The First Counsel
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The First Counsel

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  3,981 ratings  ·  222 reviews
Aficionados of the hit TV show The West Wing who are sufferingthrough holiday reruns will jump right into Brad Meltzer's third novel (afterThe Tenth Justice and Dead Even), which takes readers into theWhite House office of the president's own law firm and introduces a firstdaughter whose complex psychological problems jump-start this fast-pacedthriller. Michael Garrick lov...more
Audiocd, Abridged, 6 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Hachette Audio
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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.
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...more
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
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...more
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.
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.
Very fast paced. This book pulls you in from the beginning and hard to put down. Susan
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 (superklutzy)
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...more
Nathan Burgoine
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....more
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...more
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...more

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...more
Peter Salomon
After watching Decoded I figured I'd check out some of Brad Meltzer's book from the library. This was the oldest book I had so I started here. While the characters were rather thinly drawn, the pacing and plot were incredibly fast and absorbing, hiding a number of minor flaws that really just disappeared in the race to the climax. I can honestly say that I was unable to guess the ending which is always a great thing!

The ending was NOT what I was expecting. I won't give anything away (even though...more
Mar 27, 2012 Ray rated it 1 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Meltzer fans only
I found "The First Counsel" interesting enough to allow me finish it and find out who was the "bad guy", but all along the way I found myself distracted by the fact that the characters, their behavior, and the dialog was unrealistic. None of the characters were believable, and I was totally unsympathetic to their ongoing difficulties. If it wasn't for the fact that I have somewhat of a stubborn streak, and wanted to finish what I started, this was the kind of book I could have easily simply put...more
Cindy Meilink
I have read a number of Brad Meltzer's books, and I don't know how I missed this when it first came out.

The First Counsel is an outstanding book--well written and with a great plot. Michael Garrick is a White House lawyer who begins a relationship with Nora Hartson, daughter of the President of the United States. Taking on such a relationship would definitely bring its own set of problems; however, with Nora, nothing is normal, and "problems" is an understatement.

A seemingly innocent night out o...more
The First Counsel is Brad Meltzer's third book, and like his previous books it was well written and hard for me to put down. I have to say that I liked the first two a little better, possibly because this one dealt with the powers and privileges that come along with being a member of the white house family, or may be it was because I felt part of the plot was a little unbelievable. It was a good story for the most part, with twists and turns like his other books, and I must say that I did not pr...more
A fast-moving book, not as good as the previous ones. A bit slow in a lot of places and made me quite aggravated at the main character who kept making excuses for the president's daughter. Together, they came across a stash of money left in the woods by the First Counsel, but Nora takes $10,000 of it without her date's knowledge. They're stopped by the police, the car is searched, the money is found, and from then on, he comes under suspicion for murder, etc. He constantly tells the story about...more
I am a fan of Brad Meltzer and the ones I have read already have been amazing. I even watched his show Decoded on History Channel and really enjoyed it. However, this book was a disappointment. The books I have read so far have been his latest ones and I decided to go back and read all of his stuff.

That being said, I think I expected more from it. First Counsel was a slow starter and it took awhile to get going. I found myself looking for points in the book to keep going. For example, two more...more
This is the story of a deputy White House counsel, Michael Garrick, who with help from the President's daughter, Nora Hartsman, finds himself embroiled in a situation where he becomes a suspect in blackmail and murder. He becomes emotionally involved with Nora and is in denial that he is being used my her. I found both characters to be extremely annoying. Brad is an insecure man whose judgement is clouded by his infatuation with Nora. Nora is an infantile brat and manipulator. I read another of...more
As with most of Mr. Meltzer's book, this book is based on the premise that the main character would do the supremely stupid thing he does to kick of the action of the story. If you can get past believing the main character would do such a thing, you'll enjoy this novel.
This was just the book to remove the drama of my life. Very well written, although the ending was a bit abrupt, the suspense was intriguing and intense enough to keep my mind wandering back to the characters whenever I had to put it down and live. I am about to make such a silly statement I have to introduce it as profound or come across as an imbecile. The suspense was suspenseful! Lately, I haven't been able to find a book with characters or plot interesting enough to be worthy of the small am...more
I read The Tenth Justice earlier this year and was looking forward to finding more titles by Brad Meltzer. This one certainly does not disappoint. One of the professional reviewers suggested that some of the other authors of legal fiction "move over" for Brad Meltzer. I think Brad Meltzer definitely knows how to use the setting of Washington, D.C. to fullest advantage as a setting to his legal thrillers. His characters captivate your attention as each is introduced and as they begin to interact,...more
Fun and captivating mystery thriller about a White House lawyer, Michael, who ends up dating the President's daughter, Nora. Not a meaningful read by any measure, but it kept me guessing and I really enjoyed it.
I was excited to read this, but found the lead character, Michael, whose point of view this is written from, kind of a ninny. And a whiner. And a ninny. He waits until 2/3 of the book is over to take control of his own life. And he lets everyone walk all over him. He is also the only one who cannot see his girlfriend is a whacko, needy, junkie, with serious problems - he identifies with her because his father is mentally retarded and hers is the president?? I didn't get the hook and ended up ski...more
This book will grab you pretty early on. I was annoyed Nora's behavior immediately and nearly stopped reading just because of it. However, there was enough redeeming about her that I thought there was hope. At different times in this book I suspected pretty much everybody of some type of duplicitous behaviour. You will not know for sure who the conspirators are until the end. You'll think you do, you'll probably go back and forth, but you won't know. That alone makes it worth reading as that doe...more
I thought was really good although I think the ending could have been better. There were a few things that I questioned as if they would do things that way but was able to pass it off in my mind as I really don't know and that allowed me to read on. Generally when I read things I know are inaccurate or impossible it disrupts my reading.

This was my third Brad Meltzer (onto my 4th) book in a row I have read. He's really good at keeping them "short and sweet" so he captures you and keeps you rathe...more
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Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle, as well as the bestsellers The Tenth Justice, Dead Even, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, The Zero Game, The Book of Fate and The Book of Lies.

He is also one of the co-creators of the TV show, Jack & Bobby—and is the Eisner Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed comic book, Justice League of America.

More about Brad Meltzer...
Identity Crisis The Inner Circle The Tenth Justice The Zero Game The Book of Lies

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