Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The First Counsel” as Want to Read:
The First Counsel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The First Counsel

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,272 Ratings  ·  300 Reviews
The runaway bestseller that takes us down the rabbit hole of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
John F. Jennedy, Jr., was Lark.
Amy Carter was Dynamo.
Chelsea Clinton was Energy.
Meet Shadow.

Shadow is the Secret Service code name for First Daughter Nora Hartson. And when White House lawyer Michael Garrick begins dating the irresistible Nora, he's instantly spellbound, just like everyo
ebook, 0 pages
Published March 9th 2001 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The First Counsel, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The First Counsel

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dec 21, 2010 Juli rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’ll start by saying right now, I absolutely disliked this book. & the only reason why I finished the book was because I sincerely wanted to know who the bad guy was.

For a good 75% of the book, there is nothing but Michael shouting at Nora not to lie to him, Michael shouting to Trey not to lie to him, or Michael shouting to Pam not to lie to him. Honestly… I’ve never, NEVER, read so much shouting back & forth in a novel, to no end.

Further, Nora’s erratic & bizarre behavior is just e
May 30, 2010 George rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a slow moving, at times irritating, mystery novel set in the White House, going into a presidential election with the president struggling at the polls. The mystery whirls around a lawyer and others in the White House Counsel's office, the president's daughter, murder and blackmail. All the elements to make a good mystery novel, but it doesn't work well here. The lawyer protagonist often behaves contrary to a what a lawyer would do, his actions increase his suspect role, he quickly flie ...more
Dec 10, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so much fun to read! Pure escape. Fast paced, suspenseful, the author is compared to John Grisham in the critiques. It's the story of a young lawyer working as legal counsel for the President of the United States. He starts dating the President's lively daughter and...I really can't give any more away. FYI - 10-15 F-words, and a few references of a sexual nature. If you don't mind that, it was lots of fun.
Feb 26, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a well written book by Meltzer and the first book I read by him. It was a fast paced book and got me interested in the book right away. The idea of a young lawyer dating the President's daughter was interesting. I was surprised at the ending, hope you will be too.
May 25, 2009 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
Meltzer writes a good thriller, but has a repetitive theme-- hapless guy gets blamed for something he did or didn't do-- runs from F.B.I. or Secret Service, etc.

In this case, the hero works in the legal department for the White house and is dating the first daughter. Out one night, he sees his boss in a compromising situation-- and from there-- he is slipping and sliding into a plot that is not of his making. Is the first daughter really the basket case she pretends to be or is she in on the pl
Jun 20, 2014 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-copy, thriller
Michael Garrick, a mid-western State school graduate, felt a tad out of sync with the Harvard/Yale graduates who populate the Legal Department of the White House and like a fish out of water when First Daughter, Nora Hartson, decides to date him. Nora's world is populated by people with earpieces and guns, the press, and those who want something from her. Secret agendas, blood and bodies, blackmail, threats and lies, Michael is on a roller coaster ride and doesn't know who to trust or what to be ...more
Jun 08, 2015 Tim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I consider myself fortunate to only have suffered through the abridged version of this story that features an acid roofie of all things. 2 of 10 stars
Πάνος Τουρλής
Είναι το δεύτερο που διαβάζω του ίδιου συγγραφέα και δυστυχώς έχουμε μια από τα ίδια ως προς το θέμα. Ακριβώς το ίδιο. Ο Λευκός Οίκος και τα μυστικά του. Αυτήν τη φορά είναι πιο Οικο-κεντρικό. Έχουμε έναν Πρόεδρο, έχουμε μια Πρώτη Κυρία και μια Πρώτη Θυγατέρα (ουάου!). Και η δράση εκτυλίσσεται και γύρω αλλά και μέσα στον Λευκό Οίκο. Είναι σαν μια άτυπη ξενάγηση σε όλους τους χώρους του κτηρίου, κρυφούς και φανερούς, τουριστικής πρόσβασης αλλά και Προεδρικής διαμονής. Θα ήθελα να επισκεφθώ αυτό τ ...more
Feb 15, 2016 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[Spoiler Alert] Just finished reading and I'm still feeling overwhelmed by how it ended. Okay, mystery solved, but several things don't tally up. First of all, just who that has dropped the white house pen in Michael's apartment room then??? Secondly, Pam knew where the excess documents are stored and told him to go check it but why didn't she go check him in in the attic if she cared about him? It's suspicious. It's as if she'd been on the bad guy's side and Nora asked her to send him upstairs. ...more
Jun 22, 2014 Maddy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads
PROTAGONIST: Michael Garrick
SETTING: Washington, DC
WHY: Michael Garrick is an attorney in the White House's legal office and has just begun dating the President's daughter, Nora Hartson. They follow Michael's boss as he leaves a gay bar and deposits a large sum of money at a remote drop. Nora foolishly steals $10,000 from the stash which is ultimately found by the police in Michael's car. When the head of ethics is murdered, Michael is the prime suspect. The characters in this are unb
I enjoyed it. However, the "love" that Michael feels for Nora is pretty unbelievable - she's nothing but obnoxious and I can't imagine that Michael really felt anything but fascination with her. The end was ridiculously overdone with the drama - something I didn't like in Meltzer's first book, either. Nevertheless, it was a fun read.
Charlotte Ehney
Michael Garrick is in an enviable position. The 29 year old lawyer is working for the Office of Counsel at the White House. He is also dating the President's daughter. But a chance sighting of his boss in a compromising meeting changes everything. Soon Michael is in the middle of a murder investigation that threatens to reveal his family secrets as well as expose his friends to danger. Trouble is, he no longer knows who he can trust.

