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The Spire

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  2,267 Ratings  ·  240 Reviews
Both a razor-sharp thriller and a poignant love story, this twisting tale of psychological suspense is Patterson’s most compelling novel in years

Mark Darrow grew up in a small Ohio town with no real advantages beyond his intelligence and athletic ability. But thanks to the intervention of Lionel Farr—a professor at Caldwell, the local college—Darrow became an excellent stu
Hardcover, 371 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2009)
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K.D. Absolutely
Nov 10, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok
An okay book. It has the ingredients of a suspense-thriller novel that I really like: slow unfolding of the identity of the killer, tightly interwoven lives of characters that appear like normal people and the use of flashback at the beginning of the novel. Then while you are done or when you are reading the surprise denouement towards the end of the novel, you have the strong urge to read that flashback again to find out how Patterson was able to get away with the story.

The Spire is filled with
James Thane
Mar 21, 2011 James Thane rated it liked it
Shelves: suspense
Mark Darrow is a gifted high school athlete from a dysfunctional family is a small Ohio town, but he doesn't appear to have many prospects after high school until he is befriended by Lionel Farr, a professor from the small local college. With Farr's assistance, Mark gets his grades up and wins a scholarship to the college. There he becomes a star athlete and gets a great education that will prepare him to become a brilliant--and ultimately rich--attorney. The picture is marred only the by brutal ...more
May 12, 2012 David rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 17, 2013 Ed rated it liked it
Interesting concept with likable characters who unfortunately became way too loquacious for me. The author's focus on character development did nothing to drive the plot and the ending could be seen for miles around. Tighter editing, the deletion of all sentences that start with the word "Maybe" and 50 pages shorter in length would have helped. Other than that, it's was OK! ........Ed
Oct 29, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
good read, I like the characters, and the story is good....a bit of a twist, although I kind of had a feeling for quite some time about the end result, just didn't quite know why/how until the end.
Kathleen Hagen
The Spire, by Richard North Patterson, A-minus, Narrated by Holter Graham, produced by Macmillan Audio, downloaded from

Mark Darrow is just finishing highschool. He has a blazing football record but not such good grades. One night after a game, a professor from the local college, Caldwell, comes up to him. The professor says he sees promise in Mark and if he would work hard at getting his grades up, he can get him a scholarship. Mark agrees if he will also help his best friend, Steve
Sep 10, 2010 Marvin rated it liked it
This is typical Patterson in some ways. We have a super smart, handsome, charismatic hero out to set the world right who (eventually) falls in love with a smart, beautiful woman, with their relationship complicated by circumstances. Our hero faces (heroically & wisely) a series of difficult moral choices. Sixteen years after his best friend in college is convicted of murdering a promising African American student on the campus of the small Ohio college he attends in his home town, our hero ...more
Jul 10, 2016 Jaime rated it really liked it
I consider RNP one of the masters of the character-driven thriller. Here, he gets away from the politics of his last few books and takes us to a small college campus (a particularly compelling venue for me). Mark Darrow is being called back to the place where he found himself, Caldwell College. The current president is caught up in an embezzlement scandal, and Darrow, now a corporate lawyer, is being asked to take his place.

It’s not exactly a happy reunion. Darrow has had his share of personal t
Sep 10, 2016 Doris rated it it was amazing
As usual, Patterson creates a mystery that has you on the edge of your seat. From the beginning you realize that things are not as they seem. As the protagonist works through all the bits and pieces of what happened to Angela, he learns much about not only the crime but also about himself. I highly recommend this book!
Jul 01, 2010 Trudi rated it liked it
I listened to this one. Despite the fact that I guessed "who dunnit," it did hold my interest throughout. Not a great book - but quite good for its genre. High school athlete catches the attention of professor at local college. Professor befriends him and arranges a scholarship. Student goes on to be very successful after finding the body of a murdered student on campus during his last year of college. Eventually comes back as president of the college and solves the mystery of who really ...more
Sep 30, 2015 Coleen rated it really liked it
Patterson is a great author and when I see one of his books that I have not read, I snag it. such was the case with The Spire. It is an interesting, fast read, and easily understood story. One who is convicted of a murder he denies he committed and for which he spent years in prison...a daughter who starts as a little girl, but grows up to become a lovely woman, a legal tale intrivately woven. All these intrigued me.

