Sunday, 27 September 2015

Degree of Guilt - Richard North Patterson

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A classic reminder of why this author is one of my favourites.

Despite being disappointed with some of his last reads, this is an extremely enjoyable, one that reiterarated my faith in the author.

I love his style and the way he delves into the psychological aspect of the characters. It is said that he is similar to John Grisham, but I disagree. I think the similarity is due to the courtroom scenes but that's it. I find him different since he focusses more on behind the scenes rather than the courtroom scenes themselves.


Christopher Paget, a lawyer of repute, lives with his son Carlo. Mary Carelli, the boy's mother, is a television journalist who leads a separate life. However, one day she calls up Paget asking for help when she is accused of killing a well known author. She claims rape and self defence and wants Paget to defend her.

What follows then is Paget's attempt to prove her innocence which also involves a complex ride down the memory lane. Together with his assistant Theresa, they try to piece together what might have happened amid the publicity and the difficulty of the case.

What works:
  • It is a good plot and rape as a subject is carefully handled. Patterson is known to have used certain topics like rape, abortion and gun crime as the basis for his books.
  • The story has such an authentic ring to it that it reminds the reader of the author's background as a lawyer. His characters with their flawed personalities are distinct and identifiable. 
  • The narrative is smooth and gently eases the readers into a complex plot.
  • Once the pace gets going, the reader is taken into the inner workings of the characters which adds to the charm of the story.
  • The twists are great and unforseen which make them very enjoyable.
What doesn't:
  • The background behind certain events bogs down the plot. But having said that, the details add another dimension to the story and the reader cannot complain that the author is cutting any corners.    
Overall a great read. This is a typical Patterson kind of book with lawyer protagnists trying to prove one's guilt or innocence while questioning the real reason for the motives.


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