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The Spire: A Novel Hardcover – September 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805087737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805087734
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,055,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This thoughtful if less than suspenseful thriller from bestseller Patterson (Eclipse) charts the impact of the brutal murder of black coed Angela Hall at Caldwell College in Wayne, Ohio, on gifted athlete Mark Darrow, who discovered the body and later became a nationally renowned lawyer. Mark's best friend was convicted of the crime, but many aspects of the trial troubled Mark. Lionel Farr, Caldwell's provost and Mark's former mentor, offers Mark the post of college president 16 years after Angela's murder. Mark agrees to return to Caldwell, now struggling with the suspected embezzlement of $900,000 from its endowment by its current president. With Lionel's support, Mark investigates both the embezzlement and the old murder. Patterson evokes the quiet schism between town and gown in Wayne as well as the fragile relationship between blacks and whites, while Mark's probing hits exposed nerves with fatal results. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Intriguing … When we begin to develop a sense of the real truths behind the various screens created by several of the main characters, [we] can’t read fast enough to reach the finale.” —The San Francisco Chronicle
 
“A gripping story peopled with plausible characters … A page turner with multiple twists and a well-earned conclusion at once shocking and inevitable.”—Richmond Times Dispatch
 
“Inventive, shocking, and thrilling … Patterson grabs the reader by the scruff of the neck and holds him until the very last page … [The Spire] might just be his best to date.”—Tucson Citizen
 
“[This] intriguing novel of psychological suspense… intensifies until the shocking conclusion of this tightly plotted story… sure to please fans of Raymond Chandler, Michael Connelly, and James Lee Burke.”—Library Journal
 
“The novel picks up steam and builds to a shocking conclusion. Fans of Patterson’s legal thrillers, the books that made him famous, will be glad to see him back in murder-mystery mode.”—Booklist
 
“Thoughtful … Patterson evokes the quiet schism between town and gown… as well as the fragile relationship between blacks and whites, while Mark’s probing hits exposed nerves with fatal results.”—Publishers Weekly

More About the Author

RICHARD NORTH PATTERSON is the author of The Spire, Eclipse and fourteen other bestselling and critically acclaimed novels. Formerly a trial lawyer, he was the SEC liaison to the Watergate special prosecutor and has served on the boards of several Washington advocacy groups. He lives in San Francisco and on Martha's Vineyard with his wife, Dr. Nancy Clair.

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Customer Reviews

I would just add there are too many loose ends.
Gerald Swimmer
Richard North Patterson has returned to writing the types of books that made him one of my favorite authors!
W. E. Phillips
Well rounded characters and a believable storyline.
Pat Hawcroft

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By W. E. Phillips VINE VOICE on August 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Richard North Patterson has returned to writing the types of books that made him one of my favorite authors! This is a great psychological suspense novel, and drew me in from the first pages.

Mark Darrow is a succesful lawyer, but after some life crises he returns to his old alma mater as the college president. His job is to try to restore the school's reputation, which has been on the decline since a murder during his college days. This brings back many conflicts for Mark, in part because his best friend was convicted of the murder and is in prison for life.

Flipping between the past and the present, Patterson does a great job of re-telling the story and tying it into the present day. He keeps you in suspense until the very end, although I will say my hunch about the real murderer was correct. Patterson also develops a beautiful love story and tale of healing for Mark and his love interest.

This is a great book-you will not regret a minute spent reading it!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Richard North Patterson has written some truly gripping thrillers in his day. The compelling Eyes of a Child springs to mind immediately as an example of what this writer can do when he's on top form -- a rollercoaster ride, where the reader never really knows which way is up and who to trust. Unfortunately, in this return to the genre (after recent books that have too often been tedious reads set in the world of presidential politics and the supreme court, where Patterson allowed his passion for causes like gun control to take priority over the telling of a great story, a big no-no in my opinion), the bad guy was obvious to me from very nearly his first appearance on the scene, long before the commission of any crime. (I can't say why without a giant spoiler, alas.) So my only question revolved around the specifics of 'how', and a bit of the 'why', rather than the 'who'. The result? A disappointing book.

