builds. And the novel wraps up with Dismas having emerged much further into the light of day.
The title, The Vig, is puzzling. The word (short for vigorish) is the usurious interest that a loanshark extorts from borrowers on a weekly or monthly basis that typically tie them to him for many years, often making it impossible for them ever to repay the principal. The concept enters the story, but it’s not central. But I guess many readers would find the word intriguing.
Intriguing storyline with descriptive writing that draws the reader into each scene. Realistic procedures, actions and reactions. Although a major part of the plot is soon apparent, the surrounding characters are their involvement is compelling. Believable characters with distinct personalities. Thought-provoking, informative and occasionally snarky dialogue.
I will re-read this story and always look forward to works by this author.