No Safe Place
Let me say right away that this is not a romance. I wanted to review this book for two reasons – I love this author, and the heroine is someone who has had an experience not often depicted in romance novels. Also, Patterson has done an amazing amount of research for this book; he talked to various political bigwigs including former President George Bush. If you like politics from an authentic, almost-insider’s point of view, definitely check this book out.
Kerry Kilcannon is running for President. He carries a legacy from his brother James who was killed by a crazed man while he was running for president (his story is told in Private Screening, a nice background book if you decide to read this one). Kerry is running for the Democratic nomination against an incumbent vice-president who, naturally, is digging for dirt. The volatile secret that Kerry’s opponent unearths concerns Kerry and Lara Costello, a woman Kerry had an affair with 2 years previous to the campaign.
With each new book, Patterson becomes one of my favorite authors. His books just get better and better. In this one, Patterson uses one of my least favorite devices in telling this story – flashbacks. Usually, I hate them because I get involved in the story and connected to the characters right away; if it’s a good book the flashbacks interrupt my connection. Not so with Patterson. His characters have so much depth that the flashbacks illuminate their personae more each time. It’s not just telling the story, it’s involving you in the story.
The major conflict in this book that I think some romance readers will like involves Kerry, his views on abortion, and an incident with Lara. I’m going to go ahead and spill the secret because most readers will be able to figure it out. Several years ago, Lara had an abortion without telling Kerry, which ended their relationship. The important points here, for those readers who believe all women who have abortions are the evil ex-wives or girlfriends, especially if the man doesn’t know, is that Patterson does the opposite. He casts Lara as a strong, intelligent, emotional, flawed heroine. Kerry holds no grudge because he knows how much Lara loved him. Both these characters were ripped apart by the event, yet they are still in love with each other. Their relationship is told in the flashbacks, and the campaign is covered in the present.
Like I said before, though, this is not a romance. There is so much more to this book that I liked than a past romance, I can’t include it all in this review. There is, obviously, a lot of politics involved, and the campaign action rings true (take it from someone whose husband works for a Congressman and has seen many campaigns from the inside). You can tell this man has done his homework. Patterson also keeps the action moving. You’ll want to keep reading to find out more about these people.
The last thing I want to emphasize is the way these characters made me think. Even though the political views of these people are completely opposite of mine, Patterson didn’t make them so extreme that they’ll alienate people. In fact, they made me think quite frequently and I found myself agreeing with their sentiments (I already agreed with some, but this is not a political forum).
I thought this was an intense, sometimes thought-provoking novel, with lots of authentic background research. If political novels appeal to you as a change of pace from romance but you still want a novel with certain romantic elements, try this one.