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Protect and Defend

by Richard North Patterson

ISBN 0679450440 / 9780679450443 / 0-679-45044-0
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

Richard North Patterson, whose legal thrillers have won him legions of devoted mystery fans, shows off his superb pacing and narrative gifts as well as his ability to create vividly realized characters in this compelling novel of late-term abortion, parental consent, and the battle over a nominee for chief justice of the Supreme Court. Unlike Patterson's typical courtroom dramas, the name of this game isn't murder; it's the body politic that's bleeding. When newly elected Democratic president Kerry Kilcannon nominates appeals court judge Caroline Masters to the top spot on the court, he knows he'll have a fight on his hands. Leading the opposition is his political rival, MacDonald Gage, the GOP majority leader who owes his soul and career to the Christian right wing. They're suspicious of Masters even before a politically charged case involving a teenager whose parents refuse to allow her to terminate a disastrous pregnancy ends up in her court. More principled than Gage, but equally adamant, is Republican senator Chad Palmer, who, like Masters, harbors his own potentially career-destroying secret.

Masters is an intriguing character, a woman whose judicial integrity, personal privacy, and political ambitions collide when she casts a tie-breaking vote on the constitutionality of the recently enacted Protection of Life bill. Not only young Mary Anne Tierney's future is at stake: so are the reproductive rights of all women, the resilience of the judicial system, and the personal lives of innocent bystanders who will be sacrificed on the altar of the First Amendment--the public's right to know, and the media's right to tell. Moving swiftly between the courts of public opinion and the federal judiciary, from San Francisco to the nation's capital, Patterson tells a mesmerizing story that's been praised by political and legal luminaries such as Mario Cuomo, Barbara Boxer, and Alan Dershowitz. But don't let that stop you. This up-to-date version of Advise and Consent is a provocative read that will resonate with political junkies as well as those who've made bestsellers out of Patterson's more typical genre thrillers. --Jane Adams [via]