Richard North Patterson
Holt, Aug. 2009, $26.00
Football star Mark Darrow receives an athletic scholarship to play at Caldwell College in Wayne, Ohio. While there he discovers the corpse of African-American student Angela Hall. The police arrests Mark’s best friend Steve Tillman, who is convicted for murdering the coed.
While Mark goes on to law school and becomes a nationally prominent defense attorney, Steve remains in prison insisting he is innocent. Sixteen years since Angela was murdered, Caldwell College is in deep trouble over an embezzlement scandal of a just under a million dollar endowment. Desperate to save the college, Mark’s former mentor at the school and current Provost Professor Lionel Farr asks him to return as the school president so that alumni money does not stop. He agrees as a favor for his friend. However, he also looks into the embezzlement that got his predecessor in trouble and the homicide that has locked away his best friend. His efforts has some people wanting him stopped anyway they can even murder.
Fascinatingly the suspense is not driven by action, but by how deep Richard North Patterson enables his fans to know Mark; thus everything that he does or occurs to him is enhanced by him seeming like a relative or close friend. His escapades to learn the truth then and now places the hero in danger from someone who wants the facts to remain interred and if necessary inter the amateur sleuth. Fans will enjoy SPIRE simply because of the dedicated obstinate Mark, who is The Little Engine That Could (die).