Dark Lady [NOOK Book]


In Dark Lady, Richard North Patterson displays the mastery of setting, psychology, and story that makes him unique among writers of suspense, and one of today's most original and enthralling novelists.

In Steelton, a struggling Midwestern city on the cusp of an economic turnaround, two prominent men are found dead within days of each other. One is Tommy Fielding, a senior officer of the company building a new baseball stadium, the city's hope ...

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Dark Lady

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In Dark Lady, Richard North Patterson displays the mastery of setting, psychology, and story that makes him unique among writers of suspense, and one of today's most original and enthralling novelists.

In Steelton, a struggling Midwestern city on the cusp of an economic turnaround, two prominent men are found dead within days of each other. One is Tommy Fielding, a senior officer of the company building a new baseball stadium, the city's hope for the future. The other is Jack Novak, the local drug dealers' attorney of choice. Fielding's death with a prostitute, from an overdose of heroin, seems accidental; Novak is apparently the victim of a ritual murder. But in each case the character of the dead man seems contradicted by the particulars of his death. Coincidence or connection?

The question falls to Assistant County Prosecutor Stella Marz. Despite a traumatic breach with her alcoholic and embittered father, she has risen from a working-class background to become head of the prosecutor's homicide unit. A driven woman, she is called the Dark Lady by defense lawyers for her relentless, sometimes ruthless, style: in seven years only one case has gotten away from her, and only because the defendant took his own life. She has earned every inch of both her official and her off-the-record titles, and recently she's decided to go after another: to become the first woman elected Prosecutor of Erie County. But that was before the brutal murder of her ex-lover—Jack Novak.

Novak's death leads her into a labyrinth where her personal and professional lives become dangerously intertwined. There is the possibility that Novak fixed drug cases for the city'scrime lord, Vincent Moro, with the help of law enforcement personnel, and perhaps with someone in Stella's own office . . . the bitter mayoral race which threatens to undermine her own ambitions . . . her attraction to a colleague who may not be what he seems . . . the lingering, complicated effects of her painful affair with Novak . . . the growing certainty that she is being watched and followed. Making her way through a maze of corruption, deceit, and greed, trusting no one, Stella comes to believe that the search for the truth involves the bleak history of Steelton itself—a history that now endangers her future, and perhaps her life.

For his uncanny dialogue, subtle delineation of character, and hypnotic narrative, critics have compared Richard North Patterson to John O'Hara and Dashiell Hammett. Now, in the character of the Dark Lady, he has created a woman as fascinating as her world is haunting. Dark Lady is his signature work.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Two very different figures dominate the landscape of Richard North Patterson's latest — and grimmest — political/legal thriller, Dark Lady. One is Stella Marz, an ambitious, driven deputy prosecutor with a troubled past, an unsatisfactory personal life, and nascent political aspirations. The other — itself virtually a character in the novel — is the fictional city of Steelton, an emblematic American community with a full complement of contemporary social ills: crime, drug abuse, racial tensions, economic difficulties, and deep-seated, endemic corruption.

As the novel opens, Steelton is in the midst of an election year. Stella, the Dark Lady of the title, is hoping to use her pristine professional record — she has not lost a case in more than six years — to transform herself into a viable candidate for chief prosecutor of Erie County. To succeed — to become the first female prosecutor in the county's history — she must secure the support of current Chief Prosecutor Arthur Bright, who is himself hoping to become the first black mayor in the city's history, and who is waging an uphill campaign against a solidly entrenched incumbent, Thomas Krajek.

The central issue of the mayoral campaign — the issue around which virtually everything that happens in this novel ultimately revolves — concerns the construction of a $275 million baseball stadium, a project that is universally referred to as "Steelton 2000." The issue that divides the candidates is fundamental. Is Steelton 2000, as Krajek claims, the tangible symbol of a new erainSteelton history, a source of jobs, taxes, and economic opportunities? Or does it represent another kind of symbol: of greed, profiteering, and political and corporate malfeasance? Stella herself wants very much to believe that the new stadium will provide the key to the revitalization of Steelton. Unfortunately, her investigation into a pair of seemingly unrelated murders — murders that stand at the heart of Dark Lady's convoluted plot — leads her to an inescapable conclusion: that the entire project has been compromised by the corrupt ambitions of its own central supporters.

