Balance of Power Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on July 17 2004 by georgewbush
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 morePublished on June 11 2004 by Mickey Hankins
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 morePublished on June 1 2004
I found the infighting of politics absorbing. I cannot believe Republicans would oppose gun controls of weapons that are not designed for sportsmanshipPublished on April 29 2004 by Paul Siesser
I've been a Richard North Patterson fan for years, so I was sickeningly disappointed with "Balance of Power". Read morePublished on April 22 2004 by W. P. Strange
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
I listened to the audio version of this book. The reader
came close to making an interesting book painfully boring. Read more
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 morePublished on March 6 2004
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 morePublished on Feb. 12 2004