Customer Reviews: Fall from Grace: A Novel
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on August 13, 2012
Interesting story that kept our attention on a cross country road trip...The story was a bit slow in the beginning like many are but the writer made it interesting enough to continue listening and it got better...A little bit of a soap opera but with a big twist at the end.
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on August 3, 2012
Gripping thriller of a family in turmoil following the death of thier matriarch. The cause of his death is a puzzle leaving the reader anxious to discover the true reason when three possibilities exist. The changing of his last will is also a mystery which keeps the pages turning to enjoy his son's endeavours to solve the puzzle.
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on January 6, 2014
I've never read anything by this author so perhaps this is not representative of his whole body of work, but for me this was like the first sketch a writer puts down trying to work out the plot and the characters are, but the rewrite never came. All of the emphasis was placed on some twisty plot which frankly never mattered to me since none of these people mattered. None of these people were made real. Read some of this dialogue aloud and it's laughable. No grit. No authenticity. The advice Ben Blaine gave to Jenny Leigh about writing clear, concise sentences was priceless. Now I like a concise sentence as much as anyone, but if you don't have some of gorgeous prose to make the heart throb a bit, what is there to compel you on? Clearly, this doesn't do it for me.
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on June 22, 2012
This book is a great read; I couldn't put it down. And very refreshing, too -- no demented serial killers, gore, violence, police procedurals, etc., just good storytelling within the context of a community and family relationships. I'm very glad I found this author, and will be reading through his other books in the coming months.
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on October 18, 2013
I historically have enjoyed this author but this novel was difficult to get through. I thought the ending would be more unpredictable than it was...was left unsatisfied...and I am afraid that I have already purchased the sequel...ugh.
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VINE VOICEon February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A murder mystery, "Fall from Grace" by Richard North Patterson has the premise and plot to be an exciting story. The novel opens with the Adam Blaine returning home to Martha's Vineyard after ten years absence to attend his father's funeral. Adam, estranged from his Father Benjamin Blaine a famous author, had been in Afghanistan working as an undercover CIA operative. The police believe Adam's father may have been murdered, did he jump or fall off a cliff or was he pushed, and at the top of their suspect list are members of Adam's family, namely his mother, brother, and uncle.

The plot is well conceived, interwoven with the murder mystery, and perhaps connected, is the mystery of why Adam had a falling out with his father ten years previous. The complications that add to the plot is that the mother and brother had been written out of Ben's last Will and Adam is the executor and must distribute the inheritance to his father's mistress and Adam's old girlfriend. As Adam seeks to find out how his father died and why his mother and brother were disinherited we discover that Adam's family is highly dysfunctional and harbors many dark secrets.

The plot is not predicable and I found myself wanting to learn if Ben was murdered, why the disinheritance of the family members, and the secret behind Adam's estrangement from his father. However, the story is slow moving with an endless succession of flashbacks about Adam's relationship with his father that are often tedious, are not always relevant to the plot, and do not move the story along.

While there is much intrigue there is very little excitement or action in the novel, it plods along at a slow pace while the reader is waiting for something to happen. The characters are not very likeable and Adam, who is a gun toting CIA operative, comes across as unbelievable for this role. For instance, there is a scene where Adam sneaks into his father's study searching for clues to his father's death and fires a silenced gun to open a locked drawer (page 71). So much for stealth, a highly trained CIA agent and he cannot pick a lock, and did he think no one would notice the lock was shot off?

I found the novel lacked any real suspense or action that would have picked up the pace.
For those who feel they must read this book to form their own opinion I suggest the library or find someone who is tossing it after reading it and finds it does not merit space on their book shelf. Torn between two and three stars I give it a three for plot and two for execution of story.
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VINE VOICEon February 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Fall From Grace By Richard North Patterson

It has been awhile since I read this author who I once loved for his great courtroom dialogue. I really wanted to love this book as one loves meeting up with an old friend again. Now more than 2 weeks after finishing the book, I can say I didn't love it. I haven't given much thought to it since finishing the book and for me that is an indication of a mediocre book. The good ones keep coming back to mind with thoughts of the characters or the story. In a way, the title is somewhat prophetic, the author has fallen from the heights he reached in earlier books.

Set on beautiful Martha's Vineyard the author was able to write about scenic views and the beauty of a natural wonderland populated by interesting well know people who gravitate to the island in summer. His love of the geography and history of the island comes through as a backdrop for the various secret meetings of the various characters.

