He starts with Senator Kerry Kilcannon, a candidate in the presidential primaries whose brother was assassinated right after winning the California primary 12 years before. Then he adds the fact that Kilcannon seems unable to run clear of a two-year-old affair. Sound familiar so far? Add to the mix the fact that Kilcannon is himself being hunted by a right-to-life activist who has already killed three people in a women's clinic, and you have a real thriller.
Patterson has the reputation for being a writer of courtroom dramas, but what he really writes are taut thrillers scripted like great movies--the books jump cut from the past to the present, in the process developing parallel plot lines that are masterfully and satisfyingly resolved. And he does this in the context of authentic situations, using characterization to make you care; he steers you through complex plots, though often away from the path the story will eventually take. Silent Witness and The Final Judgment, Patterson's two best novels until No Safe Place, are indeed courtroom dramas, but they involve people with serious aspirations. The jump to people with political aspirations is easily and deftly executed. It's a small pleasure, but still fun, to find a few of Patterson's recurring characters (Tony Lord and his wife) with walk-on parts.
At times this thriller is not a traditional page-turner. There are moments when the descriptions of domestic violence, for example, cause one to put the book down for a while--they are delivered with such power. No Safe Place is just the right reach for Patterson, and the perfect place to spend some time....Continua