The plot revolves around Mark Darrow, a lawyer who owes his current life and career to his football scholarship to Caldwell College and, especially, to his mentor, philosophy professor Lionel Farr. Now, Farr calls on the recently-widowed and directionless Darrow to give back to his alma mater, asking him to return as the college's president and rebuild its reputation in the wake of an embezzlement that the last president seems to have orchestrated. Together with the murder of a young African-American female student in Darrow's final year, a crime of which Darrow's best friend was convicted, this scandal leaves Caldwell College vulnerable, and Darrow accepts the challenge.

It's an intriguing premise, but it never really pans out.
Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By a VINE VOICE on August 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really enjoyed Richard North Patterson's latest and found myself hooked within the first few pages. The idea of a former college football star coming back to his old college as school president sixteen years later to handle a crisis, while suddenly re-investigating an old, presumably solved murder case, struck me as a brilliant premise, and it was handled very well. Clearly a skilled writer, Patterson slowly reveals clues while amplifying characterizations, constructing a murder mystery alongside a seemingly unconnected financial mystery with a poignant, if slightly underdeveloped, love story forming its emotional center. One might argue that the novel's middle is a little flabby with dialogue-heavy chapters as the protagonist informally interviews person after person involved in the sixteen-year-old murder of student Angela Hall. However, all great murder mystery novels use this device, and while it can be tedious in the hands of a less skilled author, I found myself eagerly turning page after page even when two characters are sitting in a diner, chatting over coffee.

The most surprising part of my reading experience was the novel's ultimate predictability. In no way am I skilled at guessing the endings of books; indeed, quite the opposite. I'm usually guessing until the final chapter and always am I most surprised at the end. Strangely, I had this one figured out about fifty pages in, and was both pleased and disappointed when every subsequent clue simply confirmed what seemed to be the obvious outcome from the start. Yet I remain steadfast in giving this novel a glowing review because it is well written and, even though I was able to figure it out well in advance of the protagonist, I very much enjoyed the ride. Four big stars, minus one because, in the end, I was hoping for a little out of the blue twist that never materialized. Still, highly recommended!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bill Garrison VINE VOICE on July 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
After about a decade, Richard North Patterson has returned with the type of thriller that made him one of my favorite authors. In THE SPIRE, Patterson writes of a shocking murder at a small Ohio college that changes everyone involved. Patterson used to write legal thrillers that were filled with amazing depth and psychological suspence. Then he moved on to political novels. Since he is a liberal and I'm a conservative, they weren't my favorite. I read a few, but not all, and found them well written, but just not fun. Then, he moved on to issue novels, tacking the death penalty, the middle east, and Africa. These books were again well written and very good, but certainly not escapist fiction.

In THE SPIRE, Patterson returns to his roots. Fans will find nothing new here, but will find everything about Patterson they always enjoyed. Mark Darrow had a troubled childhood, leading him to have to live with his friend Steve Tillman. Darrow is a high school football star and Lionell Farr, a teacher at local Caldwell College, gets Mark a scholarship. Mark is a star at Caldwell too, but his life is changed when he finds the murdered body of Angela Hall, a black woman, beneath the Spire. Mark's friend Steve is convicted of the crime.

Mark returns to the college 15 years later as newly appointed president. He's always wondered about Steve's conviction, and as he begans to research it, he has a lot of unanswered questions. Mark's investigation turns up old flames of jealousy, racism, and regret. He also develops a relationship with Farr's daughter, which may or may not be a good thing.

In saying that Patterson returns to what he does best, I also believe this novel offers nothing new accept the way Patterson used to write. So don't expect anything groundbreaking, but do take comfort in that Patterson can still write a very good novel.
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