Mark Darrow grew up in small-town Ohio with no real advantages. But thanks to Lionel Farr, a professor at a nearby college, Darrow became an excellent scholar/athlete and, later, a superb trial lawyer. Now Farr offers his protégé a job as his alma mater’s new president, which Darrow accepts. But being back on campus opens old wounds. Sixteen years ago, on the night of his greatest football triumph, Darrow found the body of a black female student at the base of the college bell tower, known as the Spire…
Darrow’s best friend was charged with the murder, and was sent to prison for life. But Darrow is about to discover that the case against his college friend left crucial questions unanswered. Despite his new obligations—and his deepening attachment to Farr’s beautiful though troubled daughter—Darrow begins an inquiry into the murder and is soon convinced that the real killer is still at large…and that his own life is surely at risk.
About the Author
RICHARD NORTH PATTERSON is the author of Degree of Guilt, Eclipse, The Race, Exile, and more than a dozen other bestselling and critically acclaimed novels. Formerly a trial lawyer, he was the SEC liaison to the Watergate special prosecutor and has served on the boards of several Washington advocacy groups. He lives on Martha’s Vineyard and in San Francisco and Cabo San Lucas with his wife, Dr. Nancy Clair.
This thoughtful if less than suspenseful thriller from bestseller Patterson (Eclipse) charts the impact of the brutal murder of black coed Angela Hall at Caldwell College in Wayne, Ohio, on gifted athlete Mark Darrow, who discovered the body and later became a nationally renowned lawyer. Mark's best friend was convicted of the crime, but many aspects of the trial troubled Mark. Lionel Farr, Caldwell's provost and Mark's former mentor, offers Mark the post of college president 16 years after Angela's murder. Mark agrees to return to Caldwell, now struggling with the suspected embezzlement of $900,000 from its endowment by its current president. With Lionel's support, Mark investigates both the embezzlement and the old murder. Patterson evokes the quiet schism between town and gown in Wayne as well as the fragile relationship between blacks and whites, while Mark's probing hits exposed nerves with fatal results. (Sept.)
Patterson turns from political hot potatoes like the Arab-Israeli conflict (Exile) and oil in Africa (Eclipse) to write this intriguing novel of psychological suspense. Character development is key here; we meet Mark Darrow, a young football player who receives a scholarship to Caldwell, a local private college; his best friend, Steve Tillman, who is in prison for a murder he may not have committed; and Lionel Farr, the professor who becomes Darrow's mentor and closest friend. Darrow leaves Caldwell for law school and fame as a defense attorney until Farr asks him to return as the college's president. The current president is under investigation for embezzlement, and someone popular enough and persuasive enough is needed to keep the alumni money flowing in. For Darrow, going home again means reexamining old friend Steve's conviction and investigating the embezzlement, making some people very uncomfortable. Then another murder occurs, and the suspense intensifies until the shocking conclusion of this tightly plotted story. VERDICT Sure to please fans of Raymond Chandler, Michael Connelly, and James Lee Burke. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/09.]—Stacy Alesi, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., Boca Raton, FL
The normally reliable Patterson (Eclipse, 2009, etc.) disappoints with this tale of a new college president who insists on putting an old murder at the top of his agenda. Sixteen years ago, black scholarship student Angela Hall was murdered and her body dumped at the base of the bell tower that serves as the focal point of Caldwell College's campus. Under pressure from college officials, the Wayne, Ohio, police promptly arrested football player Steve Tillman. The case was straightforward. Steve had gotten drunk after a Caldwell football victory; hooked up with Angela despite racist remarks he'd earlier made to her twin brother Carl; and passed out with scratch marks from her fingernails on his back and no memory of the rest of the night. Now Steve's best friend, football hero Mark Darrow, has returned to Caldwell from his successful Boston criminal-law practice at the behest of his old mentor, Prof. Lionel Farr. Mark is taking over the college presidency from Clark Durbin, forced to resign ostensibly for health problems but actually for embezzling nearly $1 million, though Durbin insists he didn't touch it. Accepting the job with due reticence, Mark soon finds himself confronted by exactly the sorts of problems you'd expect: a professor who needs an immediate leave to deal with her husband's suicide, another accused of sexual harassment, a host of alumni who want to know why they should empty their pockets for a school with such a checkered history. So naturally he decides to focus his energies on falling in love with Farr's daughter Taylor, ten years his junior, and on reopening the investigation of Angela's murder despite the universal sense that there's nothing to reopen. It's amazingthat a pro like Patterson could have miscalculated so badly everything from the cluttered prologue, with its flashbacks within flashbacks, to the screamingly obvious identity of the villain to Mark's dreamy-eyed behavior when he finally realizes who he's up against. Wait till next year.
"DEGREE OF GUILT"
"A page-turner."--"The New York Times Book Review"
"One intense courtroom clash after another...An intelligent and gripping thriller."--"The Washington Post"
"Flamboyant and entertaining."--"The Boston Globe"
"Electrifying."--"The Cleveland Plain Dealer"
"One of the year's best thrillers...Superb characterizations and intense dialogue make this utterly compelling reading."--"Library Journal"
"Passionate...exciting [and] eye-opening, page by page."--"Washington Post"
"Compelling and credible...guaranteed to rouse you to thought."--"Richmond Times-Dispatch"
"This stellar legal thriller both informs and entertains... Patterson has exerted all his considerable skill in creating a nightmare atmosphere that will cling to readers long after the last page is turned."--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review)
"A satisfying fable that pits a hero who deeply believes in the rule of law against a violent, lawless regime that holds all the cards."--"Kirkus Reviews"
"Nearly flawless--by the time you realize how well Patterson is writing, you are already caught up in this novel."--"San Francisco Chronicle"
"Suspenseful--pervasive danger as real as the actual reality."--"New York Daily News"
"A terrific legal thriller populated by rich, well drawn characters [Patterson] magnificently brings to life. Not to be missed."--"Providence Sunday Journal"
"[A] compelling legal thriller, reminiscent of "Exile." Patterson once again brings a timely, controversial subject--America's dependence on foreign oil--to the forefront in this...engrossing read." --"Library Journal"""
" THE RACE "
"An electrifying page-turner."--"Seattle Post-Intelligencer"
"Patterson has redefined himself as a writer willing to take risks."--"USA Today"
"Absorbing and suspenseful."--"Publishers Weekly"
"Required reading."--"New York Post"
"With verve, i
Number Of Pages: 485
Published: 27th April 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Dimensions (cm): 18.8 x 10.4 x 3.8
Weight (kg): 0.318