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First Counsel (original 2001; edition 2001)
by Brad Meltzer
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 044661064X, Mass Market Paperback)Aficionados of the hit TV show The West Wing who are suffering through holiday reruns will jump right into Brad Meltzer's third novel (after The Tenth Justice and Dead Even), which takes readers into the White House office of the president's own law firm and introduces a first daughter whose complex psychological problems jump-start this fast-paced thriller. Michael Garrick loves his job as deputy counsel, but when he falls for Nora Hartson, the president's daughter, the conflict between his professional ethics and his growing love for her puts him right in the middle of a murder plot that may reach all the way to the Oval Office.
Meltzer excels at plotting, and he knows the back corridors, family quarters, and secret tunnels of the executive branch as well as those of the Supreme Court, which he revealed in his first two blockbusters. He's not as skillful at characterization. It's hard to believe that the sociopathic tendencies of people in a president's inner circle--or even his family--would have managed to escape the scrutiny of an FBI investigation during his rise to power. And Nora, in particular, doesn't quite come off as the misguided victim she must be in order to make the rest of the story credible. But that's not a huge quibble; Meltzer manages to make Edgar Simon, Michael's boss, the most interesting White House counsel since John Dean. The First Counsel is a cleverly commercial mix of legal thriller and political chicanery guaranteed to keep you turning pages until Meltzer puts the third branch of government in his sights, too. --Jane Adams
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:26 -0400)
"Shadow is the Secret Service code name for First Daughter Nora Hartson. And when Michael Garrick, a young White House lawyer, begins dating the irresistible Nora, he's instantly spellbound, just like everyone else in her world." "It's a world all of us have heard about but few of us really know. A world where power is an aphrodisiac, your father is the president, your close friends wear earpieces and carry guns, and everyone watches your every move." "Like most, Michael thinks he can handle the pressure. Until, while together late one night, he and Nora witness something they were never meant to see - and become ensnared in a secret agenda, a scheme by a White House insider that includes betrayal and murder.""Suddenly, this young Washington power broker, who just yesterday was out on a dream date, finds himself trusting no one, not even Nora, in a battle to prove his innocence. It's a battle that will shake the walls of the Oval Office to their foundations - and may ultimately cost Michael Garrick his life."--BOOK JACKET.
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