Patterson (Loss of Innocence, 2013, etc.) concludes his Blaine family trilogy with Adam home on Martha’s Vineyard coping with the fallout from the death of his estranged father, Benjamin, a world-famous novelist.
Opening with Ben dead, this novel chronologically follows the first in the series, Fall from Grace (2012). The state is determining Ben's cause of death—an accidental fall or murder, with Ben pushed from a steep promontory. Adam knows it was murder, and he knows the killer. Nevertheless, given a multigenerational web of betrayals, infidelity and abuse, Adam decides to protect the murderer. And he can: He's proficient in tradecraft learned as a CIA special operator in Afghanistan. Complications compound after it’s learned Ben has left almost his entire estate to Carla Pacelli, a gifted young actress recuperating on the island after a stint in rehab. Carla’s pregnant with Ben’s child. Given the bad blood between Adam and his father, the narrative moves past Freud into Oedipal complexity when Adam and Carla become attracted to one another. Patterson’s a pro—the narrative flows easily, set mostly on the island, with a quick, sand-and-bullets Afghanistan action sequence. Patterson also uses the romance to allow Adam and Carla to blossom into more sympathetic protagonists. Patterson does yeoman work turning this tale of an unhappy family into a believable psychological drama by having Adam consult a local therapist. What transpires there makes the unusual love story seem a natural turn of events and, in fact, offers multiple perspectives to more than a handful of shrink-worthy dramatic elements—betrayals that damaged multiple generations; infidelities that leave one man raising another man’s child; class resentment; destructive, overweening ambition—all of which lend depth to the novel as Patterson carries the trilogy toward the happy-ever-after country where he concludes the Blaine family’s Thorn Birds–like saga.
An intriguing psychological examination of a damaged family.