The first of the two murder victims is Tommy Fielding, project manager for Steelton 2000. Fielding, together with a prostitute and long-term drug addict named Tina Welsh, is found dead of a massive heroin overdose. The circumstances of his death are so radically out of character that no one who knew him can accept them at face value. The second murder victim is Jack Novak, a lawyer who built a lucrative career defending the interests of Steelton's leading drug dealers. Novak — who, many years before, had been Stella Marz's lover — is found castrated and hanging from a clothes hook in his own bedroom, in a grotesque parody of the rituals of autoerotic asphyxiation.

Stella's investigation reveals unexpected connections between these two deaths. As she unearths the details of Jack Novak's corrupt, increasingly decadent career — a process that revives some painful personal memories of her own — she follows a convoluted paper trail that leads, in time, from Jack Novak to Steelton 2000, and from Steelton 2000 to the shadowy domain of Vincent Moro, who has dominated the criminal underworld of Steelton for more than a generation. Along the way, she uncovers another series of unexpected connections that implicate a number of the city's leading citizens, all of whom are caught up, willingly or not, in an elaborate, long-term scheme that centers around a single enormous question: Who will control the economic future of Steelton?

Patterson, it must be said, is not an elegant stylist. He writes what might be termed a lawyer's prose: brisk, efficient, frequently lacking in subtlety or nuance. But there is a cumulative, Dreiser-like power in this novel that is difficult to ignore, a power that has its basis in Patterson's thorough, practical understanding of the machinery of urban politics; in his detailed, highly convincing sense of place; and in his clear-eyed view of the various temptations — sexual, financial, political — that complicate the lives of so many of his characters. The result is a novel that gradually, inexorably asserts its hold on us and leaves a bitter but unmistakable aftertaste behind.

—Bill Sheehan

Deirdre Donahue
Stella makes Dark Lady shine.
USA Today
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Patterson's signature style of crime suspense depends heavily on the terse descriptive passages he uses to render settings and characters. This makes his work adapt especially well to audio, since the listener is constantly being told exactly what's going on--in adjective-laden language that has modern-day colorings of film noir and Raymond Chandler. Accordingly, all eight of Patterson's previous novels are also available from Random House AudioBooks. Stella Marz is a politically ambitious Assistant County Prosecutor in Steelton, an American rust-belt city plagued by unemployment, racial division and rampant local corruption. Young, beautiful and forthright, Stella has earned the nickname "Dark Lady" as a ruthless law-woman. But she meets her match when she's assigned to investigate the grisly murder of her own ex-lover, an attorney for the town's drug dealers. Along the way, plenty of sordid sexual and violent acts are detailed, making for a sustained mood of grimy titillation. Kalember's of TV's Sisters and thirtysomething reading is crisply enunciated and tactfully understated. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover. Also available unabridged and on CD. Sept. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Patterson (No Safe Place) deftly combines his knack for spellbinding legal drama and his recent interest in the world of politics. Stella Marz is the assistant county prosecutor in a struggling Midwestern city. Her boss is running for mayor, and Stella hopes to be elected to his job. First, however, she must investigate the deaths of two prominent men--the project manager for the construction of a new baseball stadium and the city's leading defender of drug cases. Neither is clearly murder, but the circumstances are horrific and unusual, involving heroin and kinky sex. Stella's investigation quickly becomes a factor in the mayoral race, and the candidates, their backers, and other ambitious county employees all play roles in Stella's progress. The deeper she goes, the more signs of corruption she finds, and the less she can trust her friends, her co-workers, and even herself. As in all of Patterson's books, the plot's twists and turns build to an unexpected conclusion. Patterson has peopled this very believable novel with fascinating characters, and his understanding of political subtleties is superb. Highly recommended. [Literary Guild main selection.]--Katherine E.A. Sorci, IIT Research Inst., Annapolis, MD Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Entertainment Weekly
Kinky sex, multiple murders, soap opera, city politics—a sturdy frame, as good and as potentially dramatic as anything Patterson has given us before. Yet once the premise and all of the players are in position, things turn clunky, then fall apart. Bad enough that the prose is cliched and the dialogue flavorless, but you quickly get a sinking feeling that the author is just going through the motions, narrating without any passion for his material, or even much interest. And heck, if he doesn't believe what he's saying, why should we?...

