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The First Counsel

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  5,196 ratings  ·  256 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 everyon
Paperback, 608 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2001)
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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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Dwayne Wojtowicz
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
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.
Angus Whittaker
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.
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 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
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

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
Emily Higgins
Michael Garrick is a lawyer working in the White House Counsel's office when the President's daughter notices him and approaches him for a date. While they are out together, Nora,nwhile driving his car, eludes her Secret Service escort. They go to a club where they see another White House staffer doing something suspicious. Nora insists on following the staffer and events quickly spin out of control. This is a well-written, exciting book.
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
Mar 27, 2012 Ray rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
After reading this book, I wouldn't pick up another by Brad Meltzer. I don't think the book is well-written, the plot is not believable, and the characters are "out there" (in every direction.) I gave it a "1" because at least there were some interesting details about the White House. The book might be a "thriller", but it didn't thrill me!
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
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
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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 (Beecher White, #1) The Tenth Justice The Zero Game The Book of Lies

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