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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Unpleasant Stop at Martha's Vineyard, February 9, 2012
This review is from: Fall from Grace: A Novel (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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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 10, 2012 8:02:53 AM PST
I had many of the same observations as you did but some of the things that you found good actually turned me off. All the characters put me off, especially Adam. It is ironic that there is a whole chapter where Ben is explaining to Jenny how to write well and the author himself did not take the same advice when writing this book. You state it is not comfortable to read. I feel that is being too kind.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2012 9:12:37 AM PST
Thanks for the kind words! I didn't want to be too negative with my review, since I thought the author was trying to create a dark mood, and wanted the readers to be uncomfortable. Other authors have pulled that off, and some readers may have thought Patterson succeeded here. I really like your observation about the author not following Ben's writing advice; that hadn't occurred to me but it's a shrewd catch.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2012 1:20:56 PM PST
Thanks Timothy and I look forward to more of your reviews.

Posted on Feb 24, 2012 12:28:50 PM PST
Bobbewig says:
Although you enjoyed the book a lot more than I did, your review is well-written and clearly expresses your opinions. Nice job!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2012 1:11:44 PM PST
This is the first time I've read this author. From some of the other reviews, including yours, I suspect if I'd read some of his other works, I wouldn't have so generous with my review on this one!
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