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The Mercy Rule

(Dismas Hardy #5)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,497 ratings  ·  137 reviews

Once Dismas Hardy was a cop. Now he spends his days in a lawyer's suit, billing hours to a corporate client in a downtown San Francisco office. Hardy's wife and kids like it that way. Then one client changes everything.


Graham Russo, a former baseball star, is charged with murdering his dying father. Was it suicide, the last desperate act of a dying m
Paperback, 640 pages
Published August 10th 1999 by Dell (first published September 8th 1998)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,497 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Apr 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of John Lescroart since the first book of his that I read. I like the idea of having characters which recur in subsequent books--even ones like Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky, who are at times seriously flawed.

This is probably the longest of his novels, and quite entertaining with many twists and turns. The villains are villanous, and the hero not always heroic.
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: legal-thriller
The Mercy Rule took a little too long in the groundwork and introduction, though enjoyable, to the main course. The issue of assisted suicide in the trial is interesting. The trial is fairly entertaining, though.
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great book! It’s a well crafted combination of legal drama, police procedural and insights about the realities of the bureaucracy that governs the system. This is the 5th entry in a series but, while it’s helpful to know the background of the characters by reading the series in order, I think this could be easily read independently of the other books. While this is a different author with a different writing style, it reminds me of the quality of a Michael Connelly book and that’s high pr ...more
Mary JL
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of mystery/legal thrillers
Shelves: mystery-horror
I have read at least seven of the Dismas Hardy books and this series has been very enjoyable.

This book continues the winning streak. I really enjoy Lescroart's writing style. His books are detailed and you need to read carefully to follow all the little clues hidden here and there. I don't want to say more because of spoilers, but this is a great addition to the Dismas Hardy series. They can be read out of order as each stands alone.

Highly recommended for fans of legal thrillers.
Narrator: David Colacci

I liked this for the most part but found it overly long - 18 hours! It could have been shortened without affecting the plot, IMO.

I did enjoy Dismas investigating the case against Graham and I found his wife, Frannie's interaction with Dis refreshing. She's smart, independent, and supportive towards her husband - something, at the start of the book, Dis doesn't seem quite aware of. So Frannie surprised me in a pleasant way because most w
Joel Ungar
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is the second Dismas Hardy novel I've read (possibly the third - see below) and I will be reading the rest of the series. The characters are wonderful - flawed and human. I read too many books where all of the characters are almost superhuman - the men were at the top of their classes and the women aren't real. Dismas Hardy is real - loves his family but seems to love his career more. He has deep friendships, and sometimes he pushes them to the limits.

The book touches on assisted suicide, h
In rereading Lescroart I'm reminded about how topical his legal thrillers are--this is right to die--and how determined he is to solve the crime, not just get his client off. Investigative, good dialog, SF zeitgeist. And always a pleasure to listen to David Colacci. ...more
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Although this story is much longer than necessary, the last 1/3 saves it from becoming a disaster. This is a rescue Houdini would be proud of. 7 of 10 stars
Byron Washington
Good Tale!!

Reading John Lescroart was something like a palate cleanser. I needed a break from books about love, romance, angst and all of the rest that evolves from that four letter word. Just a good old murder/mystery coupled with extensive courtroom drama and backroom politics, and Lescroart, Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky ALWAYS deliver.

Buy it, read it and enjoy!!👍🏾🔥👍🏾🔥👍🏾🔥👍🏾🔥👍🏾🔥

Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed Mercy Rule. I’ve been a Lescroart fan for quite a while. I’d recommend this as a good quick read!!
Donald Peschken
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the best legal thriller I've read. Very thought provoking about the issue of assisted suicide. Great story with a lot of suspects but was it murder or suicide? ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: john-lescroart
Interesting and satisfying read. Lescroart is a good writer. I would definitely recommend this book. It is based partly on assisted suicide and murder filled with courtroom drama.
Sridhar Babu
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it

CHARACTERS: Dismas Hardy, Graham Russo,Sal Russo,Abe Glitsky, David Freeman, Sarah Evans,Gil Soma, Art Drysdale, and Dean Powell



Graham Russo, a former baseball star, is charged with murder of his dying father Sal Russo. Was it a suicide, the last desperate act of a dying man? or just mercy killing...!!!The autopsy report confirms that the cause of death is due to morphine overdose ,injected by syringe
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2021
THE MERCY RULE [1998] By John Lescroart
My Review Four Stars****

