Set in Alabama, society lawyer Adam Shaw is married to the beautiful Kris Ann who has bound him to a life he despises and her father, Roland Cade, ...Show synopsisSet in Alabama, society lawyer Adam Shaw is married to the beautiful Kris Ann who has bound him to a life he despises and her father, Roland Cade, his senior partner and rival. When Shaw discovers Lydia Cantwell (a prominent society woman and close friend of Kris Ann and Cade) brutally murdered, his life takes on a new focus as he battles to clear Henry Cantwell of the charge of murder. In doing so, he digs up secrets from Lydia's past that will endanger his career, his marriage and his own well-being. It becomes increasingly evident that Lydia's death is inextricably linked to Shaw's own past and future.Hide synopsis
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Richard North Patterson is a powerful storyteller, and he, as Faulkner said of Hemingway, will send no one running to consult a dictionary--this not not necessarily a bad thing, but does not facilaitate the richness of the language. The novel's protagonist is an ethical lawyer (not always, if most often, an oxymoron), Adam Shaw, is involved with a group of Southerners who are not quite on the up and up (a typical malady found mostly in ther South, if we are to believe many writers). Patterson weaves, quite cleverly, a twisted tale of love, greed, and betrayal. However, too clever by half, he misleads the reader down several rocky paths, which is the annoying habit of medicore mystery writers. (It should be obvious why the females of the species always turn out to be the brilliant writers of the genre.) If Patterson tells a good story, what turned me off about The Outside Man? He got so tangled in his own web that he spent the last four or five pages of this novel (necessarily) tying it together, which was either an example of extreme laziness (a writer's trait that I share) or just couldn't figure out a logically graceful way to end it. It spoiled the reading experience for me, because I don't like being told how or what to think.
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