The Family Counsel is the second novel by Brad Meltzer that I
Dwayne Wojtowicz
Sep 12, 2014 Dwayne Wojtowicz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sex, drugs, booze... All three elements that can make up a suspenseful political mystery. But "The First Counsel" fell short on believability.

The plot was well developed, but I found it to be unbelievable. In the history of our Nation, there has never been a romantic interlude between the first daughter and a staff attorney.

Secondly, if it did happened (and trying not to say that it never did), I think that the President of the United States would try to put an end to it.

Thirdly, I think the sta
Tom Tischler
Meet Shadow. Shadow is the Secret Services code name for Nora
Hartson the Presidents daughter. She starts dating a young White
House lawyer named Michael Garrick and that's when he starts feeling
like the First Counsel. This happens to everyone who lives in her
world. Everyone has probably heard about it but no one truly knows.
Your dad's the President and your friends all wear ear pieces and
carry guns. They also follow you everywhere. On a date Nora and
Michael see something they shouldn't have an
Gulshan Batra
couldn't make myself go past the first few chapters. while the premise is good, and the plot looked interesting, the way the author handles the scenes in the book reminds me of those "simplified and abridged" texts from high school. consider this - when Michael is entering the White H for the first time, him describing the security number pad is probably OK, but his description of the walkway and the turnstile, his banal conversation with the elevator SS guy - none of that adds to the story, or ...more
Feb 22, 2015 Kari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
Picked this book off my shelf because it had a shady picture of the White House on the front cover, and I was in the mood for a political thriller. Michael Garrick is on the team of attorneys hired to advise the President. He gets involved with the First Daughter, and in deeper than intended. They duck Secret Service and head to a gay bar, where they accidentally run into Michael's boss, Simon. Curious what he's up to, they follow him to a vacant curve of highway by Rock Creek Park, where he dis ...more
Not so good as expected. Or I am not in the right mood to read this book. Or perhaps I am reading too many classical books.
Rob Breen
I was immensely disappointed by the ending of this book. It was certainly suspenseful and kept me guessing throughout, but the finale was dreadful. Honestly, I don't think I would recommend this book.

I still like Brad Meltzer, however, and will read his other works. Hopefully his other books end on higher notes than this one.

As an analogy, this book was like a wild train ride until the end. It started out slow as it left the station, picking up speed, and eventually flying along the tracks, un
Jul 16, 2015 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

This is the first book I have read by Brad Melzter. For most of the book I was enthralled and could not put it down. The story moves fast with many plot twists and turns. The back cover indicates that the book is "fast-paced and suspenseful throughout", which is a good description of the story. I would have given the book at least four stars if not for the last 10 pages. The end of the story is dreadful. Meltzer really goofed with the ending. How can such a suspenseful novel have such a lame end
Dan Rheingans
I enjoyed reading this book by Meltzer set in the White Houses, but there were some pretty glaring inconsistencies between the actions of the main character Michael and what I would call normal human functioning. I thought the plot moved well and there were plenty of interesting twists, but some of the human characteristics and actions seemed so random and off that it did take away from a higher rating for me. I would suggest this one to others to read, but probably not the first book I'd sugges ...more
Angus Whittaker
Mar 27, 2015 Angus Whittaker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
I picked up this book with the false impression that it was a secret service/Presidential thriller type deal. It's not. It's about a White House lawyer. So if you're looking for a terrorist attack on the President and Secret Service action and such, look elsewhere.
The first half of this book was intolerably boring, but the second half is slightly better if one can manage to get through the first. The plot is convoluted and at times confusing, but the characters are surprisingly well-constructed.
Nov 05, 2012 Ithlilian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I want to give this book three stars, but I found myself skipping pages towards the end just to finish this and see what happens. Our main character falls for the reckless daughter of the president, she gets him into a bit of trouble and is generally bad for him, but he doesn't seem to care about that. They come across a secret and spend the entire novel trying to figure out how to fix the predicament it put them in. That's basically it, and my disinterest in the characters coupled with the shal ...more
James Korsmo
White House lawyer Michael Garrick finds himself going out with the first daugher, Nora Hartson. A thrill-seeking and irresistable twenty-something, she proves to be an interesting date. After losing their secret-service escort, Nora and Michael find themselves in a shady bar in the heart of urban DC, where they witness the head White House lawyer, Simon, make a clandestine meet, and after following him, discover he has dropped off a large quantity of cash. The two suspect some shady dealings, b ...more
skywalker (uninspired)
my dear god! when will this guy ever get out of his fold..?!

