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on February 7, 2015
Although a slow start, Patterson wove an intricate tale of a family ruled by a ruthless, successful writer. His sudden death brings his estranged son, Adam back to Martha's Vinyard after a ten year absence. Adam had no love for his father, but came back for his mother, brother Teddy and beloved Uncle Jack. Shock envelopes the family when they learn that Ben Blaine made a new will shortly before his death, disintegrating his wife of forty years. Adam is bound to learn why. In his investigation he unearths family secrets long buried, yet propelling the events around Ben's death. Secrets and lies make this psychological thriller a good read. Kept me guessing until all was revealed by Adam.
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on March 17, 2015
Another RNP gem! On the first reading, I think most RNP fans will find this book not only unlike a typical RNP book, they also be turned off by the distinct differences. Most will find this book listed as "Martha's Vineyard #1." I would recommend reading "Loss of Innocence (Martha's Vineyard 0.5)" first even though it was written after Fall From Grace. It makes Fall From Grace a much DIFFERENT read and readers will appreciate what RNP is trying to do with this trilogy.
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on April 14, 2012
The book wasn't bad, it just wasn't very compelling. I never cared about any of the characters. There was nothing to draw me in. There were too many peripheral characters to keep track of, and I kept forgetting who they were. There just wasn't anything new here. It wasn't up to the level of his other books, which I really enjoyed.
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on March 30, 2012
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
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon February 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've read quite a few of Richard North Patterson's thrillers, and always found them smart, and engaging and fast-paced. It's probably been a decade since I sampled on and was pleasantly surprised to find that Patterson, unlike so many of his equally prolific and well-known peers, is still turning out fun, readable fiction.

One of the things I always really liked about North Patterson's novels is that though he definitely writes in a genre, thrillers with a legal angle, his books aren't formulaic. Or, with just a couple of exceptions, endless sequels, exploiting the same main character. In fact, one of North Patterson's quirks is that he frequently takes a minor character from a former book, one that may have been barely mentioned in a previous story, and makes them the center of a future story. Because I haven't read his work in so long, I can't say if he did this in FALL FROM GRACE, but I did think it was a neat insider Easter egg for loyal readers, while not off-putting to newcomers to his work who needn't know the character's already presented (often slight) backstory to get into the current book.

Like many of North Patterson's works, FALL FROM GRACE is set in New England, specifically Martha's Vineyard, and delves into class conflict. Unlike many, the legal system is not precisely at its center, though there are definite explorations of legal issues. The main character is a law school dropout but this isn't a courtroom drama. The story of a family whose author patriarch has pretty much alienated his entire clan, gives them one final burn from beyond with a will that disinherits the bulk of his "loved" ones, including the always loyal wife and shunned son and older brother. When it comes to light the father's literal fall from a cliff on the family land was no accident, just about every one except totally estranged, and absent, son Adam, is a suspect. As Adam attempts to protect his mother and brother, family secrets are revealed, and Adam's own demons are explored.

It's a compelling, riveting popcorn-movie sort of story that I found a very quick and enjoyable read. I was interested in the well-fleshed out characters and wanted to keep reading to find out the various mysteries, both large and small, North Patterson sets up for them. It's a classic, fun whodunit, with plenty of twists and other elements to hold your interest.

This isn't deep or mind-bending and it doesn't even come close to being a genre-defining effort, but it is a fun, enjoyable read.
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on June 19, 2012
Richard North Patterson knows how to craft a novel and this is no exception. Although not in his usual vein of US Political novels, it is written in such a way that you just want to keep turning the pages to find out what comes next. Excellent reading from an excellent novelist, at a much more reasonable price than the same book in conventional bookstores.
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VINE VOICEon February 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Adam, an "agricultural consultant" who is working in Afghanistan, flies home to attend his father's funeral. They've been estranged for 10 years, and Adam finds it's easier to bury his father's body than the problems he's left behind. Faced with a disinherited mother, a brother who could be facing a murder charge, and his father's latest girlfriend, who stands to get most of the estate, Adam is more concerned with protecting his family than seeking justice.

This interesting psychological thriller borders on noir without quite making the leap. It features a large cast of characters, all of whom are intriguingly flawed, and none of whom is particularly likeable. I think Adam is the weak point of the story, because while he's entitled to be wounded and edgy given the circumstances, he comes across as smug, snide, and rather obnoxious.

Although told in third-person, the whole story is seen from Adam's eyes. Consequently, we get a lot of exposure to his feelings and emotions as he uncovers more and more family secrets. But the sentiments get very repetitive, and we hear over and over how he hates his father, and hates his father, and hates his father. We learn just how similar the two are, which builds into a gripping story. But it also makes it more difficult to journey along with Adam, with nothing to counterbalance his unrelenting cynicism.

Patterson masterfully uses flashbacks to slowly reveal festering truths, destroy delicate facades, and built tension. There are plenty of jolting surprises without overusing red herrings. It's very well written, just not very comfortable to read.
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on August 9, 2014
It was OK, but not a book I would recommend whole-heartely. I did not like the way the author jumped forward and backward in time with no warning, so that the reader had to re-think the 'time' for a moment. A lot of the 'surprises' were not surprises at all and were pretty easy to guess in advance. It was the sort of book I read when there is nothing else available.
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on May 4, 2012
The story takes place in an area of the country that I was familiar with and hold dear to my heart. The return of a 'strong' opinioned son, after ten years, brings 'order' and 'justice' to a situation created by his, so called, father. The 'son' with his insite, savy and his love for his family brings a 'good' end to a difficult situation. A wonderful read!
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on May 28, 2015
Richard North Patterson has always been one of my favorite authors. I thought I had read all of his books, but missed this one. A very interesting take of the most disfunctional family one could imagine. Excellent read.
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