64 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!,
This review is from: Fall from Grace: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Richard North Patterson, in my humble opinion, wrote the two best courtroom novels ever written "Degree of Guilt" and "Eyes of a Child" . Then something disappointing happened, his latter books became unreadable. I was pleased to read the reviews of "In the Name of Honor" and gave it a try two years ago. While not quite up to the old standards, still a very well written courtroom drama.
His latest entry "Fall From Grace" is an interesting psychological drama, however, it does not have any courtroom scenes, which is where Patterson as a writer is unsurpassed. "Fall From Grace" is basically a two man story between Adam Blaine and his recently deceased father. Adam is a CIA operative, who comes back home to Maratha's Vineyard, to attend the funeral for his estranged father Ben. Ben was a world renowned writer with a ruthless desire to be the best at at everything no matter the damage to others. Ben had many mistresses during his 40 year marriage, however, at the time of his death, has left his 12 million dollar estate/home to his actress girlfriend. A one million dollar bequest was also given to Adam's old girlfriend, Jenny, an aspiring writer who lives on the Island. Adam must sift through the evidence and determine whether Ben Blaine's death, a fall from a cliff, was an accident, suicide or murder. He must also find a way to help his disinherited mother and brother, while keeping one step ahead of the police, who are attempting to build a case against a family member. This is a daunting task especially since Adam hated his father.
"Fall from Grace" is told through many flashbacks and interviews. Adam and Ben are well defined characters. Their manipulative tug-a-war over the years and the damage it ensues to everybody in their path, moves the book along to its predicable resolution. Unfortunately, the secondary characters are lackluster when they need to be gripping. Clarice, Adam's long suffering mother, his uncle Jack, and Teddy, his gay older brother have little definition and opportunity for the readers to get to know them. Carla Pacelli, his father's mistress and beneficiary has passion, and her exchanges with Adam are the strongest in the novel. The descriptions of Maratha's Vineyard are vivid and make you long for summer. At only 276 pages, this is a quick, however very predictable read. Recommended at 3 ½ star, but wouldn't run out to buy it.