Give Patterson this: Despite all the tired hookum this time, and a finale that lumbers along for nearly a hundred pages, he doesn't fudge when it comes to his novel's undergirding facts. Dark Lady is at its best during its frequent, if long-winded, tutorials on the poli-sci of stadium building. But that's not enough to keep those of us outside the construction industry glued to the page.
—September 3, 1999

Kirkus Reviews
Patterson, always on the lookout for real-life issues to hang his big-ticket thrillers on, has found another one•almost•in the hotly contested new baseball stadium to be built in Pittsburgh with public financing. It's clear from the beginning that the new stadium defines the mayoral race in Steelton, Patterson's fictionalized Pittsburgh. Incumbent mayor Tom Krajek flourishes figures about minority contractors and visions of civic revitalization to rally support for Steelton 2000; his opponent, Erie County prosecutor Arthur Bright, ridicules Steelton 2000 as welfare for the rich•especially for Peter Hall, the dynastic principal owner of the Blues. And it's almost equally clear that the stadium is connected in some way to the unsavory deaths of Tommy Fielding, project supervisor for Steelton 2000, and nonpareil drug attorney Jack Novak. What's not clear is just what the connection is. Enter Stella Marz, the Dark Lady of Arthur Bright's homicide unit, who hopes to run for prosecutor herself if Arthur's mayoral bid succeeds•and if her unit can find the people responsible for these latest high-profile murders. But Stella's two goals are hopelessly at odds. Her ability to gather information linking Tommy, well-protected by City Hall and that other Hall, and Jack, her ex-boss and ex-lover, to legendary crime overlord Vincent Moro is constantly undermined by her former ties to Jack, whom she left when she realized how nasty his sexual proclivities were, and her current ties to Arthur. Meantime, she can't trust any of her likeliest allies, from Arthur to doughty Chief of Detectives Nathaniel Dance to Michael Del Corso, the whiz-kid county attorney who knows too much about Steelton 2000 forcomfort•or perhaps for romance. Dense, knotty, and earnest, though the monstrous stadium isn't quite the high-concept hook Patterson (No Safe Place, 1998, etc.) would need to pull it all together. What he offers instead is a familiar brew of kinky sex, political fixes, and twenty channels of nonstop Vincent Moro. (Literary Guild main selection)
From the Publisher

—San Francisco Chronicle

"[A] COMPLEX TALE OF PERSONAL, POLITICAL, AND CRIMINAL BETRAYALS . . . Dark Lady not only keeps you in suspense; it gives you plenty of social and moral questions to ponder."
—The Wall Street Journal

—USA Today

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307833891
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/16/2013
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 73,359
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Richard North Patterson has written a number of novels including the international bestsellers, Degree of Guilt, Eyes of a Child, The Final Judgement, Silent Witness, No Safe Place, Dark Lady and Protect and Defend. His novels have won the Edgar Allan Poe Award and the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He and his wife, Laurie, live with their family in San Francisco and on Martha's Vineyard.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

In the moments before the brutal murder of Jack Novak ended what she later thought of as her time of innocence, Assistant County Prosecutor Stella Marz gazed down at the waterfront of her native city, Steelton.

At thirty-eight, Stella would not have called herself an innocent. Nor was the view from her corner office one that lightened her heart. The afternoon sky was a close, sunless cobalt, typical of Steelton in winter. The sludge-gray Onandaga River divided the city as it met Lake Erie beneath a steel bridge: the valley carved by the river was a treeless expanse of railroad tracks, boxcars, refineries, cranes, chemical plants, and, looming over all of this, the smokestacks of the steel mills--squat, black, and enormous--on which Steelton's existence had once depended. From early childhood, Stella could remember the stench of mill smoke, the stain left on the white blouse of her school uniform drying on her mother's clothesline; from her time in night law school, she recalled the evening that the river had exploded in a stunning instant of spontaneous combustion caused by chemical waste and petroleum derivatives, the flames which climbed five stories high against the darkness. Between these two moments--the apogee of the mills and the explosion of the river--lay the story of a city and its decline.

