The Spire by Richard North Patterson
A Novel

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Both a razor-sharp thriller and a poignant love story, this twisting tale of psychological suspense is Patterson's most compelling novel in years

Mark Darrow grew up in a small Ohio town with no real advantages beyond his intelligence and athletic ability. But thanks to the intervention of Lionel Farr--a professor at Caldwell, the local college--Darrow became an excellent student and, later, a superb trial lawyer. Now Farr asks his still-youthful protégé for a life-altering favor. An embezzlement scandal has threatened Caldwell's very existence--would Darrow consider becoming its new president?

Darrow accepts, but returning to his alma mater opens old wounds. Sixteen years ago, on the night of his greatest triumph as Caldwell's star quarterback, he discovered the body of a black female student named Angela Hall at the base of the Spire, the bell tower that dominates the leafy campus. His best friend, Steve Tillman, was charged with Angela's murder and ultimately sent to prison for life. But now, even as Darrow begins the daunting task of leading Caldwell, he discovers that the case against his friend left crucial questions unanswered. Despite his new obligations--and his deepening attachment to Farr's beautiful though troubled daughter--Darrow begins his own inquiry into the murder. Soon he becomes convinced that Angela's killer is still at large, but only when another mysterious death occurs does he understand that his own life is at risk.


About Richard North Patterson

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Richard North Patterson studied fiction writing with Jesse Hill Ford at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has written ten novels, including the international bestsellers Degree of Guilt, Eyes of a Child, The Final Judgment, Silent Witness, and No Safe Place. Patterson lives with his wife, Laurie, and their family in San Francisco and on Martha's Vineyard.
Published August 12, 2009 by Henry Holt and Co.. 380 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Crime. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Accepting the job with due reticence, Mark soon finds himself confronted by exactly the sorts of problems you’d expect: a professor who needs an immediate leave to deal with her husband’s suicide, another accused of sexual harassment, a host of alumni who want to know why they should empty their ...

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But, really, even a Grammy-worthy performance would be brought down by a text that features a heroine that is needy, whiny, irrational, and tough to like and the use of the phrase, "he tucked her hair behind her ear" over six times, "he tilted her chin up" and "he searched for her eyes" five time...

Aug 29 2009 | Read Full Review of The Spire: A Novel

Book Reporter

Using his skills as a former prosecutor, Darrow begins to sift through past and present leads that bring him closer to discovering the truth behind both the murder and embezzlement mysteries and unwittingly putting himself directly in the crosshairs of a psychopathic killer.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Spire: A Novel

The Bookbag

Summary: Set on the campus of a small-town US college, what this well-written crime novel lacks in originality is more than offset by the fast pace and excellent story telling that will have you devouring the pages to find out how the story works out.

Nov 28 2012 | Read Full Review of The Spire: A Novel

The Blurb

The first chapter, when Darrow returns to Caldwell and meets with Farr, delivers a less-than-engaging introduction to two of its principal characters: North Patterson’s rather dry, perfunctory style (‘Darrow had come at the urgent request of Dr Lionel Farr, his...

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