Jul 13, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it
Good psychological plot - entertaining enough. I've liked several of the authors' works. Outside of the small chapter of gratuitous sex, use fast forward if your audio-booking, it's worth the read. It is well narrated.
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Gifted from Susanna
Opening - Sixteen years after the murder of Angela Hall had precipitated the decline of Caldwell College, Mark Darrow returns to campus, standing in the shadow of the spire.
Jill Robertson
Oct 20, 2016 Jill Robertson rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, crime, thriller
If you're a cold case fan you'll enjoy Richard North Patterson's fast-paced psychological thriller, 'The Spire'. A man returns to his small-town college as President and begins to re-investigate the 16-year-old college murder for which his best friend has been jailed for life. It's gripping and addictive (as are most of Patterson's novels) as the layers of the case are peeled away. Even if you guess the outcome it's intriguing to see how it all works out.
Sundeep Supertramp
Richard North Patterson. This is my first book of his.

I came to pick up this book by its cover. I have always been a person like that. Judging a book by its cover. The mere cover of the book gave a gothic feeling. Frankly, I didn't even know what the word 'Spire' meant. I guess, most you won't even. The author has put a Webster's definition of that word not very far from the start - one page 4, to be precise. That was pretty intelligent. And helpful. It saved my searching for the word in the dic
Phyllis Sommers
Jan 17, 2013 Phyllis Sommers rated it really liked it
Another excellent novel by one of my favorite authors. "The Spire" is a departure from the majority of Richard North Patterson novels, however, which are predominantly political thrillers revolving around the same cast of characters. This novel has a completely different set of characters and revolves around life at a small college in Wayne, Ohio. Out of school for 15 years, having graduated both a stellar student and a football hero and currently working in Boston as a highly-regarded attorney, ...more
Ally Atherton
Jun 25, 2011 Ally Atherton rated it really liked it
Richard North Patterson is another new Author for me and I wasn't disappointed.

Set in Ohio it is the story of a brilliant young Lawyer who goes back to his old college to help them through a tricky situation involving embezzlement but finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation that goes back to his own college days. His old friend was convicted of the murder of a young college student but Mark Darrow is convinced that he is an innocent man. While being given the task of saving his old
Dec 15, 2012 John rated it really liked it
Richard North Patterson is one of my favorite fiction authors. He consistently provides the reader with an excellent story with good pace and interesting characters. "The Spire" is no exception to this formula.

However, this story is a departure from most of his previous works, at least from my perspective. Most of Patterson's more recent works typically create a story around a specific subject in which he is interested. For example: "Exile" was about terrorism, Palestinians, the West bank, and I
Oct 12, 2009 Richard rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers, anyone who likes a well crafted story.
Recommended to Richard by: I like to read all Mr. Patterson's work.
Essentially this is a love story. Even though it is a thriller/mystery, it is a long time before we determine there is a mystery to solve.

Our hero demonstrates his love and skill for sports in high school which leads to a full scholarship at a "good" college.

Because a friend and teammate's family showed love by taking him in after his mother was institutionalized and his father disappeared, he was able to try to repay them by negotiating a scholarship for his friend and fellow athlete.

Because of
Jul 01, 2012 Laurie rated it really liked it
I Loved this book, an fast paced psychological murder mystery that I could not put down.

