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By Richard North Patterson

I have thoroughly enjoyed Patterson novels in the past, like The Lasko Tangent and Balance of Power, but his latest bestseller was a little slow and laborious for me. Conviction is the story of a horrific (and just the details of the crime may be enough to have me not recommend the book to you) crime and the two brothers who are prosecuted and sentenced to death for that crime.

The problem with the book, other than the graphic descriptions, is the treatise-like treatment of the subject of the death penalty. I felt like I was a lawyer again researching a case. This novel reads like a brief with much of the same detail, case names and quotations, etc., that you would find in a legal argument. If that appeals to you, and it does to many, then you will enjoy Conviction. Just don’t expect an easy and flowing thriller read – because this is 500 pages of arguing against the death penalty that is only a novel secondarily.

Conviction reminded me of Michael Crighton’s bestseller State of Fear in that it wears its political opinion very much on its sleeve. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) I don’t mind a novel that deals with a serious and current issue, but I guess I felt a little beaten over the head by this novel – as I did with Michael Crichton’s.

So – if you don’t mind the politics and the detailed legal analysis and the gory details of crime, then you won’t mind Richard North Patterson’s latest bestseller – Conviction. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio 1160, I’m Amanda Dickson.

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