Saturday, August 7, 2010
In the Name of Honor
by Richard North Patterson
Henry Holt and Co.
This is a legal thriller that has adultery, murder, suicide, the Iraq war and the timely topic of post traumatic stress syndrome. The central character is a JAG captain, Paul Terry who defends an accused murderer, Lt. Brian McCarron, the scion of a storied military family. McCarron’s father is in line to be chairman of the joint chiefs. Brian is accused of murdering Joe D’Abruzzo, who in addition to being his superior officer is married to close family friend Kate Gallagher. The drama unfolds as each character contributes to the narrative and slowly a portrait of a deeply troubled family is revealed. The complexity of the relationships among the characters and the impact these relationships had on their motivations was excellent.
The author vividly shows how PTSD develops in soldiers who have been in violent combat and how it impacts a soldier returning to civilian life. Patterson uses the intricacies of a military trail and court marshal to differentiate this story from the run of the mill courtroom drama. Additionally the development of a love story between Paul Terry and the accused murderer’s sister Meg was well done and believable. The character development is very good and at the end of the account I cared about most of the main characters. There was an inconsistency in the action of Paul Terry at the end of the book that bothered me as it did not seem in character, but for that minor complaint I really enjoyed this book. Richard North Patterson is yet another author who had excellent early novels (Eyes of a Child, No Safe Place) followed by weak efforts and now has returned to fine form.