By heritage, Stella herself was part of this story. The mills had boomed after the Civil War, manned by the earliest wave of immigrants--Germans and British, Welsh and Irish--who, in the early 1870s, had worked fourteen hours a day, six days a week. Their weekly pay was $11.50; in 1874, years of seething resentment ignited a strike, with angry workers demanding twenty-five cents more a week. The leading owner, Amasa Hall, shut down his mills, informing the strikers that, upon reopening, he would give jobs only to those who agreed to a fifty-cent cut. When the strikers refused, Hall boarded his yacht and embarked on a cruise around the world.

Hall stopped at Danzig, then a Polish seaport on the Baltic. He advertised extensively for young workers, offering the kingly wage of $7.25 a week and free transport to America. The resulting wave of Polish strikebreakers--poor, hardworking, Roman Catholic, and largely illiterate--had included Stella's great-grandfather, Carol Marzewski. It was on their backs that Amasa Hall had, quite systematically, undercut and eventually wiped out the other steel producers in the area, acquiring their mills and near-total sway over the region's steel industry. And it was the slow, inexorable decline of those same mills into sputtering obsolescence which had left Stella's father, Armin Marz, unemployed and bitter.

Recalling the flames which had leaped from the Onandaga, a brilliant orange-blue against the night sky, had reminded Stella of another memory from childhood, the East Side riots. Just as the West Side of Steelton was home to European immigrants--the first wave had been joined by Italians, Russians, Poles, Slovaks, and Austro-Hungarians--so the city's industry had drawn a later influx of migrants from the American South, the descendants of former slaves, to the eastern side of the Onandaga. But these newcomers were less welcomed, by employers or the heretofore all-white labor force. Stella could not remember a time in her old neighborhood, Warszawa, when the black interlopers were not viewed with suspicion and contempt; the fiery explosion of the East Side into riots in the sixties--three days of arson and shootouts with police--had helped convert this into fear and hatred. A last trickle of nonwhites--Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Koreans, Haitians, Chinese, and Vietnamese--felt welcome, if at all, only on the impoverished East Side. And so the split symbolized by the Onandaga hardened, and racial politics became as natural to Steelton as breathing polluted air.

This divide, too, shadowed Stella's thoughts. In the last six years, she had won every case but one--a hung jury following the murder trial of a high school coach who had made one of his students pregnant and who, devastated by Stella's particularly ruthless cross-examination, had thereafter committed suicide. It was this which had led a courtroom deputy to give Stella a nickname which now enjoyed wide currency among the criminal defense bar: the Dark Lady. But only recently had they become aware of her ambition, long nurtured, to become the first woman elected Prosecutor of Erie County.

Though this was a daunting task, it was by no means impossible. Stella was a daughter of the West Side, a young woman her neighborhood was proud of--an honors student who had worked through college and law school; had remained an observant Catholic; had not turned her back on Steelton and its problems, as had so many of her generation; had already become head of her office's homicide unit. Stella was not a vain woman, and had always seen herself with objectivity: though she lacked the gifts for bonhomie and self-promotion natural to many politicians, she was articulate, truthful, and genuinely concerned with making her office, and her city, better. She was attractive enough without being threatening to other women, with a tangle of thick brown hair; pale skin; a broad face with a cleft chin and somewhat exotic brown eyes, a hint of Eurasia which Stella privately considered her best feature; a sturdy build which she managed to keep trim through relentless exercise and attention to diet, yet another facet of the self-discipline which had been hammered into her at home and school. And if there were no husband or children to soften the image of an all-business prosecutor or, Stella thought ruefully, her deepening sense of solitude, at least there was no one to object or to say, as Armin Marz might, had he not lost the gifts of memory and reason, that she was reaching above herself.

But her biggest problem, Stella knew, was not that she was a woman. It was as clear to her as the river which divided her city: she was a white ethnic with no base on the black East Side. And with that, her thoughts, and her gaze, moved to the most hopeful, most problematic, aspect of the cityscape before her--the steel skeleton of the baseball stadium Mayor Krajek had labeled Steelton 2000.
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Interviews & Essays

On Wednesday, August 25th, bn.com welcomed author Richard North Patterson to discuss his latest novel, DARK LADY.

