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Balance of Power [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Richard North Patterson , Patricia Kalember
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 14 2003
Richard North Patterson’s masterful portrayals of law and politics at the apex of power have made him one of our most important writers of popular fiction. Combining a compelling narrative, exhaustive research, and a sophisticated grasp of contemporary society, his bestselling novels bring explosive social problems to vivid life through characters who are richly imagined and intensely real. Now in Balance of Power Patterson confronts one of America’s most inflammatory issues–the terrible toll of gun violence.

President Kerry Kilcannon and his fiancée, television journalist Lara Costello, have at last decided to marry. But their wedding is followed by a massacre of innocents in a lethal burst of gunfire, challenging their marriage and his presidency in ways so shattering and indelibly personal that Kilcannon vows to eradicate gun violence and crush the most powerful lobby in Washington–the Sons of the Second Amendment (SSA).

Allied with the President’s most determined rival, the resourceful and relentless Senate Majority Leader Frank Fasano, the SSA declares all-out war on Kerry Kilcannon, deploying its arsenal of money, intimidation, and secret dealings to eviscerate Kilcannon’s crusade–and, it hopes, destroy his presidency. This ignites a high-stakes game of politics and legal maneuvering in the Senate, the courtroom, and across the country, which the charismatic but untested young President is determined to win at any cost. But in the incendiary clash over gun violence and gun rights, the cost to both Kilcannons may be even higher than he imagined.

And others in the crossfire may also pay the price: the idealistic lawyer who has taken on the gun industry; the embattled CEO of America’s leading gun maker; the war-hero senator caught between conflicting ambitions; the female senator whose career is at risk; and the grief-stricken young woman fighting to emerge from the shadow of her sister, the First Lady.

The insidious ways money corrodes democracy and corrupts elected officials . . . the visceral debate between gun-rights and gun-control advocates . . . the bitter legal conflict between gun companies and the victims of gun violence . . . a ratings-driven media that both manipulates and is manipulated–Richard North Patterson weaves these engrossing themes into an epic novel that moves us with its force, passion, and authority.

From the Hardcover edition.

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From Amazon

Balance of Power, the third of Richard North Patterson's political thrillers about the election and Presidency of Kerry Kilcannon, is as gripping and savvy as its predecessors. Kilcannon's second marriage, to his long-term fiancée Lara, is marred by the shooting of most of her family by her deranged and abusive brother-in-law who bought an automatic weapon and gut-shredding bullets from an anonymous dealer at a gun fair. Kilcannon had always intended to take on the gun lobby--and this high-profile massacre of his wife's relations gives him an opportunity. What follows is a nightmare of political chicanery, as his opponents are persuaded to ever lower tactics by their gun lobby contributors.

