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The First Counsel

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  6,725 Ratings  ·  320 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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(showing 1-30)
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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 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
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.
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
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.
Sep 20, 2012 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
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.
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.
Jun 07, 2015 Tim rated it did not like it
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
Threasa Jenkins
Feb 17, 2017 Threasa Jenkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book my cousin let me borrow, and I am sure glad she did. This one is pure adrenaline from beginning to end. Michael Garrick is suspected of murder, using drugs, and he's dating the President's daughter. There is all the intrigue and backhandedness that goes on in Washington. Michael can trust no one, but eveyone has their own secrets. It's a race at the end to find out who the murderer is. It's well worth the ride.
Feb 22, 2017 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once I got to the second half of the book, I couldn't put it down. Fun read!
Len Roberto
Feb 19, 2017 Len Roberto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition third book of his and more to come!!
Sue Altman
Jan 28, 2017 Sue Altman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am so glad I'm done with this book. Not only was it a disappointment, it was way too long.
Margy Wallace
Convoluted plot that kept you guessing, but some of the dialogue got tiresome.
Jan 17, 2017 Elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty predictable. Only ok.
Fred Fanning
Jan 04, 2017 Fred Fanning rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was good but it had a different feel from other Brad Meltzer books I have read.
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
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
Beth Northcutt
I really didn't like this one, and kept reading it, like others, only to learn who the bad guy is. The characters are clichés, and the main character kept doing stupid things, as if an a B- rated horror movie. My first, and probably only Brad Meltzer book.
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
Angus Whittaker
Aug 11, 2014 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.
Feb 14, 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
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
Nathan Burgoine
Dec 31, 2012 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.
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
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
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
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
Oct 26, 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
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
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Goodreads Librari...: Please merge editions and update details 7 21 Mar 18, 2016 10:14AM  
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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...

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