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Balance of Power
ISBN 0345450175 / 9780345450173 / 0-345-45017-5
Publisher Random House Publishing Group
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Balance of Power, the third of Richard North Patterson's political thrillers about the election and Presidency of Kerry Kilcannon, is as gripping and savvy as its predecessors. Kilcannon's second marriage, to his long-term fiancée Lara, is marred by the shooting of most of her family by her deranged and abusive brother-in-law who bought an automatic weapon and gut-shredding bullets from an anonymous dealer at a gun fair. Kilcannon had always intended to take on the gun lobby--and this high-profile massacre of his wife's relations gives him an opportunity. What follows is a nightmare of political chicanery, as his opponents are persuaded to ever lower tactics by their gun lobby contributors.
The personal injury suit his surviving sister-in-law brings against manufacturers and lobbyists runs aground on perjury and a politically ambitious judge. His opponents are even prepared to use blackmail--a document surfaces proving that the relationship between Kilcannon and Lara preceded his divorce. This is a terrifying novel, which pictures the currency of American political life as bribery, threats and the grossest of intrusions into private life; it is a vision of how vilely things can perhaps sometimes work, and how intelligence, will and the application of sound legal principles might make them otherwise. --Roz Kaveney [via]