Richard North Patterson’s Degree of Guilt was an exciting read. I was so interested in discovering how the story would end that I read it in one night.
While I was glad I read Degree of Guilt, there were a couple of things about the book that bothered me.
Mary Carelli is a powerful television reporter. She goes to a hotel suite to meet Mark Ransom (a famous author). Ransom winds up being shot to death and Carelli claims she killed him to prevent him from raping her.
Christopher Paget, the lawyer Carelli chooses to represent her is one of her former lovers. They met 15 years before when they were involved in an explosive case that left a senator in prison.
The lies, deception, and complicated relationships keep the story going. The serious questions asked about the rights of victims of sexual assault in the legal system and society at large are thought-provoking. The family dynamics are importantly difficult. Which leads us to one of the things I didn’t like.
From hear on out, I will discuss things about the book you may not want to know if you are planning on reading it.
As a person who was adopted, spent years looking for his mom before finding her, and enjoys a close relationship with her today, I strongly disagree with Carelli and Paget’s decision to hide the identity of their son’s biological father from him. Richard North Patterson simply failed to adequately understand the feelings of the son. Obviously, the decision that was made is the decision parents too often make. But the problem with that decision is parents are lying to their child. They are failing a basic test of honesty that will, if the lie is discovered, cause real pain. Sometimes, there is no substitute for the truth. Telling the truth when doing so forces you to acknowledge mistakes is a mark of character. It would have been nice to see at least one of them show the courage to do the right thing.
While I appreciate romance, I was disappointed by the decision to create one between Paget and his younger assistant. Even though they didn’t act on it until the case was over, I would like to read more stories where men and women work together, respect each other, like each other, and don’t wind up in bed.