Moderator: Welcome, Richard North Patterson! We are so pleased that you could join us to discuss your work and especially your latest thriller, DARK LADY. How are you tonight?

Richard North Patterson: I am terrific!

Jennie from New York, NY: I really like the fact that you raise the issue of urban revitalization in DARK LADY. Which of your characters do you agree with: Do you feel that the huge construction of a stadium or other entertainment complex helps out cities in distress, or do you feel such things waste money that should be spent on law enforcement, education, and social programs?

Richard North Patterson: First of all, I think this is a great question. I have a bottom line. I think of balance: If it is not an utter stripping of urban resources, then having major league sports is part of the identity of a city. For example, the image of Cleveland has gone from a river that catches fire because of pollution to the renewed areas surrounding Jacobs Field. It is hard to put a price on that. It means that younger people are living downtown and that Cleveland is on the map again for corporate relocation. In other words, it takes on a symbolic importance that transcends economic importance. On the other hand, it is clear that most of the arguments trumpeting near-term and dramatic benefits don't stand up to close scrutiny. First, the expenses are greater. For example, increased expenses for police, transportation, and road access aren't things that one thinks about, yet they cost millions. And typically taxpayers foot the bill, which means that schools, law enforcement, and social services all suffer. I admire cities that have looked at their resources and have just said that they will not follow the siren song of being "big league" by helping wealthy owners become richer. The long-term benefits of sports in the right situation, however, have been recently demonstrated by Cleveland. In the end, what is really missing is an honest dialogue. Stadium proponents lie about the economic benefits, and opponents tends to ignore the long-term and psychic benefits. It is so much like our politics: too oversimplified and not honest enough.

Peter from Chicago, IL: How did your extensive experience in the law profession affect your perspective as a writer? What did you gain from it and would you ever practice law again?

Richard North Patterson: First, I love the law, but I will never practice again. I have the rare opportunity to do self-assigned work and go wherever my interests or passions take me. But I owe my writing career to having been a lawyer. It gave me a subject that is of fundamental social importance: for better or worse many of the great political and social controversies wind up in a courtroom. It taught me about necessity. It taught me to be a student of human nature. It made me a storyteller; a good lawyer has to organize messy facts into a coherent and persuasive narrative to persuade a jury. If you take those two elements -- storytelling and an interest in people -- you have many tools to apply to the business of writing novels. Finally, I had to do a lot of legal writing. Contrary to popular belief, the best legal writing is clear and cogent. After all, lawyers write for America's most tired and cynical audience -- judges and law clerks -- and if it is not clear and persuasive, they may very well tune you out.

Karen from California: I just started DARK LADY last night, and I love it already! My favorite of all time is SILENT WITNESS, and I wonder whether you would ever plan on a sequel to that book -- or any other title for that matter?

Richard North Patterson: I never say never, and I enjoyed Tony Lord immensely, but the very reason that I -- and it seems you -- enjoyed the SILENT WITNESS experience is that we were able to learn so much about Tony as a person. I like to delve into people's lives and how their past affects how they behave in the present. But that means in any common book I have told a great deal of their story, so I tend to move on and develop secondary characters more fully, as I am doing with Stella Marz in DARK LADY. But my characters do tend to show up again over time. For example, I am working on a new book in which Kerry Kilcannon from NO SAFE PLACE and Caroline Masters from FINAL JUDGMENT are both principal characters. I think it will be fun to get them together. I suspect this book will be out in early 2001. I haven't started writing it yet.

Steve from Connecticut: I love your characterizations. How do you get the sense of melancholy and pain into your characters? Because even the "happiest" people battle with these "private" issues.

Richard North Patterson: That is a great question. Someone once said to me that she couldn't write fiction because she didn't want to think about unpleasant things. In a way, writing fiction is like going to a psychiatrist: The real insights are purchased at the cost of discomfort or even pain. Sometimes that involves facing an unpleasant personal experience. We have all had difficulty with parents and are forced to think about how they have affected our lives. We have all had relationships with friends or lovers that, to some extent, are unhealthy and harmful. We have all failed. If we have kids, we try always to do the best we can. It is not fun to face this, but it is a universal part of the human condition; and this knowledge enriches our writing. There are many experiences I have not had. I have written about domestic violence and mistreatment of children. yet I have never experienced that in my own life. But I feel it is terribly important to deal with these subjects, so I try to open my mind and imagination. I go out and interview people who have had the experience or people who have dealt personally or professional with those who have. This is the only way that I can pay proper respect to their experience and give my readers the authentic sense of reality that they deserve.

