Thursday, July 29, 2010

Julie's Review: In The Name of Honor

Summary: When Lt. Brian McCarran shoots and kills his superior officer, Capt. Joe D'Abruzzo, at Fort Bolton in northern Virginia soon after they return from a tour in Iraq, 31-year-old Capt. Paul Terry, of the army's JAG Corps, defends the lieutenant. That the accused is the son of legendary Gen. Anthony McCarran, the current army chief of staff, makes it an especially sensitive court-martial. To complicate matters, Joe was married to Kate Gallagher, the general's goddaughter and lifelong friend of Brian and the McCarran family. Sparks fly after Brian's gorgeous older attorney sister, Meg, insists on working with Paul. As always, Patterson chooses to deal with difficult themes, this time PTSD and the war in Iraq. This is superior genre fiction from a writer at the top of his game.

Review: As with most of Richard North Patterson's books he takes a timely issue and weaves it into his novel. The current issue here is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) and the effect is has on soldiers when they return from war. In the Name of Honor makes this important issue front and center but it is weaved in such a way that it becomes an integral part of the family and where they end up.

I found this book to be extremely engrossing, disturbing and compelling. Mr. Patterson has such a gift for storytelling that it's hard not to come to like the characters. Lieutenant McCarran is the center of the story here but for me the main character is Captain Paul Terry who is picked to defend the honorable soldier in a murder trial. The story is told through Paul's eyes and unlike some protagonists, I felt like I could totally believe his viewpoint. He was intelligent, driven and about to leave the army in a month to go on to a big job at a Wall Street firm. Meg McCarran serves as co-counsel and also as Paul's lover. You can pretty much guess that it's not going to end well for Paul or Meg. Meg, like Paul, is closed off from her feelings, except for when it comes to her family.

Patterson is always at his best when the book involves a courtroom trial and In the Name of Honor is no different. This is where the books picks up it's pace and secrets start revealing themselves. You see, Paul thinks that there is something that Brian and Meg aren't telling him about the case, something that could change the outcome as well as if Paul continues to defend Brian. He has a nagging feeling but can't pin point it. In the final pages, this comes to a head and takes a twist/turn that was astonishing and left me a bit squeamish.

The book never truly wraps up the initial question of self-defense or premeditated murder but I don't think it is supposed to. From all the evidence and testimony we are supposed to deduct that for ourselves. Sure the jury comes to a decision but as we know, juries don't always know the full story or are always correct.

I don't know if I particularly liked Brian McCarran but I didn't dislike him either. I don't want to say I pitied him but I sure as heck felt for the trauma he had experienced in Iraq and the after effects of the war.

I would love if Mr. Patterson wrote another book with Captain Paul Terry as the main defense lawyer. He was honest, trustworthy and skilled which you can't say about most defense lawyers. ;)

Mr. Patterson is at his best when he's not preaching political issues and while PTSD is certainly controversial for usage as a defense it's not political. I hope that the US Armed Forces start to recognize PTSD and start to make a concerned effort to help our soldiers.

Final Take: 4.5/5



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