Customer Reviews


209 Reviews
5 star:
 (83)
4 star:
 (67)
3 star:
 (38)
2 star:
 (13)
1 star:
 (8)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!
Richard North Patterson, in my humble opinion, wrote the two best courtroom novels ever written "Degree of Guilt" and "Eyes of a Child" . Then something disappointing happened, his latter books became unreadable. I was pleased to read the reviews of "In the Name of Honor" and gave it a try two years ago. While not quite up to the old standards, still a very well written...
Published on February 11, 2012 by Nitty's Mom

versus
47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A BAD novel only made tolerable by the talent of author
Over ten years ago, I wrote my first novel. It was a rambling epic filled with long passages of flashbacks that tied intimately into the present day. The inspiration for my writing style at the time was Richard North Patterson. He's always been one of my favorites, and I even enjoyed his political novels even when I didn't agree with the politics. FALL FROM GRACE...
Published on February 15, 2012 by Bill Garrison


‹ Previous | 1 221 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!, February 11, 2012
This review is from: Fall from Grace: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Richard North Patterson, in my humble opinion, wrote the two best courtroom novels ever written "Degree of Guilt" and "Eyes of a Child" . Then something disappointing happened, his latter books became unreadable. I was pleased to read the reviews of "In the Name of Honor" and gave it a try two years ago. While not quite up to the old standards, still a very well written courtroom drama.

His latest entry "Fall From Grace" is an interesting psychological drama, however, it does not have any courtroom scenes, which is where Patterson as a writer is unsurpassed. "Fall From Grace" is basically a two man story between Adam Blaine and his recently deceased father. Adam is a CIA operative, who comes back home to Maratha's Vineyard, to attend the funeral for his estranged father Ben. Ben was a world renowned writer with a ruthless desire to be the best at at everything no matter the damage to others. Ben had many mistresses during his 40 year marriage, however, at the time of his death, has left his 12 million dollar estate/home to his actress girlfriend. A one million dollar bequest was also given to Adam's old girlfriend, Jenny, an aspiring writer who lives on the Island. Adam must sift through the evidence and determine whether Ben Blaine's death, a fall from a cliff, was an accident, suicide or murder. He must also find a way to help his disinherited mother and brother, while keeping one step ahead of the police, who are attempting to build a case against a family member. This is a daunting task especially since Adam hated his father.

"Fall from Grace" is told through many flashbacks and interviews. Adam and Ben are well defined characters. Their manipulative tug-a-war over the years and the damage it ensues to everybody in their path, moves the book along to its predicable resolution. Unfortunately, the secondary characters are lackluster when they need to be gripping. Clarice, Adam's long suffering mother, his uncle Jack, and Teddy, his gay older brother have little definition and opportunity for the readers to get to know them. Carla Pacelli, his father's mistress and beneficiary has passion, and her exchanges with Adam are the strongest in the novel. The descriptions of Maratha's Vineyard are vivid and make you long for summer. At only 276 pages, this is a quick, however very predictable read. Recommended at 3 ˝ star, but wouldn't run out to buy it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A BAD novel only made tolerable by the talent of author, February 15, 2012
By 
Bill Garrison (Oklahoma City, OK USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Fall from Grace: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Over ten years ago, I wrote my first novel. It was a rambling epic filled with long passages of flashbacks that tied intimately into the present day. The inspiration for my writing style at the time was Richard North Patterson. He's always been one of my favorites, and I even enjoyed his political novels even when I didn't agree with the politics. FALL FROM GRACE unfortunately fails on so many levels. But, since Patterson is such a talented author, the book ends up being interesting.

The plot is typical of his earlier novels. Take a bunch of people who are messed up. Create a current crises, and have the answer to that crisis be a tragic event in the past. In this novel, Ben Blaine has died. The rich best-selling author fell from a cliff at Martha's Vineyard, and son Adam Blaine has returned home for the funeral.

Adam hated his father, and soon discovers the conflict will continue after his father's death. His father's will has left out his mom and his brother, and given everything to an actress he was dating and Jenny Leigh, Adam's ex-girlfriend.

Why this novel is HORRIBLE: Two reasons. First, for the vast majority of the novel, nothing happens. Second, the flashbacks are handled incredibly poorly. Here's what happens for most of the novel. Adam Blaine decides to investigate what happened to his dad, and to try and have the will changed. He begins by talking to people. He talks to his mom, his brother, and then a doctor. Then a psychiatrist. Then the actress, then Jenny, then a cop, then a DA. That's it. Chapter to chapter is Adam going down a list talking to different characters. Patterson never shows us anything. Everything is told, all the events of the novel are recounted. Everything is too contrived. Characters are talked to in an order that will slowly reveal the plot, not in and order that would make sense. For instance, I would have thought Adam would have talked to Jenny first, not days later.