Dale from Springfield, OH: I enjoyed your book and wonder why you chose to tell your tale through the voice of a woman?

Richard North Patterson: Oh boy! First, women are 50 percent of the population. Later on this evening, my wife and I are having dessert with a U.S. senator who is a woman. A few minutes ago Laurie asked me how many of the 100 U.S. senators are women. We came up with 8 -- 8 percent of the U.S. Senate. That statistic alone suggests the continuing importance of gender as an issue in our society and, even now, gender is a determinate of opportunity. So it is intriguing in itself to deal with an ambitious woman in a tough situation who, on top of personal challenges, has to deal with the distinctive challenges facing a woman who runs for office in which people expect "toughness." But my interest in the subject is much broader. I came to adulthood in the 1960s, so one of the great benefits was having been young when the woman's movement first gained real power. For the first time, men and woman were given the opportunity, even the necessity, of speaking with each other honestly about everything from sex to career to what kind of partnership they expected in marriage to raising children and -- most fundamentally -- to overcoming all the assumptions about gender that their parents raised them with. Certainly, the purpose of the women's movement was not to make me a better writer, but it gave me the chance to rethink the relations between men and women. And if a man can't write, or at least attempt to write, a complex and persuasive woman character, he is not only limited as a writer, he's also limited as a person. I have never believed that you have to be a Jew to write about the Holocaust or African American to write about racial injustice, and to believe that is essentially to believe that we have no hope to improve as people or as a society. I refuse to accept that.

Brady from Nevada: I know that you do pretty extensive research for your books. Where did your research for DARK LADY take you?

Richard North Patterson: All sorts of places: the economics of baseball, the complexities and challenges of being an organized-crime boss, the difficulties of being a woman running for prosecutor in a racially divided city, and, frankly, some of the darker corners of sex. In terms of categories, I talked to women who have run for office, homicide detectives, experts in deviant behavior, people who have put together baseball stadiums, people who have built them, people who have opposed them, and people who gave me a sense of how a corrupt and economically depressed city might really work at various levels. My early reviews have been, to my great pleasure, terrific, and -- aside from compliments about my characters -- I take great pleasure in the comments that my imaginary American city seems as if it really exists. I don't think you can fool readers for long. In the end, they sense whether they are getting an authentic experience or not. That in itself makes the research worthwhile.

Kate from New York: USA Today reports that your new book is on President Clinton's must-read list. Are you friendly with the Clintons?

Richard North Patterson: Yes. First of all, whatever the controversy that surrounds them, I feel that in public policy they have spoken to the best in us, to our more generous impulses rather than our more narrow ones. That is the reason that they have survived the difficulties of their public life. As it happens, the President, who is a voracious reader, reads my books, and he has been nice enough to help me with the research on my latest book that, while free-standing, follows from the events of NO SAFE PLACE. As a writer, I am a nonpartisan, which is to say that although I have deeply held political beliefs, I am an appreciator of quality in people. By any standard, Bill and Hillary Clinton are extraordinary people, I should mention that Laurie and I are very close to George and Barbara Bush, who set an example of grace, dignity, and ability that transcends partisan politics. Other friends I deeply admire are Bill Cohen, the secretary of defense, and John McCain, the war hero and senator from Arizona. Both helped me with my research for NO SAFE PLACE and are valued friends. One of the privileges of being a writer is the opportunity to meet people who have achieved extraordinary things. I am a great admirer of people who live their lives with a purpose and a vision of doing the best they can. My friends in politics certainly are in an extraordinarily demanding business. Finally, for balance, I should add that one of Laurie's cherished new friends is Senator Barbara Boxer, who has often sailed against the tide by being a liberal Democrat in the rather conservative state of California. She, too, has shown tremendous courage and forthrightness. We sometimes wonder what would happen if we had all our Republican and Democratic friends in for dinner, but we admire them all.

