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The Outside Man

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  945 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
The outside man is society lawyer Adam Shaw. A northerner in a southern town jealous of its secrets, he finds the dead body of his best friend's wealthy wife -- and his friend is missing.

In a world where wealthy people will stop at nothing to maintain a genteel image, Shaw must gamble his career, his marriage, and his very life in a passionate quest for the real murderer -
Paperback, 294 pages
Published June 23rd 1997 by Ballantine Books (first published 1981)
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Jun 12, 2011 Caroline rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who like legal/crime mysteries
This is a departure from the West Coast lawyer plot line of the Chris Paget series and East Coast political Kilcannon thrillers, and instead, the "outside man" is a northern lawyer in a southern town. In typical fashion, the author does not disappoint. First read 2/2/2006
UPDATE: Re-read this again 6/2011...still a great vacation read.
Mary Frances
May 21, 2009 Mary Frances rated it it was ok
I like this author, but this was his first book and I just think he had a very lot to learn. The writing is really strained and annoying, lots of overblown metaphors and fulsome descriptions. He's done much much better with his later legal/ political thrillers.
May 25, 2009 Jill rated it did not like it
Sort of a wild goose chase. There were too many suspects & too much running around & investigating everyone. You didn't get to know the characters, even Adam.
May 17, 2010 Karschtl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: darkish, bc, read-in-2010
My first book by this author, it's a bit dated. Although the story is a bit twisted it wasn't really gripping. I finished it nonetheless.
May 25, 2010 Sidney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intricate, twisty and rewarding. This early Richard North Patterson immerses lawyer Adam Shaw in a case, which sends him on a voyage of personal discovery as he seeks to defend a friend on a murder charge. It's really a tale to two troubled families, double dealings and dark desires, a compact and well plotted tale.
Debi Stanley
Half way through this. With no interruptions I should wrap it up by dinnertime as it is an easy read.
Jun 23, 2011 SharlzG rated it really liked it
Not as intricate as his later books, but an easy and addictive read. I admit I had guessed the outcome quite early, but once I got into it (first few chapters were annoying) I didn't want to put it down and lost track of time on more than one occasion. Not phenomenal, but a definite prelude to the depth and quality in his later works.
Mar 21, 2012 Ida rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am just starting this book and am finding Patterson's writing style somewhat awkward which is a little annoying, but so far the storyline is keeping me entertained.
So, now that I am done, do I give it 3 stars for the exciting plot, or 2 stars for the unfortunate editing?
Adam Shaw, a business lawyer, does crazily stupid things trying to find the truth behind the murder of his good friend's wife.
May 08, 2012 Roberta rated it it was ok
This was a book, though well written, I was able to put down for periods of time - over & over again. I classify it, as others have, as a classic detective story.' Though there were twists & turns in 'who done it,' there was nothing that motivated me to want to keep turning pages into the wee hours. I only finished it out of sheer determination as it had been setting on my nightstand for far too long & it was time to move on.
Jul 09, 2012 Scout rated it liked it
Interesting murder mystery, but most interesting is the exploration of the ways in which couples try to do what's best for others and much later find out that they've made huge mistakes. I didn't like it that the solution to the mystery was revealed in a lengthy narrative at the end of the novel.
Aug 01, 2012 Aries rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Secondo romanzo in originale che leggo e di nuovo si tratta di un volume di Richard North Patterson mai tradotto in Italia (o meglio, pubblicato solo in un rarissimo giallo mondadori di parecchio tempo fa).Dopo "The Lasko Tangent", opera prima che, come avevo scritto, risultava estremamente gradevole ma indubbiamente acerba, questo secondo tentativo dell'autore risulta ancora più convincente; è una storia di segreti, di intolleranza, di chiusura e di mancanza di speranza, in cui l'avvocato Adam ...more
Aug 09, 2012 Mike rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, reviewed
Overly emotional soap opera. It is hard to read a book, for me at least, when you hate the main character. Even tougher if you dislike all the characters in a book.
Oct 12, 2012 Amber rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! It was a bit of a slow start but kept me guessing up until the very end. Patterson managed to surprise me with the ending while leaving me wondering how I hadnt seen it coming. I eish there was a sequel however, I want to know what happened to Adam after tje end of this book.
Nov 16, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-shelf
I picked this book up at a fundraiser about a month ago. I have read RNP books before, but not often. I was a little concerned when I saw some the reviews for this one. The feelings were a little mixed, with some more recent reviews being rather harsh. But, the book was only 300 pages long, so I figured I could run through it pretty fast. I actually liked it. It was published in the very early 1980's. That is something you may want to keep in mind. Not because of outdated technology, but because ...more
Jan 05, 2013 Colin rated it it was ok
This book was one of two in the same item by this author. Having enjoyed the first one, I was looking forward to reading this. Sorry to say that it isn’t one that I would recommend. It concerns a lawyer, Adam, who finds one of his lady clients dead. One of the suspects is her husband, but Adam thinks otherwise and the book is about his attempts to find out whodunnit and why. He is not helped in this by a very stroppy policeman who appears to regard him with the same contempt as the husband, and ...more
Kate S
This was an easy bedtime read. I had figured it out about halfway through, but there were enough twists to keep me second guessing myself.
Feb 22, 2015 MARY STEPP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good read

