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The First Counsel [Kindle Edition]

Brad Meltzer
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $2.00 (20%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

The runaway bestseller that takes us down the rabbit hole of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

John F. Jennedy, Jr., was Lark.
Amy Carter was Dynamo.
Chelsea Clinton was Energy.
Meet Shadow.

Shadow is the Secret Service code name for First Daughter Nora Hartson. And when White House lawyer Michael Garrick begins dating the irresistible Nora, he's instantly spellbound, just like everyone else in her world. Then, late one night, the two witness something they were never meant to see. Now, in a world where everyone watches your every move, Michael is suddenly ensnared in someone's secret agenda. Trusting no one, not even Nora, he finds himself fighting for his innocence--and ultimately, his life.

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Editorial Reviews Review

Aficionados of the hit TV show The West Wing who are suffering through holiday reruns will jump right into Brad Meltzer's third novel (after The Tenth Justice and Dead Even), which takes readers into the White House office of the president's own law firm and introduces a first daughter whose complex psychological problems jump-start this fast-paced thriller. Michael Garrick loves his job as deputy counsel, but when he falls for Nora Hartson, the president's daughter, the conflict between his professional ethics and his growing love for her puts him right in the middle of a murder plot that may reach all the way to the Oval Office.

Meltzer excels at plotting, and he knows the back corridors, family quarters, and secret tunnels of the executive branch as well as those of the Supreme Court, which he revealed in his first two blockbusters. He's not as skillful at characterization. It's hard to believe that the sociopathic tendencies of people in a president's inner circle--or even his family--would have managed to escape the scrutiny of an FBI investigation during his rise to power. And Nora, in particular, doesn't quite come off as the misguided victim she must be in order to make the rest of the story credible. But that's not a huge quibble; Meltzer manages to make Edgar Simon, Michael's boss, the most interesting White House counsel since John Dean. The First Counsel is a cleverly commercial mix of legal thriller and political chicanery guaranteed to keep you turning pages until Meltzer puts the third branch of government in his sights, too. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

A man faces a lot of pressure when dating the first daughter of the U.S., especially if she is sexy, rebellious and maybe a little bit crazy like Nora Hartson. But young White House lawyer Michael Garrick thinks he is up to the task. Their first date begins with a wild car chase to shake off Nora's ever-present Secret Service tail and ends when Nora and Michael see something they were never meant to see something that will put Michael's career, and his life, in danger. As witnesses to an ever-widening conspiracy, Michael and Nora find themselves tangled in a web of intrigue and under suspicion for murder. As the pressure increases, Nora makes herself scarce; when she does surface, she seems even more vulnerable and crazed, leaving Michael to decide if she is, in fact, part of the conspiracy or, like him, a victim of it. As he tries to make sense of the trap surrounding him, he finds himself not knowing whom, if anyone, to trust. Sweeney's reading is the perfect match for Meltzer's fast-paced and witty writing. With a raspy voice reminiscent of a young Martin Sheen, Sweeney brings to life Michael's anxious cockiness in a palpable manner. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 6, 2000).

