Saturday, November 29, 2014
ESCAPE THE NIGHT by RICHARD NORTH PATTERSON
Escape the Night was originally published in 1983 and is now available as an e-book. I suggest that you add it to your e-book collection but save it for when you have some time to devote to it. I promise you won't want to put it down for long. I just had to know what would happen.
The story is about obsession and involves three generations of a family who own a publishing company in Manhattan. John Peter "Black Jack" Carey is the force who brought control of the company solely into his own hands. He's ruthless and fiercely devoted to his company. His wife endures years of emotional abuse but produces two sons, Phillip and Charles. These sons are prodded into competing with each other for favored status in their father's mind and, most importantly his will. Phillip, however, is weak and Charles is the golden one. Also Charles marries a beautiful woman and they have a son, John Peter Carey II, who is practically a clone of his father. Charles adores him, and in old age so does his father. Phillip is left as a pathetic also-ran.
The obsession begins when Charles unfortunately comes under the notice of the HUAC because they believe he is publishing leftist writers, and actually he is prescient in recognizing new talented writers who may have ideas that don't exactly mesh with what the HUAC sees as proper. He doesn't back down but eventually the HUAC backs off, except for the investigator who was assigned to their case. He is later fired and moves to the CIA where he learns more effective spying techniques. Another man is obsessed with the company and particularly Black Jack because his father committed suicide due to Black Jack refusing to rehire him. He is yet another danger.
I may have told a little too much, but I won't tell more because the last thing I want to do is ruin your enjoyment of this intricately plotted, beautifully written novel. Patterson is best known perhaps for his courtroom dramas and I have loved the ones I've read, but this is totally different. It is, I think, the best of his work that I have thus far encountered.
The characters, not just the family but the others as well, are portrayed just stereotypically enough to fit the plot and add to the fear factor. The evil ones are truly evil and one positively insane, but sometimes you know you just have to go with the flow and enjoy the read for what it is. If you do that, you'll be on tenterhooks for sure.
I read this during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and was prompted to be very thankful that I'm not a member of a powerful family, nor do I have wealth that anyone else would covet. I'm just a reader who can become involved with a good story and when I'm finished, go on to something else, but only after a little period of relishing what a good story it was.
Source: Open Road Media via Netgalley