Dismas Hardy returns as the featured protagonist in Book 5 of 19 at the time of this writing (Spring 2021). Frankly, I am surprised that I opted to read still another chapter of Diz Hardy’s life and times so doggone soon, having previously read THE VIG in February (which I did enjoy quite a bit), followed by HARD EVIDENCE, and then THE 13TH JUROR early last month. Nevertheless, I was ready to become immersed in the time and the stre
This older John Lescroart novel finds Dismas Hardy defending another lawyer who is accused of killing his dying father. When the district attorney fails to prosecute a politically ambitious State Attorney steps in sending an assistant with a grudge against the defendant to prosecute. As usually with Lescroart lots of twists and turns and good legal action leaving you up in the air on how the case will turn out and who is the killer.
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The story has many ideas: assisted suicide, right to life, care for the elderly, betrayal, and lust for power. Most of the characters react in some way to these concerns. Further, Dismas Hardy adjusts himself to married life with children and at the same time realizes he is a defense attorney rather than a prosecutor. I like the realistic way the recurring characters change a little to adapt to their circumstances.
Sep 15, 2009 rated it liked it
My mind wanders when I'm reading this book ... character development not what it should be. Perhaps that will change ... I'm 100 pages into the book -- and it's taken me over 2 weeks to get to that point ... not a good sign for me who can polish off a book in a couple of days. ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire
I think I'd better mark this one done as "abandoned", I just can't get into the story at all. I like the premise, I just don't find myself wanting to read this book. ...more
Mar 29, 2012 added it
I liked this book. It was well done and was thought provoking.
Asghar Abbas
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it

California Sunshine. Know it so well, only too well. But here it does ask a valid and interesting question.
Linda Munro
Mar 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Dismis Hardy does not want to handle murder cases, ever! Yet once again he finds himself defending a man charged with murder. Hw did he manage this time?

Now Dismis must determine for himself if Sal Russo's son Graham had a part in his father's death. If he had, which the man fervently denies was it murder or mercy?

Now that Dismis is fully involved he must accept the truth of the matter: he truly does not trust his client; and he truly does not believe his key witness. But as the case draws to a
Patty Jaacks
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
an engaging and thought-provoking tale about a current day issue that resonates with many people who are facing end-of-life decisions or are caring for someone who is. It has a whodunnit aspect that had me guessing until the perpetrator was revealed. Both sides of the issue of euthanasia are examined through various characters and their actions. Motivations of the characters are scrutinized as the plot unfolds. I bought this book at a used bookstore in Australia and though it was written quite a ...more
Love these San Francisco-based legal/police thrillers...The characters of both Abe Glitzky and Dismas Hardy are wonderfully drawn & followers of the series care for them and their circle of friends and acquaintances...I've read these all out of order with this one a prequel to "The Hearing," which I read last week...Even though older, there is a bit of currency in both...I don't think Lescroart thought much of the Kamala Harris-like character that he's drawn as Diz's legal foil...In this one, th ...more
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very good story with complexity, twists, the usual Dismas family issues and series characters. Dismas continues to struggle to find his niche in the law and each decision along the way seems to have both positive and negative consequences. The primary story this time has to do with a client who is in a possible assisted death/murder situation that Dismas finds himself representing.

The series seems to be getting better with more complex stories to go with strong characters with challenging sit
Dec 09, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After having read some lackluster books by this author - and having decided not to bother with any more - I'm pleased I did. This was an excellent legal process novel which kept me guessing right until the very end (and I guessed wrongly as to the ultimate identity of the murderer). SIGH Never mind. I'm pleased that the story had more substance to it than the previous novels I'd read. I will read more by Mr Lescroart. ...more
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: john-lescroart
A Dismas Hardy book about a son who is charged with murdering his father who had Alzheimers.
Many think it was a mercy killing. One of the investigating officers falls in love with the person charged. The son claims his innocence throughout.
So was it a mercy killing, was it a suicide or was it murder?????? And if it was murder, was it the son, or was it connected to his past, or was it connected to his Alzheimers????
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
The more one reads, a Dismas Hardy series, the better he becomes! The Mercy Rule is by far the best by John Lescroart. Not only an eye catching topic with many a who "dunnit" to keep a readers attention span to the hilt. Then the unexpected villain pops up and what a shocker! The only downside for this reader was the ending, however that's a very minor when compared to the whole action. ...more
Ann Dewar
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not a huge fan of legal thrillers, although I obviously make an exception for To Kill a Mockingbird. The legal process is inevitably slow and for me, this novel suffered in the same way. It isn’t that the writing is bad or the characters badly-drawn, I’m simply too impatient for due process.

The problem may well be mine and not the author’s so if legal stories are your thing, read on.
Tonya Peterson
Apr 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book started of confusing with all the different characters but about 1/4 into it everything started comming together. Dismiss helping a son accused of murdering his father. Everything may or may not have happened and the to beat dismass is high on the prosecution side. During this time dismas and abe go at it.
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John Lescroart (born January 14, 1948) is an American author best known for two series of legal and crime thriller novels featuring the characters Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky.

Lescroart was born in Houston, Texas, and graduated from Junípero Serra High School, San Mateo, California (Class of 1966). He then went on to earn a B.A. in English with Honors at UC Berkeley in 1970. In addition to his nov

Other books in the series

Dismas Hardy (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Dead Irish (Dismas Hardy, #1)
  • The Vig (Dismas Hardy, #2)
  • Hard Evidence (Dismas Hardy, #3)
  • The 13th Juror (Dismas Hardy, #4)
  • Nothing but the Truth (Dismas Hardy, #6)
  • The Hearing (Dismas Hardy #7)
  • The Oath (Dismas Hardy, #8)
  • The First Law (Dismas Hardy #9)
  • The Second Chair (Dismas Hardy #10)
  • The Motive (Dismas Hardy #11)

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