Review

Treasure Hunt

by John Lescroart

John Lescroart, long known for his Dismas Hardy novels, struck
gold a few years ago with THE HUNT CLUB, which introduced Wyatt
Hunt’s San Francisco-based private investigative service. The
book was so popular that Lescroart probably could have phoned in
TREASURE HUNT to similar acclaim. Instead, he has given us one of
his most complex, riveting and entertaining works to date.

TREASURE HUNT begins with Mickey Dade, one of the Hunt
Club’s associate investigators, discovering a body near San
Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. The victim is Dominic Como,
a high-profile social activist who sat on several non-profit,
big-budget boards in the city. It is quickly determined that Como
achieved room temperature as the result of a murder most foul, and
his killing sets off shock waves among the anointed elite. Dade
comes up with a not-entirely altruistic plan to help solve the
crime and at the same time revive the Hunt Club’s sagging
business prospects by signing off as a clearing house, if you will,
for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the
murderer from informants who ordinarily would not be interested in
talking with the police. A reward fund is raised, and the
separation of the wheat from the chaff begins.

As it develops, one name that comes up early is Alicia Thorne, a
beautiful young woman who had been employed by Como as his driver
and who also happens to be the sister of a friend of Dade’s.
It is rumored that she had been working under Como in more than one
sense and --- at the demand of Como’s wife --- had been fired
shortly before his murder. Dade is almost instantly smitten with
Alicia, who is a troubled person with an even more troubling
history.

Things become more complicated when a newspaper article reveals
that Como and others were involved in some highly suspect deals
that were the subject of a Federal investigation, the results of
which were scheduled to be published at the time Como died. When
another individual, who worked on a board with Como, is also found
murdered, Alicia is further caught up in the web of suspicion. And
when yet another incident occurs, even Dade suspects that Alicia
might not be what she appears to be. Meanwhile, Hunt attempts to
maintain an objective point of view during the investigation,
ultimately bringing all of the principals together near the end of
the book for a series of Hercules Poirot-style revelations that
surprise yet make perfect sense.

The main protagonist of the story, as with Lescroart’s
other novels, is the city of San Francisco, particularly its
streets and (most of all, in this case) restaurants. But what is
especially entertaining here is the manner in which he reveals the
inner workings of the perpetual motion machine known as the
non-profit organization and how such an animal becomes intertwined
with the political machine to create a maw into which great piles
of taxpayer money disappear. TREASURE HUNT should be required
reading for that reason alone. There is much more to love here, not
the least of which is the very end of the book, where Dade strikes
gold of a very personal nature. Don’t miss this one.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Treasure Hunt
by John Lescroart

  • Publication Date: December 28, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Signet
  • ISBN-10: 0451231457
  • ISBN-13: 9780451231451