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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel April 29 2004
I found the infighting of politics absorbing. I cannot believe Republicans would oppose gun controls of weapons that are not designed for sportsmanship
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2.0 out of 5 stars Falters then falls flat April 22 2004
I've been a Richard North Patterson fan for years, so I was sickeningly disappointed with "Balance of Power". Overall it was a good story idea presented weakly and very unrealistically. I expected much more of a plot, better development and more interesting characters - and was disappointed on all points. The writing sounded forced, the dialogue like a bad movie and the action predictable and telegraphed way ahead. There were no surprises, and the ending felt like Patterson just ran out of enthusiasm for his own story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ballance of Power April 3 2004
By A Customer
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!
Thank you, Mr. Patterson for so many hours of pleasure.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Reader Ruins Book March 24 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
I listened to the audio version of this book. The reader
came close to making an interesting book painfully boring.
Surely there was someone available who could have read with
more expression and given the male characters more definition
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wild emotional ride March 6 2004
By A Customer
Picking up where Laura and Kerry left off, with Kerry now as POTUS, we ride with them through a nail-biting emotional roller coaster. I have read other reviews and there seems to be some feeling that Patterson is trying to take away all peoples guns with this book. I didn't read that, I just read that some of our gun laws (or lack of) are fringing on lunacy. It has also been expressed that it is an anti NRA book. I think it may be anti leadership but not anti membership.
It is a good debate. It is well-written and fast-paced. A very good read.
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Philip (retired attorney) Feb. 12 2004
By A Customer
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 must be clearly impressed with the level of research & investigation the author has done. Alot of the "political thrillers" published strain the imagination of the reader with plots that are either fanciful or improbable. This book is in clear contrast to those other books. My hat is clearly off to Mr. Pattetrson.
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