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Degree of Guilt Mass Market Paperback – February 2, 2010
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The novel begins in a San Francisco hotel room as Mary, now an NBC journalist, surveys the torn landscape of author Mark Ransom's apartment. Ransom is, or was, America's most eminent writer. As she tells the police, Ransom had uncovered new recorded evidence of an affair between a long-dead starlet and a now-sainted senator (shades of Marilyn Monroe and JFK). While Ransom and Mary were listening to the tapes, she claims, he tried to rape her and she killed him in self-defense. Mary turns to Paget to defend her in what becomes a complex case of missing and conflicting evidence. Old emotions are stirred between the two just as Paget begins to doubt Mary's innocence.
The suspense of Degree of Guilt is grounded in the twists and turns of the trial at the novel's center, but just as compelling is the emerging history of Mary and Paget, and Paget's struggles to keep his son out of the media frenzy surrounding his mother's case. As well, Patterson addresses the deeper ethical questions that face many lawyers as they decide which cases to take and which evidence to use. Capturing archetypal characters and situations, Degree of Guilt becomes a parable of American law. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
A writer with the mind of an attorney, Richard North Patterson conveys the courtroom environment very well, from the witness chair to the opposing side's tables and everyone seated in and at them. This novel, "Degree of Guilt" brings a female character, Mary Carelli, to the forefront who is very hard to like. She does indeed kill a man, and the degree of guilt is exactly what the book is about. Great title choice! The male characters are much more interesting and very, very easy to like.
From the beginning to the end, the relationship between the male protagonist, Chris Paget (an attorney for the defendant) and his son, Carlo, is evidenced by humor and love and a certain care placed around both elements. A pleasure to read, and to get to know them both.
Several topics are covered in this novel -- rape, murder, and self defense are the primary ones that move the plot smoothly along the pages. A determined prosecutor and interesting judge also add to the strength of the novel.
Overall, I'm not sure I'll read this one again, but for some escapism into the world of a one parent family and the legal system, it's just fine.
I'm not a huge fan of Patterson's more recent novels, which seem more interested in politics than good characterization. However, in DEGREE OF GUILT, Patterson does an excellent job fleshing out his characters, and also crafts a highly entertaining, suspenseful plot. While the storyline is rather lurid, somewhat convoluted, and highly unrealistic in spots, it is always riveting to read.
DEGREE OF GUILT centers around the crimes of rape and sexual assault, and it can be a difficult read for those who are uncomfortable with such subjects. A lot of this book deals with sexual politics, but Patterson treats the subject in a largely tasteful manner. Still, be aware that this novel is highly graphic in its descriptions, and is therefore not for everyone.
Overall, DEGREE OF GUILT is a fine effort by Patterson, and is much better than your typical John Grisham or Steve Martini legal thriller. Of the four Patterson novels I have read, this is easily the best one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really like the character development they are flawed, conflicted and human. The plot twist was pickable but the writing was good. An excellent enjoyable read.Published 2 months ago by Jim Mcleod
A wonderful story about a very sensitive subject, and how it plays into the murder of a prominent author , Patterson writes a complicated story with a humanist viewpoint, worth... Read morePublished 2 months ago by arthur d monty
As always and as expected, very good well written story by an excellent writer. Gripping to the very last pagePublished 3 months ago by Harry McKnight
My wife read it on my Kindle, first time she read an electronic book. Come to find out it was the second time she read the book, and she liked it the second time a LOT.Published 3 months ago by John Hubert
I HAD READ THIS BOOK BEFORE AND GOT IT FOR A FRIEND. I REALLY ENJOY RICHARD NORTH PATTERSON'S WRITING.Published 5 months ago by tapestry
Once again I was kept engrossed in this story. Most of the time I felt like I was there. Stayed up much of the night reading because I could not put it down
Some parts... Read more