Something obviously happened between Adam and his dad ten years ago. But, something obviously happened with Jenny too. Yet Adam doesn't talk to her. Somehow she doesn't make it on the list of people to talk to until it is convenient for the story. Adam just didn't behave as rational, normal character would.

Second problem is the flashbacks. Patterson used to devote entire sections of novels the flashbacks. The flashbacks would reveal truths about characters and cover events that shape the major conflicts of the novel. In this book, flashbacks are a sentence long, a paragraph long, a page long. Too short to be meaningful, and too numerous to have an impact.

Why this novel is GOOD: In the end, I found myself enjoying the fast and furious pace of the twists as Patterson revealed one demented twist after another. These characters are sick and damaged, and no one beats Patterson in the art of the revelation. I love how he includes parts from earlier in the novel in italics as memories as the story unfolds.

Patterson is a great author, so in his greatness he made a poor novel entertaining. But, regardless of how good the novel was at the end, it doesn't overcome the poorly structured beginning and middle in which Adam does nothing more than listen to people tell stories about the past. In a Patterson novel a decade ago, we would have lived the past. Instead, we were just told about it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 2 1/2 Stars -- A So-So Story In Which Too Little Happens Too Late!, February 20, 2012
By 
This review is from: Fall from Grace: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Once upon a time, Richard North Patterson was one of my favorite authors. Early books such as Degree Of Guilt, Eyes Of A Child, The Final Witness and Silent Witness are top notch. Then, he went on a long downward spiral which, for me, only started to reverse itself somewhat with a few of his more recent books. However, Patterson has fallen again with his newest book, Fall From Grace.

I won't take your time by providing a summary of the book, which can be obtained in the Amazon Book Description above, as well as in many of the reader reviews. What I think might be of more value in helping to decide if this is a book you want to read is to provide my opinion of Fall From Grace.

Overall, while the plot concept has some merit (albeit one that is not very different from lots of other books), it's executed in such a way in that the investigation by the main character, Adam Blaine, into the death of his father takes wwwaaayyy too long before anything of real interest or excitement occurs. And, while Patterson provides some interesting twists towards the end of the book, they come about wwwaaayyy too late to make this a book I would recommend highly to you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, but plodding and a little cold, February 8, 2012
This review is from: Fall from Grace: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I went into this book expecting one of the best contemporary fiction authors to provide me with a fast-moving page turner. Unfortunately, those pages turned very slowly for almost two-thirds of the book when Patterson seemed to finally decide to add excitement to the story.

The tale is not a new one, that of an exiled son returning home after the death of a parent. In this case, the lead character is a CIA operative who upon arriving home is drawn into the mystery surrounding his father's death. We follow him in his efforts to solve the mystery, while also piecing together events from his own past and how they relate to who he has become.