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1077 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0446527289
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1st edition (March 9, 2001)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FA5QJA
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,632 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A definite 5-star thriller! January 24, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The First Counsel is one of the best books I have read in a long time. This is the first Meltzer book I've read, and as is usually the case, the first book by an author is usually my favorite since you don't have any clue as to how the author writes or where he is going with the story.
This book truly was a page turner and very easy to read. Instead of telling us, Meltzer uses a lot of dialogue to keep the story moving quickly. Authors like James Patterson are easy to read but his novels are so short. When I read Scott Turow, just a few pages wore me out. The First Counsel is full of twists and turns and substance and easy to read 60 to 70 pages at a time.
The opening chapter had me hooked. White House lawyer Michael Garrick is dating the president's daughter Nora. They elude the secret service and see Garrick's boss Edgar Simon at a gay bar. Simon then drives out into the forest to make a drop of $40,000. Nora and Michael go exploring and Nora takes some of the money. From there a murder is committed and the evidence keeps mounting against Michael.
I enjoyed this book so much because most of the action revolved around the White House, which seemed very intriguing to me. The First Daugher Nora was also a great character. She just wanted to live a normal life but had so many flaws. As the book draws to an end, we have to see if Michael can figure out who is trying to frame him and keep from getting killed. We also have to see how Michael and Nora's relationship worked out. I admit that I liked this book because the idea of dating the president's daughter seemed cool to me. The idea of any kind of outsider having access to the White House is intriguing.
This is one of those books where getting to the end is half the fun. Meltzer takes the reader on a great ride.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Corridors of Power, Mystery and Intrique January 29, 2001
By A Customer
Brad Meltzer has written a slick thriller that is, indeed, a "page turner". His knowledge of the White House is superb and we are led skillfully through corridors of power, mystery and intrigue at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The dialogue is good. The plot holds our interest to the very end. The characters, however, are not even remotely believable. The behavior and problems of Nora, the First Daughter, could never have escaped the scrutiny of the FBI or the media. Michael, our earnest young hero, puzzles us as he persists in a relationship with a bizarre young woman the reader will see immediately as out of control, manipulative and self-serving.
Edgar Simon, Michael's boss, could be a fascinating study, but he is portrayed in a superficial manner, as are the other "players" in the story.
Despite the contrived ending, including the probable solution to Michael's tribulations with his father, those who read the book will be swept along by the momentum of the tale and will enjoy it for what it is. It is only by comparison with the author's fine first novel, The Tenth Justice, that we preceive the flaws in this book and are disappointed.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A page-turner that never slows down February 1, 2001
Having never read any of Brad Meltzers books prior to this fine novel, I was intrigued when I found him popping up now and then on nationwide television to discuss the White House and the subject of the children of our Presidents (The First Daughters). It certainly piqued my interest in this book, and once I started it, I was unable to put it down. It was a pager turner of a book that never really slowed down. While so many authors have a difficult sustaining the suspense and drama for a book this size (480 pages), I found that Meltzter kept things moving even through the middle part of the book. While some of the characters could have been developed better, I found that for a 3rd novel by a young author he has done a great job of getting down the plot and even getting the reader to believe in the characters backgrounds and faults. From the main character,Michael Garrick, to Edgar Simon (the true first counsel) to all the junior White House attorneys and aids, every character played an integral part in this book. I had heard the author mention that he had spoken to every First Daughter from the LBJ presidency to the Clintons, and it certainly has paid off, as he has provided a great insight into what the life of a First Daughter or First Son must be like. Obviously not every child of a President will not be subject to the intrigue and problems of Nora, the fact of the matter is that Meltzer has brought the plight of so many children whose parents are the President and First Lady. One of the most underrated parts of the book was the First Ladies Birthday party, arranged as part a national interview, and the First Ladies reaction to her childrens present. I have a distinct feeling that he will have hit a nerve with this incident. Read more ›
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the ultimate 'Can't Put it Down' book! January 11, 2001
By Tom
Meltzer has penned a master thriller with "The First Counsel." This is better than anything Grisham has ever written. Meltzer throws the reader right in with a bang of a first chapter...and things only get more intense after that. The characters are extremely intriguing, and I felt as if I had my own White House Meltzer took me inside the White House for a detailed portrayal of how things really work. We get a view of old-fashioned politics...all wrapped up in a thrilling, suspenseful, action-packed novel. The plot is strong, with plenty of twists, and it doesn't let up from beginning to end.
This is Meltzer's best yet. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes to read action-packed books and/or political and legal thrillers.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another great one
Published 4 hours ago by RWGII
5.0 out of 5 stars A great summer read
Kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. A great summer read. I would recommend it to anyone. Outstanding.
Published 10 days ago by Helen Mary Jodzio
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it!
Wonderful writing...story flowed wonderfully...sucked me right it in one day! Checking in more from this author....I highly recommend reading this!
Published 16 days ago by Laurie Marquis
3.0 out of 5 stars This was an interesting read. The writer certainly knows ...
This was an interesting read. The writer certainly knows his way around Washington D.C., both the landscape and the politics.
Published 27 days ago by Bellow Man
4.0 out of 5 stars good beach read
Kept me guessing right up to the end and was a surprise at the bad guy "reveal". Slow at times but still worth it
Published 2 months ago by Mom in Boston
5.0 out of 5 stars better with every chapter
As the story unfolded I was pulled along! Got better and better. Surprise ending. That was the clincher! Great story
Published 3 months ago by MBaggs
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Fun Read
Well done tight thriller with likeable characters. In another era it might have been optioned for a movie. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Handy Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great read, as are all the Brad Meltzer's books. The story is not predictable. It keeps the reader engaged throughout the story.
Published 4 months ago by Little Star
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed the book
This was a quick read. Good story and enjoyed the White House details. Makes me want to visit Washington DC again soon.
Published 4 months ago by Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars great read!
Read several Meltzer books and all are good, but this one is one of the better ones. A page turner that keeps you interested and guessing to the end.
Published 4 months ago by Christopher Perry
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More About the Author

Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle and The Book of Fate, as well as the bestsellers The Tenth Justice, Dead Even, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, The Zero Game, and The Book of Lies. He is also the author of the nonfiction bestsellers, Heroes For My Son and Heroes For My Daughter, collecting heroes from Jim Henson, to Rosa Parks, to Mr. Rogers. Brad is also the host of the History Channel TV show, Brad Meltzer's Decoded -- one of the co-creators of the TV show, "Jack & Bobby" -- and is the #1 selling author of the critically-acclaimed comic books, Identity Crisis and Justice League of America, for which he won the prestigious Eisner Award. His newest book, The Fifth Assassin, will be published in January 2013.

Raised in Brooklyn and Miami, Brad is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia Law School. You can find him regularly on or at

For authenticity, The Book of Fate was researched with the help of former Presidents Clinton and Bush. He was selected by the Department of Homeland Security to brainstorm different ways that terrorists can attack the US. The Inner Circle is about a young archivist in the National Archives who finds out that George Washington's secret spy ring still exists to this very day.

His books have spent nearly a year on the bestseller lists, and have been translated into over 25 languages, from Hebrew to Bulgarian. In The Tenth Justice, the opening lines are: "Ben Addison was sweating. Like a pig." In the Hebrew translation, it became: "Ben Addison was sweating. Like a horse." We're not sure if it's a kosher thing or what.

Brad has played himself as an extra in Woody Allen's Celebrity and earned credit from Columbia Law School for writing his first book, which became The Tenth Justice. He also co-wrote the oath that the President of the United States gives to all AmeriCorps members. Before all of that, he got 24 rejection letters for his true first novel, which still sits on his shelf, published by Kinko's.

Brad currently lives in Florida with his wife, who's also an attorney.

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