Richard North Patterson's eleven previous novels include seven consecutive international bestsellers (among them NO SAFE PLACE, DEGREE OF GUILT and DARK LADY- Random House). Formerly a trial lawyer in Washington and San Francisco, he now lives with his wife and their family in San Francisco and on Martha's Vineyard.
Gun control and tort reform are the thorny issues tackled in this political drama, with Patterson hero Kerry Kilcannon ensconced in the White House and planning his marriage to former television journalist Lara Costello. Kilcannon (last glimpsed in Protect and Defend) has been president for less than a year when he is caught up in a potentially disastrous domestic crisis. Lara's sister, Joan, is brutally beaten by her husband, John Bowden, and Kerry, who rescued his own mother from his violent father, lets emotion get the better of him, asking the California DA to intervene. Meanwhile, in the political arena, Kerry is battling an NRA-type group called Sons of the Second Amendment (SSA). When the fuse Kerry lit under John Bowden explodes predictably (Bowden goes on a killing spree in an airport while the Kilcannons are away on their honeymoon), Kerry sees red and goes after the manufacturer of the gun Bowden used. The gun lobby circles wagons around the SSA and pushes a tort-reform bill called the Civil Justice Reform Act, which protects the manufacturers of any "products" from litigation by victims of criminals. Congress kowtows to America's captains of industry, with guns as the focal point: "gun immunity hung in the balance of power between the President and the senator who intended to displace him." This is a Democratic nightmare scenario, and the novel paints a grim picture of the challenges facing gun-control advocates. Patterson is known for his intricate law-and-politics-laced crime fiction, but lawmaking trumps suspense in this novel and may leave his fans wanting for more. Agent, Fred Hill. (Oct.) Forecast: Patterson is a strong supporter of gun control-as he notes in an afterword-and his passion is evident here. Readers seeking pure entertainment may be disappointed, but those with the patience to follow the involved plot will learn much about gun policy debate. Major ad/promo; author tour. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"A rip-roaring novel about guns, lawyers, and politics . . . This is a great read by a masterful writer."--SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY "ALWAYS KEEPS YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT. Patterson has the rare gift of enthralling as he informs."--"The Guardian" (London) "REVEALING . . . WILL LEAVE YOU LOBBYING FOR MORE."--"Entertainment Weekly ""PATTERSON TURNS UP THE HEAT."--"The Dallas Morning News ""A MUST READ."--FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON "THOUGHT-PROVOKING . . . [Patterson's] passion for politics, public discussion, and gun control are infectious and admirable."--"USA Today" "[A] SPELLBINDING NOVEL . . . Patterson's extensive research, plot skills, and ability to create engaging, authentic dialogue set his writing apart. . . . believable and eloquent."--Associated Press ""Balance of Power" is a compelling story, fully worthy of Richard North Patterson, which is made even more intriguing by its detailed insight into the world of special-interests politics in Washington, D.C."--SCOTT TUROW "A masterpiece . . . From the first page, President Kilcannon faces plot twists that challenge his resourcefulness and moral character."--"The Tulsa World ""Compulsive reading . . . An engrossing blend of courtroom and political drama."--"The London Times""IMPORTANT READING, EVEN ESSENTIAL . . . Patterson masterfully touches all the right historical reference points to lure us into his story. . . . The image of the gun--and what to do about it as a society--linger long after the covers close."--"Ft. Myers News Press ""Patterson has done his homework, and "Balance of Power" presents a clear picture of the argumentsand political realities on both sides of the debate."--"The Denver Post ""A powerful, in your face, condemnation of the American political system that abets gun violence . . . Patterson makes no apologies as he denounces a system in which money buys Congressional votes [and] ethics mean nothing."--"The Midwest Book Review ""A harsh, persuasive indictment of the politics that breeds gun violence in America . . . bare-knuckle, page-turning, political infighting. For ordinary folk, it's good stuff. For political junkies, think Harry Potter."--"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review) "One of [Patterson's] best . . . Fascinating . . . A thoughtful exposition of an important issue . . . ["Balance of Power"] will entertain, challenge, inform--and, just maybe, open a few minds."--"Times Dispatch" (Richmond, VA) ""Balance of Power" and "Protect and Defend "stand as a remarkable project in popular fiction: an extension of the genre of the legal thriller to explore the morality and strategies of U.S.'s greatest civic controversies."--"The" "Guardian" (London)