While the resolution is satisfying and not completely predictable, I found that the first half moved slowly without reason. We don't really see a lot of character development (very little about our hero's "work" role, for example), and I felt the flow of the book just wasn't what I expect. Perhaps I have my expectations too high based on some of the excellent works he's written in the past, but this was overall a bit of a disappointment. There are certainly far worse efforts out there, but this won't rank with Patterson's best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious family mystery story, January 31, 2012
By 
rgregg (Marina Del Rey, CA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Fall from Grace: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Stop me if you've heard this plot before. Estranged son (Adam Blaine) returns after 10 years away from family to attend the funeral of his father (Benjamin Blaine) who has mysteriously died. Accident, murder or suicide? Father turns out to be a philanderer, selfish and mean to his family including his gay son (Teddy), his long suffering wife (Clarice) and his brother (Jack). He has also changed his will leaving nearly all of it to his new love, a much younger actress and a large sum to a young long time female family friend.
Adam tries to uncover what happened to his father as the police are investigating the case. One of the policemen just happens to be Adam's buddy who together with him scored the winning touchdown in the big game many years ago (How original!).
Adam begins to investigate the crime by talking (endlessly) to police, lawyers and others. The father was found dead after falling (or being pushed?) off a cliff near the family home. The police have been searching for a missing button off the victim's shirt without luck but in Adam's first visit to the area, guess what he finds? You got it, the button!
Though this plot is fairly generic, it could have been an interesting story if Mr. Patterson had not been so self absorbed to have each of the characters talk like they were college English professors. The dialog is so stilted and unrealistic. Patterson uses numerous flashbacks many of which involve sailing races which add nothing to the plot but seem to be placed to highlight the author's love for the sport and for Marthas Vineyard where the story takes place.
Adam Blaine has a mysterious background as a CIA operative which again is unimportant to the plot. His suspicions jump from one person to the other and when the story finally unfolds to reveal family secrets and lies, the reader is long past caring. And there are plenty of secrets and lies to sort out in this tedious tale. One of them is why Adam has not seen his family in 10 years and by the time that part of the plot is exposed, it simply comes across as ludicrous.
I've read every Richard North Patterson novel and this is another disappointing effort by a once great writer. I got this book through the Vine program and that was the only reason I finished it so I could honestly review the entire novel. Otherwise, I would have put it down about halfway through it. Some of his recent books (The Devil's Light for example) have started out great and fallen apart. "Fall From Grace" is like a car stuck in the parking garage and you can't find the garage door opener. Skip it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars characters are fairly wooden, the plot is very contrived and the action far from riveting., February 19, 2012
This review is from: Fall from Grace: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This novel is set on Martha's Vineyard and depicts the return of an estranged son, Adam Blaine, for his father's funeral. His father has died under mysterious circumstances. Did he fall or was he pushed from a cliff? His father Ben Blaine is a nationally known writer but a first class jerk. Ben's will reveals that he has disinherited his wife and other son and left the majority of his fortune to an actress living on the Vineyard. Much of the story is told in a series of flashbacks as we learn more about the circumstances of Adam's estrangement from his father. In the present day Adam using skills from his career as a CIA operative (sound like a soap yet) investigates his father's death and finds much evidence pointing toward his brother as the killer. Not too much action occurs until the final chapters of the novel when things pick up and many mysterious relationships are revealed.
This is a psychological drama and not a very good one. The characters are fairly wooden and the plot is very contrived and the action far from riveting. The setting on The Vineyard is well described.
Richard North Patterson, in his early writing career penned some excellent court room dramas (Eyes of The Child among the best) and then left the legal genre for political thrillers that were mediocre at best. In his last novel, In The Name of Honor, he returned to the courtroom with modest success. He should stay there.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Falling From Boredom, February 20, 2012
This review is from: Fall from Grace: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have read some of Richard North Patterson's prior books and concluded that he is a solid author who can handle a complex plot and bring his readers along with some spontaneity and action.

Well, not in this book. FALL FROM GRACE is an old plot and nothing happens - almost -until the last chapters. Adam Blaine, is the handsome son of a wealthy New England family, comprised of his society-type mother, Clarice, and Benjamin Blaine, his father, the author of brilliant and introspective books and his brother, Edward (Teddy), the son Ben despises. Adam, who is in Afghanistan, is called home because his father has died from a fall off of a precarious cliff. Was it murder, suicide or an accident? Adam has not been home in ten years estranged from Ben because of well-kept horrific incident that only Adam, Ben and his former girl friend, Jennifer Leigh, are aware.

With this mundane set-up, North pushes the banality of the plot further with Ben's will, which leaves $10 million to his girlfriend Carla, an actress, whose past is troublesome but has found true love and devotion with Ben. Ben, dying from brain cancer, has left zero to his long-suffering wife Clarice, including her home, which was originally owned by her family. Jennifer gets $1M, his son, Teddy (with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) gets another zero and Adam inherits $100,000 and is the executor. Adam's job is to carry out his father's dastardly wishes.

For the next two hundred pages, Adam meets with a large cast of characters: lawyers, the D.A., the police, a psychiatrist, old friends of his father's, Ben's brother, Jack, Avram Gold, a professor, a reporter from the Enquirer and on and on. Nothing happens except analytic conversations about resolving the shocking will and Adam's efforts to help his mother, Clarice, regain her homestead and money.

After finally reaching the conclusion, which was of no surprise to me, Adam can go back to Afghanistan and think about his lineage and killing our enemies. The characters in this novel were not complex; most readers have met these stereotypes in other novels and in gossip columns. Patterson has a great aptitude for writing lucid sentences. It's too bad his talent was wasted on this plot.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard North Patterson fans will be mesmerized, March 30, 2012
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
Was it an accident? Was it suicide? Was it murder? These are the questions at the center of FALL FROM GRACE by Richard North Patterson. Ben Blaine is found dead at the bottom of a local Martha's Vineyard promontory, but no sign of how he got there is to be found at the site. Ben was a world-famous journalist and author whose reputation for his fierce bravado followed him everywhere he went. He was one of those men who was bigger than life and treated the world as his own fiefdom. He took what he wanted and threw it away when he was no longer entertained by it. This included the many women he chose to bed despite his 40-year marriage to Clarice.

The family further consisted of the Blaine sons, Adam and Terry, and Uncle Jack. Ben had bought Clarice's father's family manse when he went bankrupt, and she lived with him quietly in the shadows. Ben also made Clarice sign a postnup that essentially would leave her penniless if her husband so chose. And it turned out he did. Ben hated Uncle Jack because he saw him as a loser; he hated Terry, who was gay, a painter, and lived on the property; and Ben was always trying to outdo Adam, the only one in the family line with the same fighting spirit as his father.