Scott from Los Angeles, CA: I understand that your research for NO SAFE PLACE took you on the campaign trail with the Republicans, Bob Dole and the Bushes. How effective did you find the presidential campaign process? What are your biggest observations and criticisms? Who do you expect to win the next election? Who will you vote for?

Richard North Patterson: I finally been asked a question I will chicken out on. For one thing, both George W. Bush and John McCain are friends of mine, and in my cowardly way, I don't way to give away any Democrats either. Fortunately for me, the truth is that I am a registered Independent. My ultimate interest is in seeing both parties put up quality people who speak to the best interests of this country. Just in case you think that I am about to lapse into hopeless bromides, I will give you a stance on where I stand on issues. I admire people of faith, but I think the Christian Right defines our common humanity far too narrowly. I believe in gun control. I believe in gay rights. I believe that we are still a society in which the best deal is to be a white male. As to the political process, until we reform the way we finance political campaigns, especially soft money, I don't think we will be able to make reforms in education, gun control, the explosion of litigation, or many of the other issues we need to address. Finally, I learned a lot from the campaign, but one issue alone comes to mind: the idea that we are excessively dwelling on the personal lives of public figures. There are, for example, respectable arguments on both sides of the current controversy surrounding Governor Bush, but I think that, by drawing a line, he is serving an important interest -- seeking a higher level of civility in politics. For the same reason, I was very grateful that Bill Clinton stood up to the impeachment attack, regardless of how one might feel about the actions that brought it about. The more people are destroyed by personal issues, the nastier our politics will get, and the more good men and women will be driven from public life. I suppose it is easier to write an article about sex and drugs than about Social Security, but we should worry less about the personal lives of politicians and more about political and economic issues.

Moderator: Will you recommend three books that you have read recently and enjoyed?

Richard North Patterson: I am reading ITALIAN FEVER by Valerie Martin. I think she is very talented and has a great eye. People who like big, luxurious novels should try BY LOVE POSSESSED by James Gould Cozzens, a wonderful novel set in the 1950s. I am sure with any luck bn.com can find it for you. The third book I recommend is JUST REVENGE by my friend Alan Dershowitz. It is a moral page-turner about when the Holocuast justifies acts of reprisal, and against whom.

Moderator: Do you have any final comments for the online audience?

Richard North Patterson: Just that this is my tenth book and I feel extraordinarily lucky to have an audience of readers who care about and enjoy what I do. You are the people I am writing for, and I deeply appreciate you.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

    Moon rise to all clan cats

    Beware the moon and sun(moonrise and sunset)!!!!>:(

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    Rainfall TO ALL

    The young shecat watched the clan through the bushes, her eyes flickering nervously. She had just escaped from Bloodclan and was a bit too aware that their scent was still on her. She moved a bit to the left to see the leader, but instead a thorn jammed into her pelt. "Eep!" She blurted and fell face first in the clearing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2014


    She pads to poolclan territory (here just far away.) To hunt.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2014


    May i join?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014


    Cool but gtgtb ttyl~Heronsoul

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014


    Seeing that there was no danger, her fur flattened.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014


    Gtgtbttyl. Posted at three a.m. central

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2014



    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2014

    Fallenpaw to Loststar

    That res is being used already right? :S

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014


    Is brought in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014

    A beaten up she

    Passed out near the edge of the canp

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014


    Is bored

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014


    A stunning shekit pads into camp. She looks around and sees many kits and cats. May she join.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2014


    The tortoiseshell purred,"Thank you, Amberstar. I will do my very best," ~Petalstorm

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014


    She stares, bewildered, at RainFall. She decided to make her announcement, then deal with her. "Yesterday, ThunderPaw joined us. She does not have a mentor, so Imperialecho will be her mentor." She bounds down and motions to RainFall. "C'mon. Camp is res 2."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014

    Stripedkit to Rustkit

    Lookes at Rustkit and lets out a welcoming meow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2014

    AutumnLeaf to Poppypaw


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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2014


    Music-- she pants and clamps her teeth onto the stick<p>Buck--paces

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2014


    She padded there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014

    Is your leader here?

    The Silver and black cat asked

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews

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