Degree of Guilt Mass Market Paperback – Import, 4 December 1993
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The novel begins in a San Francisco hotel room as Mary, now an NBC journalist, surveys the torn landscape of author Mark Ransom's apartment. Ransom is, or was, America's most eminent writer. As she tells the police, Ransom had uncovered new recorded evidence of an affair between a long-dead starlet and a now-sainted senator (shades of Marilyn Monroe and JFK). While Ransom and Mary were listening to the tapes, she claims, he tried to rape her and she killed him in self-defense. Mary turns to Paget to defend her in what becomes a complex case of missing and conflicting evidence. Old emotions are stirred between the two just as Paget begins to doubt Mary's innocence.
The suspense of Degree of Guilt is grounded in the twists and turns of the trial at the novel's center, but just as compelling is the emerging history of Mary and Paget, and Paget's struggles to keep his son out of the media frenzy surrounding his mother's case. As well, Patterson addresses the deeper ethical questions that face many lawyers as they decide which cases to take and which evidence to use. Capturing archetypal characters and situations, Degree of Guilt becomes a parable of American law. --Patrick O'Kelley
--The Washington Post
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- Item Weight : 272 g
- Mass Market Paperback : 544 pages
- ISBN-10 : 034538184X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0345381842
- Product Dimensions : 12.07 x 3.05 x 17.53 cm
- Publisher : Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (4 December 1993)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,662,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top review from India
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This is the 1st book of Mr. Patterson that I have read and it has left me wondering why I did not know about him before!
Top reviews from other countries
I have never read anything with such naked, honest and detailed characterization as in this book. Not only the description of people and their essential selves, as the author puts it, but the analysis of both their actions and the reasons for them. It made me stop a lot of times, both to think and to read whole paragraphs once again. My mind demanded clarity and understanding in order to continue reading, and I believe, being prepared to fully benefit from the detailed descriptions of people and fragments of their lives.
As the synopsis tells, defence attorney Christopher Paget has taken the case of famous TV journalist, Mary Carelli, as she stands trial for the murder of America's most eminent novelist Mark Ransom. Carelli and Paget have a shared past, which the case show as being more complex than it first seems. It also threatens their future and that of their teenage son. These are the main participants but the book contains several highly interesting people who all play an important part in the outcome of the case, as well as adding to the human and moral benefit of the story.
I would recommend reading "The Lasko Tangent", the book covering Carelli's and Paget's past, before reading "Degree of Guilt", although it's not absolutely necessary. Also, after "Degree of Guilt" I strongly recommend "The Eyes of a Child", which may actually be seen as a sequel, continuing exactly where "Degree of Guilt" ends.
For readers who want intelligent entertainment from a writer with a remarkable insight into the human mind and the reasons for our choices - or perhaps, the seemingly lack of them - read Richard North Patterson. His books will not only entertain, but enlighten, disturb, explain and stay with you long after you have finished them.
The characters are so human and believable that I found myself caring for them as individuals. Richard N P writes with a clarity which (I feel) is very male, but with an insight into emotion, which I think of as female. The author really gets into the psyche of all his characters but not at the expense of a very tense story line. I think, in essence, this is a book which would appeal equally to both male and female readers.
This is the second in a series of books centred on this group of characters. I haven't read the first book - The Lasko Tangent - but this didn't spoil my enjoyment or understanding of this story.
The plot is gripping in its own right. But what lifted this book for me were the complex characters. Sometimes the characters in a book are so easy to relate to that you feel like you know them and can totally understand their behaviour. But in this case, most of the characters were unlike anyone I have known. This made it difficult to "read" them and figure out their motivations. So it was hard to know what they were really thinking and why they might have said/done the things they did. The effect was that I found it much harder to try and figure out the truth, which made the book that much more challenging and engaging.
The book was the most expensive kindle book I've downloaded to date (£), but it was well worth it. I'm now reading the Eyes of a Child which is the next in this series because I'm dying to hear more about the further trials and tribulations of these characters.