"Mark Darrow grew up in a small Ohio town with no real advantages beyond his intelligence and athletic ability. But thanks to the intervention of Lionel Farr—a professor at Caldwell, the local college—Darrow became an excellent student and, later, a superb trial lawyer. Now Farr asks his still-youthful protégé for a life-altering favor. An embezzlement scandal has threatened Caldwell’s very existence—would Da
Kris - My Novelesque Life

Lawyer Mark Darrow is asked by his mentor to return to Caldwell College to be the new President as the current one is suspected of embezzling from their funds. With mixed feelings he returns to Wayne where the past has not moved on. Darrow a high school football star was scouted by Farr (Professor at Caldwell) to play ball with a full scholarship. He agrees if his good friend Steve Tillman is also scouted. One night after a college party a black college student is found by Mark and the l
Oct 18, 2009 Becky rated it really liked it
I liked this book because it was different than what I normally read and different from what I expected. It wasn't a suspenseful book in that the action was taking place as I read. It was more in retrospect. Written this way worked for this book and made the love story part of the novel that much more poignant. I wasn't sure how that was going to work with this book, but it really did. At the end, I liked how it all tied together.

This book is very well written. While not something that is total
Sep 12, 2016 Linda rated it liked it
Not bad, not good, I hate wasting time on books that are not excellent, because there are many of them. Still, you don't really know until you try!
Feb 08, 2010 mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: relationships, crime
I am a fan of RNP. This story is about men behaving badly in war and in American society, which is a recurring theme in all of RNP's latest novels. I may have to stop reading him because they don't paint a good picture and I want to focus on positive outcomes--for myself and others. RNP is a good writer, though. He does his research, weaves a good story (I was surprised by this one, didn't see it coming) and is accurate. Things are bad in the world RNP sees and writes about. Another theme in his ...more
Dec 23, 2014 Wayne rated it really liked it
Now this is Robert North Patterson at his best. The Spire is a thriller involving every day people. His writing style in this novel reminds my of Jeffrey Archer, perhaps my favorite author.
This novels follows a high school student, growing up in a small college town, who experiences a father-son relationship with a professor at that college. The boy goes on to become a successful Boston attorney, and eventually the president of that small town college. Through all of this the Spire (a tower on
Feb 26, 2014 Asha KRISHNA rated it liked it
Patterson's Spire is about this successful who comes back to his alma mater on the calling of his mentor to salvage the reputation of his old college. The college is in the midst of an embezzlement scam and whilst Mark Darrow sorts it out, he revisits a tragedy that took place here years ago concerning the death of a girl he knew and his close friend who is convicted of the murder and is languishing in jail for years.

In the process of unravelling the mystery, Darrow revisits his past, his frien
Morgan St.
Aug 16, 2010 Morgan St. rated it really liked it
Recommended to Morgan by:
Attorney Mark Darrow's boyhood mentor convinces him to put his legal career on hold and return to the college town of Wayne as president of his alma mater.

Darrow's pregnant wife died in an accident two years before, and this is an opportunity to deal with his grief while helping his college. Because of his great respect for this man and his desire to help the school he accepts the position. As with other Patterson novels, all is not as it appears to be.

When Darrow left Wayne after his graduatio
Mar 07, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it
LANGUAGE! Mark Darrow was from a small town in Ohio and had no prospects after high school until Lionel Farr a professor at the local college stepped in a changed everything. Farr to Mark told buckle down and finish his senior year with good grades and a full scholarship would be his. Mark did and kept up his grades had a very successful and fun college life until just before graduation when a co-ed was killed on campus and Mark found her body and to make matters worse his best friend was ...more
Decent story - interesting and engaging mystery/thriller. Lots of wrong turns and dead ends.

Mark Darrow - MC, a successful Lawyer, is asked to become head of his former university, a place he hasn't been back to in 16 yrs. the story is told through flashbacks - which are well done without that awkwardness of some books. Just prior too graduation his senior year there is a murder on the campus - Mark Darrow is the person who found and reported the body - his best friend is arrested and convicted
Feb 10, 2014 Marca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This tale follows Mark Darrow from his special sports admission to a small private college to his later appointment as president of the college. Mark takes over as president in the wake of several scandals, including the murder of a young female student sixteen years ago while Mark was a student for which Mark’s best friend is found guilty and jailed. The former President is accused of embezzling large sums of money from the school, so Mark has several public relations issues on his hands. Mark ...more
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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.
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“he knew that men were too complex to be defined by the worst moment in their lives” 1 likes
“his legacy, if there is one, is that I try to do my best to see people whole, for who they are and what they've been through. especially those who matters to me” 0 likes
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