Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Eden in Winter by Richard North Patterson

Eden in Winter.  Richard North Patterson. Quercus Publishing PLC. July 2014. 620 pp.  ISBN#: 9781623651473.

Richard North Patterson concludes his trilogy in Eden in Winter, preceded by Fall From Grace and Loss of Innocence. Adam Blaine is on leave from his CIA job after the death of his father, Ben.  There was no love lost between the two but Adam takes on the task of making sure that the real murderer of his father is cleared from guilt at the inquest into his father’s death.  In reality, almost everyone in the family wanted Ben dead, so acrimonious were their relationships to the family patriarch.
This is the story of Adam’s illegal activities to clear a family member, a connection to his father’s mistress who is now carrying his father’s child, and some very long conversations with a family friend/psychotherapist who attempts to help Adam purge his memories of the repression that has turned him into an emotionless man who steers clear of all feelings and emotional connection with family and friends.  It goes back many years and Adam tells it all one session at a time, prodded by his therapist and told in a strange way devoid of all emotional expression.  This is the only part of the novel that lacks credibility to some extent, not the telling but the inanimate manner of verbalizing the long-withheld poisons that leave Adam in a perilous condition most of the time in his job as well as with his family.

Adam returns to Afghanistan and the reader gets to travel with him in his ever-changing missions, one in particular ironically involving the American POW who has just been released after being kept a prisoner for five years, Bergdahl.  Adam is very, very good at his job but now his formerly clear-headed focus is thwarted by his experiences during his recent home leave.  That makes it risky business and vulnerable to being wounded or even killed!

Over the years, Patterson has changed the style of his writing to include more of a psychological bent to his novels.  This adds depth to the stories and throws in some contemporary issues that should make for interesting reading for today’s audience.  Relationships are variable certainly, but Patterson knows how to plumb the depths of those connections with the sordid as well as the sublime.

There’s something in this novel to appeal to men and women of any age. Nicely done indeed!

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