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Richard North Patterson has written a number of novels including the international bestsellers, Degree of Guilt, Eyes of a Child, The Final Judgement, Silent Witness, No Safe Place, Dark Lady and Protect and Defend. His novels have won the Edgar Allan Poe Award and the Grand Prix de Litterature Polici re. He and his wife, Laurie, live with their family in San Francisco and on Martha's Vineyard.
Former Edgar-winner Patterson (for The Lasko Tangent , Norton, 1979) offers what will surely be one of the year's best thrillers. TV journalist Mary Carelli shoots and kills famous writer Mark Ransom in his hotel room, claiming that Ransom tried to rape her. The man she asks to defend her is Christopher Paget, with whom she has had a complicated relationship: Paget is the father of Mary's son, who lives with Paget and whom Mary has not seen for eight years. Paget agrees to defend Mary to protect his son. The puzzle that lies at the heart of this courtroom thriller is the character of Mary Carelli. Is she telling the truth about Mark Ransom? What is she hiding, and who will be hurt most? Superb characterizations and intense dialog make this utterly compelling reading. Patterson also manages to offer a stinging criticism of the way female rape victims are treated by the law and the legal system. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/92.-- Dean James, Houston Acad. of Medicine/Texas Medical Ctr. Lib.
This big courtroom thriller, which comes garlanded with hefty foreign sales and a huge first printing, is being touted as the best of its kind since Scott Turow's fiction debut. It does not survive such a comparison well, having none of the density, psychological acuity or sense of place and character of Turow's two bestsellers. It is an agreeable, overstuffed and creakily plotted but absorbing piece of work that passes the time well enough and leaves no aftertaste whatsoever. The hero is Christopher Paget, who had an affair with TV newswoman Mary Carelli many years ago when both were involved in a Washington scandal; he is now an ace defense attorney in San Francisco. Carelli has killed obnoxious, world-famous novelist Mark Ransom in a hotel room, claiming that he tried to rape her. Can Paget defend her, in view of their shared past, and the fact that she seems to be the mother of his only son? And why is so much of what she says about the would-be rape so plainly untrue? Patterson takes more than 500 pages--including often skillfully handled court scenes before a nicely characterized woman judge, and the discoveries of a lot of highly emotional old tapes, all involving the same Beverly Hills psychiatrist with several principal characters--before the issue is resolved. Along the way there are subplots galore, involving an evil Kennedy-type senator with a Monroe look-alike ; a tragic lesbian movie queen ; Paget's pretty assistant's unhappy home life ; a shamelessly hokey climactic basketball game ; and ultimate political skulduggery by the DA. Patterson does his best to keep it all moving, and some court scenes tingle. But the characters, and many situations, are pure California cardboard. 250,000 first printing; BOMC main selection. (Jan.)
"The pleasure of reading a book as mesmeric as this... defies the desire to pick a single hole" * Daily Telegraph * "Entirely absorbing... a brain-draining puzzle and great entertainment" * Cosmopolitan *