From Publishers Weekly
Gun control and tort reform are the thorny issues tackled in this political drama, with Patterson hero Kerry Kilcannon ensconced in the White House and planning his marriage to former television journalist Lara Costello. Kilcannon (last glimpsed in Protect and Defend) has been president for less than a year when he is caught up in a potentially disastrous domestic crisis. Lara's sister, Joan, is brutally beaten by her husband, John Bowden, and Kerry, who rescued his own mother from his violent father, lets emotion get the better of him, asking the California DA to intervene. Meanwhile, in the political arena, Kerry is battling an NRA-type group called Sons of the Second Amendment (SSA). When the fuse Kerry lit under John Bowden explodes predictably (Bowden goes on a killing spree in an airport while the Kilcannons are away on their honeymoon), Kerry sees red and goes after the manufacturer of the gun Bowden used. The gun lobby circles wagons around the SSA and pushes a tort-reform bill called the Civil Justice Reform Act, which protects the manufacturers of any "products" from litigation by victims of criminals. Congress kowtows to America's captains of industry, with guns as the focal point: "gun immunity hung in the balance of power between the President and the senator who intended to displace him." This is a Democratic nightmare scenario, and the novel paints a grim picture of the challenges facing gun-control advocates. Patterson is known for his intricate law-and-politics-laced crime fiction, but lawmaking trumps suspense in this novel and may leave his fans wanting for more. Patterson is a strong supporter of gun control-as he notes in an afterword-and his passion is evident here. Readers seeking pure entertainment may be disappointed, but those with the patience to follow the involved plot will learn much about gun policy debate.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Newly elected Democratic president Kerry Kilcannon faced the abortion issue in Protect and Defend
(2000), and now he has to tackle the Second Amendment. While preparing for his wedding to Lara Costello, a beautiful journalist, Kerry has been helping her sister, Joan, escape from her abusive husband, John. Just after Kerry and Lara's wedding, John shoots and kills Joan, her young daughter Marie, and Joan and Lara's mother, Inez. Kerry and Lara, along with the nation, are stunned by the tragedy, and Kerry decides that something must be done about the gun industry. His opponent is the Sons of the Second Amendment (SSA), a powerful gun lobby that wields an incredible amount of influence over the Republican Party. The war is waged on two fronts: Lara's sister, Mary, sues a gun company and the SSA, while Kerry must fight a bill the SSA is trying to push through the Senate and the House immunizing gun companies from lawsuits such as Mary's. This complex novel has a fascinating debate at its heart. To his credit, Patterson has done his research, and though it's clear which side he's on, he does a good job of presenting all the arguments. Kristine HuntleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved