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Summary and book reviews of No Safe Place by Richard North Patterson

No Safe Place

by Richard North Patterson

No Safe Place
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  • First Published:
    Aug 1998, 497 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 1999, 513 pages

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Book Summary

North Patterson uses his mastery of characterization and suspense to give us a story of startling realism and originality--an extraordinary novel of presidential politics.

In his first book since the national best-seller Silent Witness, Richard North Patterson uses his mastery of characterization and suspense to give us a story of startling realism and originality--an extraordinary novel of presidential politics.

In the year 2000, Senator Kerry Kilcannon's insurgent campaign against Vice President Dick Mason has come down to the last seven days--the time remaining until the California presidential primary. Whoever wins in California is likely to win the Democratic nomination, a prize that the Vice President is determined to deny Kerry at any cost. And for all the votes and enthusiasm his passion and personal magnetism have gained him, Kerry's problems are formidable.

He is haunted by the tragedy of his older brother, James, a presidential candidate who was assassinated in California twelve years earlier. Kerry has stumbled in his advocacy of abortion rights, and a right-to-life fanatic has pushed this explosive issue to the forefront by murdering three people at a women's clinic. In addition, a journalist for a national newsmagazine is striving to verify the lethal story that, two years ago, while still married, Kerry had a secret love affair with Lara Costello, a reporter assigned to him on Capitol Hill. And now, even more threatening, Kerry is being stalked by the abortion-clinic murderer himself.

This narrative is seamlessly interwoven with scenes from Kerry's past: his youth as the son of a drunken and abusive father; his self-image as the less-gifted younger brother of a brilliant yet distant senator; his reluctant ascension to his brother's place; his poignant romance with Lara Costello. And when Lara is ordered against her will to cover Kerry in California, he is forced once more to evaluate his life, and the terrible cost of his ambition to become President of the United States.

With rare authenticity, Richard North Patterson depicts the world of high-stakes presidential politics on the verge of an explosion that is as dramatic as it is thought-provoking. But No Safe Place is also a story of people at their best and at their worst: their passions, their ideals, their flaws. A novel that will hold the reader enthralled from the first to the last sentence.

Prologue
THE CAMPAIGN
April, the year 2000

Chapter One

At eight in the morning of his last day in Boston, Sean Burke paced out tight circles on the corner of Kenmore Square, waiting for the abortionist, a nine-millimeter semiautomatic handgun hidden in the inside pocket of his army jacket.

Sean knew his enemy from the demonstrations--a slight man with brown wisps of hair and hollow cheekbones, gray soulless eyes that ignored the pickets even when they cried out, "Don't kill me, Mommy and Daddy," in the imagined voice of a fetus. Part of Sean prayed for him to come; that other part, frightened and irresolute, hoped he would not. He encouraged himself by imagining the faces of the children he would save.

He passed forty minutes this way. With each moment, Sean felt more anxious.

And then the man was there, emerging from the subway.

The abortionist's hands were in his coat ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

No Safe Place is my favorite kind of book: one that brings seemingly different characters together and shows that, lo and behold, they are not so different after all. One that illuminates the connections that the characters have, and that, ultimately, we all have... a fascinating story that urges us to remember that unless we are all safe, none of us really can be.  

Media Reviews
San Francisco Chronicle

A powerful account of how twisted the political process has become.

Wall Street Journal

Engrossing...Ambitious and well-written...[An] ethical suspense novel.

The Washington Post

The temptation to match his characters to real players is strong...He does a good job of accurately rendering the political world and fusing high drama with personal drama. . .The pages turn quickly as the moment(s) of truth approach and the madman murderer gets nearer.

Entertainment Weekly - Tom DeHaven

A flawed...lawyer hero is nothing new in a Patterson novel, but what is new this time out is the hero's turf...the campaign trail....uneven, often sluggish...mechanical plotting....Everything fits, but nothing surprises....But for all its failings, No Safe Place is still uncommonly readable.

Chicago Tribune

Riveting...Highly entertaining....Patterson scores big.

San Jose Mercury News

I was 24 when I read Alan Drury's Advise and Consent. Although I've read a fair number of political novels in the intervening 25 years, none ever rose to the standard Drury set. Until now!

Reader Reviews
Jennifer

Fictional Kennedy
This book is about a man who resembles a fictional JFK-type man, acknowledging the similarities in the text. I don't always like political novels, but this book really pulled me in. The main character, Kerry Kilcannon, is idealistic enough to remind ...   Read More

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