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Balance of Power Kindle Edition

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Length: 500 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Truth or Die by James Patterson
Truth or Die by James Patterson
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. 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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Newly elected Democratic president Kerry Kilcannon faced the abortion issue in Protect and Defend (2000), and now he has to tackle the Second Amendment. While preparing for his wedding to Lara Costello, a beautiful journalist, Kerry has been helping her sister, Joan, escape from her abusive husband, John. Just after Kerry and Lara's wedding, John shoots and kills Joan, her young daughter Marie, and Joan and Lara's mother, Inez. Kerry and Lara, along with the nation, are stunned by the tragedy, and Kerry decides that something must be done about the gun industry. His opponent is the Sons of the Second Amendment (SSA), a powerful gun lobby that wields an incredible amount of influence over the Republican Party. The war is waged on two fronts: Lara's sister, Mary, sues a gun company and the SSA, while Kerry must fight a bill the SSA is trying to push through the Senate and the House immunizing gun companies from lawsuits such as Mary's. This complex novel has a fascinating debate at its heart. To his credit, Patterson has done his research, and though it's clear which side he's on, he does a good job of presenting all the arguments. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 885 KB
  • Print Length: 500 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345450175
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (October 14, 2003)
  • Publication Date: October 14, 2003
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,734 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

RICHARD NORTH PATTERSON is the author of The Spire, Eclipse and fourteen 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 in San Francisco and on Martha's Vineyard with his wife, Dr. Nancy Clair.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on March 11, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In Balance of Power, Richard North Patterson follows up on his previous novel, Protect and Defend, by presenting another story about a political hot button issue. Instead of abortion, this time the topic is guns. Unfortunately, the politics wind up being more important than the plot and the result is a book that is merely above average, not really great.

The story focuses on recurring character Kerry Kilcannon, the charismatic President saddled with an opposition Congress. After members of Kilcannon's wife's family are killed in a mass murder with a high-powered gun, Kerry - already an advocate of gun control - steps up the pressure to restrict access to certain weapons. Opposing him are the Sons of the Second Amendment (SSA)- an obvious substitute for the NRA - who are extreme in their views and willing to resort to any level of dirty tricks to win.

There is a semblance of political balance here, but there are no doubts where Patterson's sympathies lie. And while these views often parallel my own, that doesn't make me enjoy this book any more. Instead, this book often seems to be little more than a slanted political debate. While not all the pro-gun people are villains, all the villains are pro-gun.

Anyone who is pro-gun is likely to hate this book and it's not good enough to win anyone over. Certainly, when compared to another recent political novel that I've read - Michael Crichton's State of Fear - Patterson's novel shines. Both emphasize politics over plot (although with distinctly different viewpoints), but at least Patterson's characters are more than talking heads. Indeed, Patterson is a good enough author to make this a high-three star effort, but it is nonetheless a weak book for him.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By 3rdeadly3rd on February 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Richard North Patterson's "Balance of Power" continues his series featuring the young Democratic President Kerry Kilcannon. As with the other entries in this series, it contains a plot almost guaranteed to fire political controversy.
Kilcannon, you see, is written as a man driven by principle. Earlier, it was this principle that made him force through the confirmation of Caroline Masters to the US Supreme Court even though she decided in favour of abortion in a landmark case. This time around, the issue is gun control.
As Patterson frequently reminds his readers, Kilcannon believes in this cause passionately - having lost his elder brother to gun violence and been wounded himself during his Presidential campaign (all similarities between Patterson's characters and real-life ones are of course wholly intentional). It is, however, the First Lady who gives impetus to the debate when her family is shot.
Most of the old characters from the Kilcannon series make repeat appearances here. Kerry and Lara (who marries him early in the book), Chad and Allie Palmer, even Macdonald Gage - the Republican Majority Leader who Kilcannon previously destroyed politically - appears as an "elder statesman" for the new Majority Leader, Frank Fasano. Another welcome returnee is Sarah Dash, the lawyer in the Tierney case which gave Justice Masters such headaches. Dash now, conveniently, works for the Kilcannon Center - an anti-gun violence group - and attempts to sue an arms manufacturer and the Sons of the Second Amendment (Patterson's thinly-disguised NRA) in a case which forms the backbone of the novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Pantologist on June 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
According to Patterson, 20% of US citizens like guns, 20% dislike guns, and 60% are somewhere in the middle, providing the "balance of power". The 20% that like guns will dislike this book, and the 20% that dislike guns will like this book. The other 60% are likely to move a bit closer to disliking guns by reading this book. But the reader should be mindful of the fact that Patterson is controlling both sides of the gun debate inside the covers of his book. Clearly, he is anti-gun and believes that the Second Second protects only the rights of state militias, not individuals. If you're looking for a well written, emotionally compelling, fictional story to buttress your belief that guns are bad, this book is for you. On the other hand, if you'd like to explore a balanced debate, check out "Opposing Viewpoints Series - Gun Control (Opposing Viewpoints Series)" by Helen Cothran (Editor).
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
While some may claim this is the excelent example of advocasy, I found it to more closely resemble propoganda. The heros of the book are full of sympathy and wisdom. The gun-toting conservatives are described with every stereotype imaginable. The First Lady sips tea with victims of gun violence. The cut-throat Republicans go to their "private clubs" to be served drinks by black waiters.
I have to say that I don't have a gun, have never had a hunting license, and don't belong to the NRA (thinly disguised in the book as a different organization). Yet I found the rhetoric so thick that it angered me.
If you think that Teddy Kennedy's politics are mainstream, this book is for you. If you think that every problem in Amerrica could be solved with a few less conservatives and that people that try to protect constitutionally given rights are on the fringe, you'll love it. If, on the other hand, you feel that a president that messes around on his wife, gets his lover pregnant, covers up the abortion, and uses the legal system to circumvent the legislative branch is not the role model that you want for your kids, I'd suggest something a little less biased. The "Comunist Manifesto" comes to mind.
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