The personal injury suit his surviving sister-in-law brings against manufacturers and lobbyists runs aground on perjury and a politically ambitious judge. His opponents are even prepared to use blackmail--a document surfaces proving that the relationship between Kilcannon and Lara preceded his divorce. This is a terrifying novel, which pictures the currency of American political life as bribery, threats and the grossest of intrusions into private life; it is a vision of how vilely things can perhaps sometimes work, and how intelligence, will and the application of sound legal principles might make them otherwise. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Gun control and tort reform are the thorny issues tackled in this political drama, with Patterson hero Kerry Kilcannon ensconced in the White House and planning his marriage to former television journalist Lara Costello. Kilcannon (last glimpsed in Protect and Defend) has been president for less than a year when he is caught up in a potentially disastrous domestic crisis. Lara's sister, Joan, is brutally beaten by her husband, John Bowden, and Kerry, who rescued his own mother from his violent father, lets emotion get the better of him, asking the California DA to intervene. Meanwhile, in the political arena, Kerry is battling an NRA-type group called Sons of the Second Amendment (SSA). When the fuse Kerry lit under John Bowden explodes predictably (Bowden goes on a killing spree in an airport while the Kilcannons are away on their honeymoon), Kerry sees red and goes after the manufacturer of the gun Bowden used. The gun lobby circles wagons around the SSA and pushes a tort-reform bill called the Civil Justice Reform Act, which protects the manufacturers of any "products" from litigation by victims of criminals. Congress kowtows to America's captains of industry, with guns as the focal point: "gun immunity hung in the balance of power between the President and the senator who intended to displace him." This is a Democratic nightmare scenario, and the novel paints a grim picture of the challenges facing gun-control advocates. Patterson is known for his intricate law-and-politics-laced crime fiction, but lawmaking trumps suspense in this novel and may leave his fans wanting for more. Patterson is a strong supporter of gun control-as he notes in an afterword-and his passion is evident here. Readers seeking pure entertainment may be disappointed, but those with the patience to follow the involved plot will learn much about gun policy debate.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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FEELING THE GUN AGAINST THE NAPE OF HER NECK, Joan Bowden froze. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Furiously political instalment in his series Feb. 15 2004
Richard North Patterson's "Balance of Power" continues his series featuring the young Democratic President Kerry Kilcannon. As with the other entries in this series, it contains a plot almost guaranteed to fire political controversy.
Kilcannon, you see, is written as a man driven by principle. Earlier, it was this principle that made him force through the confirmation of Caroline Masters to the US Supreme Court even though she decided in favour of abortion in a landmark case. This time around, the issue is gun control.
As Patterson frequently reminds his readers, Kilcannon believes in this cause passionately - having lost his elder brother to gun violence and been wounded himself during his Presidential campaign (all similarities between Patterson's characters and real-life ones are of course wholly intentional). It is, however, the First Lady who gives impetus to the debate when her family is shot.
Most of the old characters from the Kilcannon series make repeat appearances here. Kerry and Lara (who marries him early in the book), Chad and Allie Palmer, even Macdonald Gage - the Republican Majority Leader who Kilcannon previously destroyed politically - appears as an "elder statesman" for the new Majority Leader, Frank Fasano. Another welcome returnee is Sarah Dash, the lawyer in the Tierney case which gave Justice Masters such headaches. Dash now, conveniently, works for the Kilcannon Center - an anti-gun violence group - and attempts to sue an arms manufacturer and the Sons of the Second Amendment (Patterson's thinly-disguised NRA) in a case which forms the backbone of the novel.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Faction or fiction? Feb. 13 2004
Several scenarios in this book did not ring true nor make any sense (unless you were living in cuckoo land) and yet were presented with some authority as fact. Not possible I thought and further reading revealed the background of this nasty book and its agenda. Patterson may well be passionate about gun control, but why the need to tell lies? Forget the plot, this book is just a blatant attack on the NRA by a member of the Brady bunch. When you have to rely on distortion and lies to support a position then your position must be seriously flawed and desperate. This attempt to dress up propaganda as faction is an insult to our intelligence and the author has badly misjudged his self importance and influence. How fitting that two other well known liars endorse the contents of this book. If you have been a fan of the author's previous fiction by all means read it, but avoid financing this type of nonsense by getting a library copy and only if you want a hard slog and if you really really have nothing better to read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Radical liberal propaganda, that's all Feb. 5 2004
While the book may have some merit as an adventure-suspense novel, it comes across as a thinly veiled radical liberal political propaganda vehicle designed only to convince readers that private gun ownership is bad and must be totally banned. There are many half truths and false statements in the book that distort the factual reality of gun possession. For example, Patterson says that violent crime felons "can go into a gun show and buy enough handguns to arm the whole Al Quyeda network." This is a gross lie and Patterson should know better. There are adequate safeguards and procedures in Federal and state laws that effectively prevent that. As well, gun possession by felons is a Federal crime punishable by a long prison term and hefty fine. There are a number of other lies and false statements in the book, all designed to convince the American Public to give up one of its most important and powerful civil rights--private gun ownership. This, of course, is what the promoters of a totalitarian system of government want for this country, rule by "what we say the law is," not law written in absolute terms that protect the freedoms of the people. Private gun ownership has been the cornerstone of our system of civil liberties, individual freedoms and security since the founding of this country, and it attests that there is no other country in the world that comes close to our freedoms. Patterson obviously wants to change all that. You can tell where the book is coming from from its dustcover ratings by such discredited national radical liberal figures as Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy. Save your money and buy Tom Clancy or another responsible author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A FIRST-RATE READING OF POLITICAL INTRIGUE Jan. 23 2004
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
With numerous stage, television, and film roles to her credit you'd expect Patricia Kalember to deliver a first-rate reading - she does and raises the bar with her rendering of Richard North Patterson's latest D.C. based thriller.
With "Balance of Power" Patterson once more focuses on fictional Democratic politician Kerry Kilcannon. Recently elected to the presidency Kerry is set to marry his fiancé, television journalist Lara Costello. When Lara' sister is again brutalized by her abusive husband, John Bowden, Kerry intervenes. Then, the horrific: shortly after the wedding Bowden goes on a wild rampage shooting the innocent, including his wife and their daughter.
Kerry is so affected by this carnage that he promises to battle gun violence which means turning over Washington's most powerful lobby, the SSA or Sons of the Second Amendment.
It's at this point that Patterson's knowledge of Washington, its politics and power brokers really comes to the fore as Kerry becomes involved in a no-holds-barred battle with his nemesis, Senate Majority Leader Frank Fasano.
There is enough political intrigue and legal maneuvers in "Balance of Power" to keep everyone listening from rapid-fire start to boffo finish.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I hate this book
These libruls have no idea what their talking about. I don't read much anyway, so imagine my constellation when one of Amurca's better writers of psychological thrillers goes all... Read more
Published on July 17 2004 by georgewbush
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst book I never finished.
I normally enjoy Mr. Patterson's books and am not a gun dealer, collector, or advocate. I may go buy one now. Other than the improvement Mr. Read more
Published on June 11 2004 by Mickey Hankins
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Exactly a Novel
I have never before read a novel by a popular author that was so totally dependent on the reader's commitment to the same political and social agenda as its' author. Read more
Published on June 1 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel
I found the infighting of politics absorbing. I cannot believe Republicans would oppose gun controls of weapons that are not designed for sportsmanship
Published on April 29 2004 by Paul Siesser
2.0 out of 5 stars Falters then falls flat
I've been a Richard North Patterson fan for years, so I was sickeningly disappointed with "Balance of Power". Read more
Published on April 22 2004 by W. P. Strange
5.0 out of 5 stars Ballance of Power
Richard North Patterson's "Ballance of Power" is a wonderful read regardless of one's political party.
I simply couldn't put it down and I'm exhausted! Read more
Published on April 3 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Reader Ruins Book
I listened to the audio version of this book. The reader
came close to making an interesting book painfully boring. Read more
Published on March 23 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A wild emotional ride
Picking up where Laura and Kerry left off, with Kerry now as POTUS, we ride with them through a nail-biting emotional roller coaster. Read more
Published on March 6 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Philip (retired attorney)
This is an extraordinary book. There is no question that the author is anti-gun, as the author freely acknowledges in the "Afterword", but anyone who reads this book... Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Discussion
The author is an excellent writer. His two major themes of Gun Control and the political process leave one wondering about what really goes on in Washington, DC. Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2004 by Old Audio
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