Fall From Grace by Richard North Patterson, Scribner, March 2012
This is a psychological drama and not a very good one
This novel is set on Martha’s Vineyard and depicts the return of an estranged son, Adam Blaine, for his father’s funeral. His father has died under mysterious circumstances. Did he fall or was he pushed from a cliff? His father Ben Blaine is a nationally known writer but a first class jerk. Ben’s will reveals that he has disinherited his wife and other son and left the majority of his fortune to an actress living on the Vineyard. Much of the story is told in a series of flashbacks as we learn more about the circumstances of Adam’s estrangement from his father. In the present day Adam using skills from his career as a CIA operative (sound like a soap yet) investigates his father’s death and finds much evidence pointing toward his brother as the killer. Not too much action occurs until the final chapters of the novel when things pick up and many mysterious relationships are revealed.
This is a psychological drama and not a very good one. The characters are fairly wooden and the plot is very contrived and the action far from riveting. The setting on The Vineyard is well described.
Richard North Patterson, in his early writing career penned some excellent court room dramas (Eyes of The Child among the best) and then left the legal genre for political thrillers that were mediocre at best. In his last novel, In The Name of Honor, he returned to the courtroom with modest success. He should stay there.
I read a copy of the book provided by the publisher.