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The Final Judgment by [Patterson, Richard North]
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The Final Judgment Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Length: 636 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Richard North Patterson frequently rejects the label "legal thriller" for his novels, and The Final Judgement works hard to transcend this limiting category. A cleverly assembled murder mystery told with rich prose ("Moonlight refracted on the still, obsidian waters of the lake and traced the pines and birches and elms surrounding it. The only sound Brett heard was the rise and fall of James's breathing.") and filled with a cast of quirky small-town New Englanders, the novel ultimately succeeds through Patterson's talents as a writer, not just as a plotter.

As in many of Patterson's best novels, The Final Judgement draws on flashback sequences to ground the story and establish key characters. Forty-five-year-old Caroline Masters, a minor figure in Degree of Guilt and Eyes of a Child is the narrative center, and much of the suspense in the novel derives from the slow unwrapping of her past--the death of her mother and estrangement from her father. In the opening of the novel, Caroline is waiting for a message from the White House appointing her to the U.S. Court of Appeals, when, instead, her long-distant father gives her a call. Her niece has just been named the primary suspect in the murder of her boyfriend. The college-age Brett Allen was found naked, passed out from drugs and alcohol, with a knife in her hand, and covered in her boyfriend's blood. The family wants Caroline to return to New Hampshire to defend the girl.

The perils that face Caroline multiply quickly. By taking the case, Caroline clearly jeopardizes her chances for the Court of Appeals appointment. And by returning home, she must inevitably face the accumulated memories and resentments of the New Hampshire crowd, including Caroline's high-school boyfriend who is the prosecuting attorney. But her niece's life is at stake. Ultimately, The Final Judgement is a tale of the deep and twisted history of a New England family, but it is told in a captivating style that is--despite Patterson's reservations about the rubric--"thrilling." --Patrick O'Kelley

From Publishers Weekly

Patterson's previous bestsellers (Degree of Guilt and Eyes of a Child) were closely linked by shared characters, but his new thriller is tied to those two through only a tenuous bond?its heroine, Caroline Masters, who was the judge in Degree. Here, the reader meets Caroline as a candidate for the U.S. Court of Appeals, and as a determined woman who seems to have left sentiment, and her New Hampshire patriarch of a father, far in her past. But when her niece, Brett, is arrested for the murder of her slippery boyfriend, Caroline?despite the risk to her own career?is drawn by the young woman's plight into acting as her defense counsel. This task is made no easier by the fact that the prosecutor in the case was once Caroline's lover, and still yearns for her. At first, Brett's case looks hopeless?the killing was committed in the woods at night when she was drunk and disoriented, and there is no evidence that anyone else was there. But as Caroline focuses on a shifty state witness and rough-and-ready police procedures, promise for a lesser verdict than murder begins to glimmer. While Patterson excels at writing courtroom scenes, at the center of this novel lies not legal melodrama but the burden of Caroline's past and the reasons she has chosen to escape it. All in all, it's a somber, skillfully plotted performance with plenty of genuine surprises (though not in the identity of the killer), and with characters more substantive than those in Patterson's previous, California-based outings. 250,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1074 KB
  • Print Length: 636 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; Reissue edition (November 29, 2011)
  • Publication Date: November 29, 2011
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005N8ZH16
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,136 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I give a book a five star rating, it means on a scale of 1-10, I have rated it an 8, 9 or 10. Believe me, very few books reach the "10" level but this one did. It's a case where Richard North Patterson's writing prowess is clearly evident.
If you've followed any of his earlier books, you'll know that he likes to bring back characters that he's already introduced you to in previous novels. The Final Judgment centers around one of my personal favorites, Caroline Masters, a character who put herself through law school and spent 15 years as a public defender before being appointed to a minor judgeship in the San Francisco Municipal Court. This appointment leads to a judge's dream. A high profile televised case is thrown in her lap where a well-known journalist is accused of killing an equally famous novelist. By the end of this trial, which occurs in Patterson's Degree of Guilt, Masters is a celebrity. Many offers pour in and Caroline chooses the one that would serve her ambitions and accepts a partnership in San Francisco's largest law firm. With the strength of this law firm behind her, in Eyes of the Child she ends up defending another high profile defense attorney who is accused of murder, once again putting her in the public eye.
As Final Judgment opens, we meet Caroline once again as she is waiting for the phone call that could change her life -- an appointment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which would put her one step away from her true goal in life -- a Supreme Court nomination. Just when it seems that Caroline's life is finally on track, she is summoned back home to New Hampshire to defend her niece who is accused of murdering her boyfriend. She hasn't been back there in over twenty years. Prior to this book, Caroline's private life has been an enigma.
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Format: Hardcover
While not the "standard fare" for Richard North Patterson, this was among his best novels. The characterization he brought to Caroline Masters and Sandy Stern was eloquent. In prior novels, Caroline was a supremely distant character whose history is now revealed and helps explain her behavior and mien in earlier novels. Sandy Stern continues to be something of an enigma, but he comes out being more "human" by the end of the tale.
As for the plot, I daresay there are a few flaws, most of which seem to come out during the lake scene. Beyond that, this novel is an extremely good read for those who enjoy not only plot, but character development as well. If character development is NOT something the reader enjoys, this is probably not the book for them.
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Format: Paperback
This is the third book of Patterson's I've read, and by coincidence, the character Caroline Masters was in all of them ... this time as the main character (the others were Degree of Guilt and Eyes of a Child). Although I had a hard time getting into the first half of the book, once I did I was hooked. Lots of flashbacks provided great background that made the characters come to life. The author kept me hanging on as he slowly doled out the pieces of information that brought the story all together to a very good ending.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Probably Patterson's best thriller and unpredictable. I read it some 15 or 20 years ago and wanted to give this to my husband, because todays thriller authors all do their formula writing which this one didn't. He enjoyed it, too.
The characters are also playing roles in at least one other book by this author. Good writing style.
I can recommend this.

Also highly recommended: "Under the Lake" by Stuart Woods (his best thriller) and "Shadow House" by Michael Allegretto.
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By A Customer on September 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Just wanted to say how much I loved Patterson's The Final Judgement. This has to be the best book I've ever read - one I couldn't put down. The character development here was tops! Yes, this was a courtroom drama, but more it showed how lives and destinies can be influenced by outside sources, like one's parents. Carolyn Masters was wonderful, dear compassionate, intelligent. I also fell in love with Brett. In fact, I want to read more about those two. I almost sense Patterson has left me hanging. Right now I'm going through withdrawls, and find I'm still thinking about this book weeks after I finished it. I will search out his other books for sure.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting in the way he went from present to past and back. Some surprises, then only to have more surprises that you might have wondered early on and dismissed

This another one that I have stayed up most of the night and had to make myself out it down
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recently read three books by Richard North Patterson, and enjoyed every one. This one was an exciting page turner with many twists and turns ending in a surprising way. This one was my favorite of all three. If you're looking for excitment, you won't go wrong with this author.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
How great to look back and read older novels written by Richard North Patterson. It feels like a real privilege, and this story did not disappoint me. It was a page turner without the violence that seems so common now from others authors. I'll look for more "oldies."
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