John Lescroart. The First Law (2003) 403 pp.
It is a little known fact that some selected areas of San Francisco are policed by Patrol Specials, licensed private security specialists accountable to the SFPD. Wade Panos has six areas that he and his team patrol, but they are also into payola, shakedowns, and, when somebody gets in their way, intimidation. Pawnshop dealer Sam Silverman couldnít afford their rates anymore and suddenly he is robbed and killed. The police led by the Patrol Specialís tips are convinced that bar owner John Holiday and two of his friends are the guilty parties because Wade wants his shop and this is a cheap way to get it. Johnís lawyer is Dismas Hardy, who is bringing a civil suit against Wade and his men for brutality and intimidation. Dismas is threatened twice and he thinks Wade is behind the threats to him and his family. To obtain justice, he, his brother-in-law, Lt. Abe Glitsky, and John might have to go outside the law to see justice done.