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The Spire
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About the Author

RICHARD NORTH PATTERSON is the author of The Spire, Exile, and fifteen other bestselling and critically acclaimed novels. Formerly a trial lawyer, he was the SEC liaison to the Watergate special prosecutor and has served on the boards of several Washington advocacy groups. He lives in Martha's Vineyard, San Francisco, and Cabo San Lucas with his wife, Dr. Nancy Clair.

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This thoughtful if less than suspenseful thriller from bestseller Patterson (Eclipse) charts the impact of the brutal murder of black coed Angela Hall at Caldwell College in Wayne, Ohio, on gifted athlete Mark Darrow, who discovered the body and later became a nationally renowned lawyer. Mark's best friend was convicted of the crime, but many aspects of the trial troubled Mark. Lionel Farr, Caldwell's provost and Mark's former mentor, offers Mark the post of college president 16 years after Angela's murder. Mark agrees to return to Caldwell, now struggling with the suspected embezzlement of $900,000 from its endowment by its current president. With Lionel's support, Mark investigates both the embezzlement and the old murder. Patterson evokes the quiet schism between town and gown in Wayne as well as the fragile relationship between blacks and whites, while Mark's probing hits exposed nerves with fatal results. (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Patterson turns from political hot potatoes like the Arab-Israeli conflict (Exile) and oil in Africa (Eclipse) to write this intriguing novel of psychological suspense. Character development is key here; we meet Mark Darrow, a young football player who receives a scholarship to Caldwell, a local private college; his best friend, Steve Tillman, who is in prison for a murder he may not have committed; and Lionel Farr, the professor who becomes Darrow's mentor and closest friend. Darrow leaves Caldwell for law school and fame as a defense attorney until Farr asks him to return as the college's president. The current president is under investigation for embezzlement, and someone popular enough and persuasive enough is needed to keep the alumni money flowing in. For Darrow, going home again means reexamining old friend Steve's conviction and investigating the embezzlement, making some people very uncomfortable. Then another murder occurs, and the suspense intensifies until the shocking conclusion of this tightly plotted story. Verdict Sure to please fans of Raymond Chandler, Michael Connelly, and James Lee Burke. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/09.]-Stacy Alesi, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., Boca Raton, FL Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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