This is my review of Fall from Grace by Richard North Patterson.
Adam Blaine returns from Afghanistan for the funeral of best-selling novelist Ben, the charismatic, but cruelly manipulative father who a decade earlier drove him to leave his home in Martha's Vineyard and abandon his law studies for reasons which are not revealed until the end of this twisting yarn. In a final abuse of power, Ben has made his estranged son executor of the will which disinherits his wife Clarice and Adam's brother Teddie, leaving his estate to the beautiful former actress Carla.
The author creates an intriguing situation and a range of interesting characters, although his world of predominantly rich, gifted, boozy, somewhat two-dimensional people with a common style of speech, by turns corny or brittle, palls at times. The plot proves somewhat skimpy, and I was aware of the frequent repetition of key points, which I suppose helps to drum them in. This may be a result of North Patterson's preoccupation with legal arguments, which are in fact his strongest point. I could not help noticing sentences which are occasionally slipshod or tending towards inflamed purple prose. Despite these reservations, I found this for the most part "a good read" of the kind that gives you a guilty pleasure.
"Fall from Grace" is the second part of a trilogy about the Blaine family, although I believe it was published first. I started with "Loss of Innocence" , which portrays Ben as a talented but poor and embittered young man drawn albeit with cynicism to Clarice's world of privilege and power. I would recommend reading the series in this chronological order.
"Fall from Grace" may not be great literature, but North Patterson does this kind of dysfunctional family thriller well. I shall read the final part of the trilogy.