The focus is on politics in the new thriller from bestselling author Richard North Patterson.
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 Policiere. He and his wife, Laurie, live with their family in San Francisco and on Martha's Vineyard.
In his new novel, Patterson (Degree of Guilt, Knop 1993) moves away from courtroom drama into the world of politics. As in his previous works, he maintains his emphasis on scandal, secrets, and controversial issues like abortion and the abuse of women and children. The main character, Kerry Kilcannon, is an Irish Catholic U.S. senator, reminiscent of the Kennedy brothers. Embroiled in a close campaign with the vice president for the Democratic presidential nomination, Kilcannon struggles to maintain his honesty and upright values in a sleazy world where everything depends on image and the proper spin. At the same time, a militant right-to-lifer vows to kill Kilcannon for his pro-choice stance on abortion. Throughout the constant twists and turns of the plot, Patterson builds realistic supporting characters and brings to life the surrealistic world of a presidential campaign. As in his other best sellers, Patterson excels in keeping the reader mesmerized until the final pages. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/98; Literary Guild main selection.]‘Katherine E. A. Sorci, IIT Research Inst., Annapolis, MD
Patterson (The Final Judgment; Silent Witness; etc.) is a skilled fabricator of courtroom dramas who here ventures well beyond his usual subject matter with mixed but still highly entertaining results. His protagonist, Kerry Kilcannon, is a young, somewhat Kennedy-esque senator whose older brother was assassinated during his campaign for the presidential nomination. Reluctantly stepping into his shoes, Kerry becomes fired by idealism and decides to seek the presidency himself. There is a dark secret in his past, however, involving an affair with Lara, a beautiful reporter for the New York Times (yes, she was named after the heroine in Dr. Zhivago). Its disclosure could sink his carefully weighed position on abortion, and his candidacy to boot. Also in his past was a boy whom Kerry, as a young lawyer, saved from a murderous father and who now, paradoxically, wants to kill candidate Kerry on behalf of the pro-lifers. These strands are all woven together in a series of flashbacks in the course of a few days during the vital California primary, and Patterson, old pro that he is, milks the tension for all it's worth. The political detail is authentic, although Kerry's positions are the kind you always hope in vain a politician will take while his smooth opponent, the vapid incumbent veep, is a thoroughly believable contemporary villain. But Patterson is really only playing with political ideas, though he does so intelligently enough. The clichéd romantic writing (lobster cooked on the beach on Martha's Vineyard, many sighs and silences) and the trite melodrama of the young assassin show where the heart of the narrative really lies‘not that the glossy approach will deter a large readership. 400,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection; Random House audio and large print editions. (Aug.)