Slow at times but otherwise entertaining. To easy to figure out who done it. Have read much much Patterson book but this one okay.
Lorin Cary
Feb 23, 2015 Lorin Cary rated it liked it
Adam Shaw is a lawyer. Originally from Cleveland, he now lives in Birmingham with his wife, the daughter of a prominent lawyer. Adam works at his firm. When the wife of a long-time client is murdered, Adam investigates and in the process unearths many long-hidden secrets. This is early Patterson, and he's gotten better. Pacing and character development are well done.
May 05, 2015 John rated it liked it
What drew me to this book was that it was set in Alabama where I live and that it was described as a courtroom drama. Courtroom drama was a total over statement. The characters never set foot in a courtroom and it was much more of a detective story than a legal thriller. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I also love detective stories. As to the Alabama setting, yes it was set in Birmingham, but there was very little Southern flavor. For one thing, if you have ever been in Alabama you w ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Barb rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
Meh legal thriller. I thought it was contemporary, but it was published in 1981. I probably would have liked it more had I read it back then. Lots of twists and turns, but the characters were so not memorable that I kept forgetting who was whom.
Not Richard North Patterson's best work. Basically the story of the lies and deceits behind a small southern town's population.
Apr 09, 2015 Terry added it
Shelves: others
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terry Lee
May 28, 2015 Terry Lee rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It's been a while since I read Richard North Patterson and I forgot how much I enjoyed his writing. The Outside Man is a story of a complex relationship between husband and wife, father and daughter. The trouble begins with the murder of Lydia Cantwell, a client of Adam Shaw and his father-in-law, Roland Cade. The investigation not only leads to the killer, but it opens up secrets of the past between Cade, Shaw, and his wife, Kris Ann.

This book was fast-paced, exciting and tow
Chris Miles
Jul 21, 2015 Chris Miles rated it really liked it
I have become a huge fan of Richard North Patterson over recent years, particularly his legal thrillers. The Outside Man certainly did not let me down. It is a wonderful read, not only being a great legal thriller but also a very good commentary of injustices carried out upon the negro population of the southern United States.
Aug 10, 2015 Tulay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book.

Have to be patient at the beginning, but all the twists and turns will make you engrossed to the end. Deep south during MLK, some language will make you sick. Everybody is smoking, drinking and drugs. Dysfunctional families and their secrets. Book was published in 1981, but some issues still in the news today.
Sep 06, 2015 Catherine marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Erika Hock
Sep 14, 2015 Erika Hock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read

This was a good read-I had it figured out a quarter way through, but the characters were interesting. Would like a sequel.
Oct 24, 2015 rated it liked it
I usually wholeheartedly enjoy Richard Patterson books. This one I did not enjoy so much, however, I did not have any trouble finishing the book. I like Patterson's writing style.
Melanie Melancon
The Outside Man

I normally love this author, and have read more than a few of his books. This one, for some reason, did not hold my interest. The story is very dark, with no hopeful ending.
Feb 23, 2016 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Lawyer Adam Shaw is thrust into the murder case of his good friend's wife. A northerner married to the southern bell, he is already juggling the job under his demanding father in law, new money, and the society.
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Richard North Patterson is the author of fourteen previous bestselling and critically acclaimed novels. Formerly a trial lawyer, Patterson served as the SEC’s liaison to the Watergate special prosecutor and has served on the boards of several Washington advocacy groups dealing with gun violence, political reform, and women’s rights. He lives in San Francisco and on Martha’s Vineyard.
More about Richard North Patterson...

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“Hell, with money you can even get away with being liberal. But if you’re poor and liberal, people just think you’re peculiar. Oh, they’ll never be sure whether you’re a liberal because you’re poor or poor because you’re a liberal, but they’re damn sure it’s one or the other.” 0 likes
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