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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Spire by Richard North Patterson

The Spire by Richard North Patterson

Rating: 3.5 out of 4

ISBN (edition I've read): 9780330456500


Richard North Patterson. This is my first book of his.

I came to pick up this book by its cover. I have always been a person like that. Judging a book by its cover. The mere cover of the book gave a gothic feeling. Frankly, I didn't even know what the word 'Spire' meant. I guess, most you won't even. The author has put a Webster's definition of that word not very far from the start - one page 4, to be precise. That was pretty intelligent. And helpful. It saved my searching for the word in the dictionary. So from what I have heard of the author and the cover of the book and, a little, from the description on the back of the book, I picked it up expecting a thriller. Later, it turned out to be just it. And more.

Mark Darrow - the protagonist - grew up with no much means. Both parents always drunk and abusive, he always wanted to get away from all that but don't know why. Until when Lionel Farr, a professor at Caldwall, the local college, offers a full scholarship to him.


Sixteen years after passing out of the college, Mark is asked by his mentor, Farr, a favour - To be the president of Caldwell. After the years, there had been a incident taken place, which threatened the very existence of the college. Would Mark accept the offer?

Mark would accept to be the President, only out of feeling of indebtedness than anything else. Without the college's help and Farr's, Mark think of a successful life he was living then. But then, is moving back to his former town a good idea? The old town, open old wounds and Mark sees himself getting attracted into a murder of a black female taken place almost sixteen years ago, to which his closest friend, then, is convicted.

It is only after another murder takes place that Mark will know that his life is danger. That is when he comes to doubt that the real murderer of that black female student is still at large. Will Mark be able to detect the murderer? In the process, will he stay alive? Or is it just his friendly instincts that made think beyond the obvious and be terribly wrong about?

My take on the story:
First of all, the story was pretty slow. It starts with the references to Mark standing in the shadow of the Spire - the iconic tower of the college. Then it refers to a black female student, Angela Hall, who was murdered there sixteen years before. Then it gets into past and present of the prologue. At first, I had to re-read the names and the pages to not distract from the story.

The story is divided into three parts and a prologue. With 34 pages of prologue, it is the first book I've read with so big a prologue. In fact, it is the book I've read with biggest prologue, so far. Then the story is divided into three parts, the similarities I didn't care to figure out - namely, The Part Shadow, The Return, The Spire.

I've not much experience with the thrillers. Of course, I've read some like Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. But this one is completely different. They were both educative and fast-paced. But this not at all fast-paced. Very slow, at that. I didn't see a point. Slow-paced and thriller. How can they both come together? Every scene, every character, every dialogue is followed by the detailed description. The facial expression, the mere act of fingers, everything - I mean everything - is explained at utmost detail.

It only after completing the book and reading the acknowledgement part of the book that I came to know that this is what called Psychological Thrillers. It made sense. The details, the slowness, the descriptions gave my goose-bumps when I read them. I could actually picture every act in front of my eyes.

This is the first my psychological thriller after I was told Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. But after reading it. I think Amsterdam stands a chance against this one.

Hats off to the author for such an exquisite work of narration which made the thriller slow, yet razor-sharp!!

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