The characters from a dysfunctional family are linked by the narcissism of the father and the disappearance of the seemingly favorite son after an unknown incident. The son returns for his father's funeral after being away for 10 years and the story unfolds. The multi-generational nature of the family dysfunction is explained with the presence of an uncle who suffered at the hands of his now deceased brother as did the dead man's sons and his wife. The family betrayal, a near do well son who is gay and had to return home for his art, the prodigal son who returns from Afghanistan for the funeral shrouded in mystery of his role in the war zone come together to create family intrigue that kept me reading to solve the mystery. Once solved, it seemed contrived.

It is a relatively short book that makes for a fast read. I admit to being propelled to finish it because of the family drama and the desire to learn what caused the ultimate family schism 10 years ago. There were overtones of a "soap opera" as the reader learns of the father's ultimate betrayal of both his son and his wife.

I wondered if Patterson's real goal was to write about the vineyard where he has a home and clearly love the island. The characters and the story with its disappointing dialogue seem to only be the backdrop to show case the island he loves.

This was a guest review.
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VINE VOICEon February 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As an avid fan of Richard North Patterson's past books, especially the thrillers involving legal and/or political issues, I found this one somehow flat. The plot is largely about the main character, Ben, who is returning to Martha's Vineyard from a self-imposed exile instigated by a mysterious event with his father with whom he'd had lifelong conflicts. He returns to find out if his father's fall from a cliff near the family home was an accident, suicide or murder. Basically he goes from person to person in this tight-knit community, to uncover the truth, allowing Patterson to reveal a bit of the backstory with each conversation.

Other than the narcissistic, bigger-than-life writer/highly competitive father and the son who resents being characterized by some as having some of the same strong determination of his dad, the characters seem less than full-realized, more like props for the story. Ben's motivation is not only to find out the truth, but to figure out why his womanizing father would cut his mother out of the will, and make Ben, an attorney, the administrator of it, plus giving his some money, as well as providing some for Ben's one time girl friend on the island. I kept on reading, hoping for climactic points or plot twists yet it seemed, to me anyway, to come to a more or less logical, yet not satisfying conclusion.

Yes, there are several big family secrets yet this wasn't a gripping page turner for me, and for some reason I did not learn enough about the players to care about them.

I highly recommend some of his earlier books including The Spire, the Lasko TangentLasko Tangent, Eyes of a Child Eyes of a Child, Degree of Guilt, Conviction, Protect and Defend, Balance of Power, No Safe Place, Silent Witness and Caroline Masters.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Richard North Patterson's early courtroom books (eg, Eyes of a Child are thumping good reads, so I figured it was worth a chance that now that he has gotten some of his political causes off his chest in deeply underwhelming novels (which were proof positive that a great cause like human rights can still produce crummy novels and plots) he might be back on form?

Erm, not really. While it's better than some of his recent offerings, such as The Spire: A Novel, which managed to be both deeply predictable and almost offensive, this still doesn't cut it. Adam Blaine's father, from whom he has been estranged for a decade (aha! a classic father/son alienation plot line...) falls/jumps/is pushed from a clifftop and dies. (hmmm, is there a crime or not??) Adam flies back from Afghanistan (oooh, hero with a murky backstory!) to help his remaining family -- mother, brother and uncle -- with the fallout, including some unexpected provisions in the will recently signed by Benjamin Blaine, a famous novelist.

Well, one of the big reveals of the final pages was fairly self evident early on (about as obvious as what Adam is really doing in Afghanistan); the other only moderately less so. And there's no courtroom saga here, so the result is a relatively anemic mystery. Is there a whodunnit? the cops seem to think so, so Adam must figure it out ahead of them, which he does in a series of long-drawn-out interviews/conversations. The Blaine family relationships are incredibly dysfunctional and the will makes them even more so, ergo plenty of suspects.

None of this is terribly convincing, and it's only moderately entertaining. Perhaps a book for an airplane? If you like the author, get it from the library. If not, don't bother, or wait for a trade paperback, which you can leave in the pocket of the seat in front of you on that plane. I do wish Patterson would devote a little more time and energy into crafting his novels; many start with an interesting enough premise and could be far more than they are, but he's dialing in stock characters and plot twists. 2.5 stars; rounded up because it was moderately entertaining and a fast read.
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on May 12, 2014
I am a great fan of Richard North Patterson and whilst this book was quite entertaining and a good read it was not one of his best. The interaction between some of the characters was jerky and not developed as smoothly as occurs in his better books.
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