As the saga begins, Adam returns to the Vineyard for his estranged father's funeral. He had not had any contact with the man for 10 years. When he left, he ended up in Afghanistan working as a consultant to the people who wanted to grow crops other than poppies. At least this is the story he told his family and others. Readers immediately get a sense that Adam is doing something very different in that war-torn country, but have to traverse twists in the plot to find out the truth.

Two other women are central to the narrative. Jenny Leigh, Adam's old girlfriend and lover, is an aspiring writer who tried to commit suicide when Adam left the island. She was saved, nursed and nurtured by Adam's mother, Clarice. The two became like mother and daughter. The other woman is gorgeous former model Carla, Ben's latest paramour. As it happens, just before his sudden death, Ben found out that he had a malignant brain tumor and decided that he wanted to spend his last days with this young woman. With this in mind, the police wonder if he would have committed suicide or had been so careless as to have been so close to the precipice as to somehow tumble over. If neither of these events took place, only one reason for his death remained: murder! But who did it? And why?

As the plot moves apace, readers learn more and more about these people, their strange rituals and relationships. Adam takes on the role of detective and uses all of the clandestine moves he has learned working for the government. He manages to get his hands on the police reports, the coroner's report, and all other information he wants. He haunts the island and leaves no stone unturned in trying to clear his family of any responsibility in Ben's death.

When Ben wrote Clarice and Teddy out of his will, he left the largesse to Clara and one million dollars to Jenny. To Adam he left $100,000, the role of his executor and a photo album. For the life of him, Adam can't understand what this album is supposed to mean to him. It consists of old pictures of his derring-do father in Vietnam. Some of them are dated, others are not. Adam doesn't recognize any of the men posing with his father and is just stymied --- until he takes one more look and notices something on the page. There it is: the dark and ugly secret that corroded the relationships that comprised the Blaine family.

The pain of enlightenment sears Adam to the bone. But although he is almost ready to leave all of this behind, he must be sure that his family is taken care of both financially and with the law. With help from two old family friends --- a lawyer and a psychiatrist --- Adam finds a way through the fragile information he now has.

Richard North Patterson fans will be mesmerized by FALL FROM GRACE and all of its tricky intricacies. Newcomers will be thrilled that they have been introduced to a writer who has a whole host of books for them to read.

Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound." song lyrics, February 11, 2012
This review is from: Fall from Grace: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When a famous novelist in New England dies violently, family secrets begin to unravel.

Adam Blaine, had been estranged from his father, Benjamin. Now, after years apart, he returns for his father's funeral. Adam had been in Afghanistan working under cover. Police want his help but Adam feels his first loyalty is to his mother and brother.

Soon after, Adam is shocked to learn that his father had recently changed his will so that his home and most of his estate went to a young actress, Carla Pacelli. Jenny Leigh, a former girlfriend of Adam, and a struggling writer, also receives a large sum of money. However, Benjamin's wife - who is Adam's mother, Clarice, and Adam's brother, Teddy, who is gay, are left out of the will.

Adam is in a difficult position in that he is the executor of his father's will and to do justice to the estate, would do unjustice to his mother and brother.

The action drags in the story. There were times when I felt like shouting to get on with finding a solution to the mystery - did Benjamin fall from a cliff, or was he pushed, or could it have been suicide.

I also found that the dialogue didn't match the characters as even the uneducated people in the story such as a fisherman, spoke with a literary sophistication of college graduates.

I wanted to enjoy the story more but felt the lack of character development and slow pace was inadequate to sustain much interest or suspense.

The author did have me curious to know what happened at the end of the story so to that end, I would give this a 2 1/2 star rating moving up to 3 for keeping my interest.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring - Got good in the last 20 pages, May 6, 2012
This review is from: Fall from Grace: A Novel (Hardcover)
I loved some of RNP's earlier novels, like Degree of Guilt, Eyes of A Child, and Final Judgement. I went away from him when he got into the war related subject matter. This plot sounded closer to the books I had enjoyed so much, so I picked it up at the library. I think this book could have been good if there had been anything going on in the first 250 pages, since I really like books where everyone is living a lie and all of the secrets they have been keeping finally come out. It was just so boring. I felt like nothing happened in the first 250 pages and then in the last 25 pages, all of the secrets of the past came out. By then, I was so worn out that I just didn't care what happened.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 221 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Fall from Grace: A Novel
Fall from Grace: A Novel by Richard North Patterson (Hardcover - March 20, 2012)
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.