all of the protagonists in brad meltzer's books are the screwable irritable loser types.. and they do repeatedly get run over and it is always this ufo spotting kind of life altering incident that they get stuck up in.. running from FBIs, CIAs and secret services.. always running ,never trusting.. and always seem to have faith in the wrong guys... you can't tell me that's reality.. atleast my life's not that predictable in pattern.

i su
Nathan Burgoine
Jun 01, 2015 Nathan Burgoine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This was one of the best audiobook abridgements I've listened to yet. It was four tapes long, so I imagine not a whole lot was left out, and D.B. Sweeny's voice was superb! He really has a talent for accents and voices that don't come across as stereotypes or silly.

The story itself is a solid one, a political/law thriller, with Michael Garrett being the protagonist of the tale. Michael begins dating a gal named Nora, which seems a simple enough set-up, but Nora is the daughter of the president.
Jeff Tufano
2.5 stars

This is my first experience with Brad Melzter. The First Counsel is about a White House staff lawyer Michael Garrick being framed for murder of another White House staff and his tryst with the First Daughter Nora Hartson.

Most of the book centers around Michael and Nora's relationship which I can only describe as very melodramatic. This part of the book seemed to catch my attention the most. One moment they are flirting coyly, the next moment they yelling and fighting and then another m
Shelley aka Gizmo's Reviews
Summary: JFK Jr. was Lark. Amy Carter was Dynamo. Chelsea Clinton was Energy. Meet Shadow. "Shadow" is the Secret Service codename for the First Daughter, Nora Hartson. And when she starts dating young White House lawyer Michael Garrick, he starts feeling like the First Counsel. That's what happens to everyone who lives in her world. It's a world all of us have heard about, but none of us truly know - a world where your dad's the President, your close friends wear earpieces and carry guns and a ...more
This one totally sucked me in. A book review quoted on the back cover says it's "fast-paced and suspenseful throughout" and that is actually true. This is a guy who knows the economy of words. I have a very low quota for thrillers, and I was reading along (very quickly), thinking this was a simple, toss-away read like any old Grisham or Crichton novel and therefore not really that bothered by it when sometimes the characters seemed to take a sharp left-turn out of nowhere and for no explained re ...more
Downloaded from

Very entertaining listen!

Narrator: Scott Brick
Publisher: Hachette Audio, 2003
Length: 14 hours and 27 min.

Publisher's Summary
Shadow is the Secret Service code name for First Daughter, Nora Hartson. And when Michael Garrick, a young White House lawyer, begins dating the irresistible Nora, he's instantly spellbound, just like everyone else in her world.

It's a world all of us have heard about but few of us really know. A world where power is an aphrodisiac, your father is
Jul 11, 2010 J rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Michael Garrick, a junior atty. in White House counsel's office, is the main character. A self-described 'Boy Scout," Garrick starts dating First Daughter, Nora Hartson, which is where the adventure also begins.

This falls into the category of mystery in which the central detective is not a detective by trade.

This is a thriller that takes place mainly in the workplace -- where the usual principles apply (rivalry, alliances, turfdom, rank). Because it's the White House, though
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Please merge editions and update details 7 21 Mar 18, 2016 10:14AM  
  • The Jury (Paul Madriani, #6)
  • The Fourth Perimeter
  • Protect and Defend (Kerry Kilcannon, #2)
  • Reversible Errors (Kindle County Legal Thriller, #6)
  • The Associate
  • Company Man
  • The Chairman (Christian Gillette, #1)
  • A Certain Justice (Abe Glitsky, #1)
Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate, and seven other bestselling thrillers. In addition to his fiction, Brad is one of the only authors to ever have books on the bestseller list for nonfiction (History Decoded), advice (Heroes for My Son and Heroes for My Daughter), children's books (I Am Amelia Earhart and I Am Abraham Lincoln) and even g ...more
More about Brad Meltzer...

Share This Book

“Pam described herself as the person in fifth grade who got left behind when her friends got popular. ” 2 likes
“our work’s reactive: In the” 0 likes
More quotes…