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The First Counsel

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  8,010 ratings  ·  366 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
ebook, 496 pages
Published March 9th 2001 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 9th 2001)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,010 ratings  ·  366 reviews

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Dec 21, 2010 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
May 25, 2009 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
May 30, 2010 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 ...more
Dec 10, 2008 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.
Pamela Mclaren
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
If you love to read fast-paced mysteries about Washington, especially those people who live in the White House, The First Counsel is probably a perfect fit for you. It starts with a White House lawyer on a date with the First Daughter. She's a bit wild, unpredictable and always challenging, but for Michael Garrick, she proves irresistible. And soon Nora Hartson has him walking into a gay bar where they see something that don't really understand or comprehend. And it will forever change their ...more
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! This was a white knuckle ride for me. Late nights of reading..... I think I need a calmer book, which is what I normally read, but sometimes you gotta shake things up a bit ;-)
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! Fascinating and scary at the same time - the FBI can make or break you. I look forward to reading other books by Brad Meltzer.
Mar 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Sep 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, own-copy
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 ...more
Gulshan B.
Jan 02, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
couldn't make myself go past the first few chapters. while the premise is good, and the plot looked interesting, the way the author handles the scenes in the book reminds me of those "simplified and abridged" texts from high school. consider this - when Michael is entering the White H for the first time, him describing the security number pad is probably OK, but his description of the walkway and the turnstile, his banal conversation with the elevator SS guy - none of that adds to the story, or ...more
Feb 26, 2011 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.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bard, audio-book
Well written and intense. Deducted one star for profanity.
Kenny Turpen
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an action packed story.
Chris Schreck
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book grabs u from the start and takes you on an amazing journey
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard Brad Metlzer speak at TLA (Texas Librarian Association) this year and enjoyed his speech so much that I had to check out his books. This is the first one I've read, and I enjoyed it.
The pace was fast and furious. The characters were great, but it was the action that drove the story. From the first sentence, the reader is taken on a wild ride. I stayed up way too late just to see how it would end.
I will definitely check out his other books.
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think anyone is quite as good as Brad Meltzer at writing the kind of paranoid thrillers that make one feel almost as anxious as the characters who are undergoing the ordeals he concocts for them. I almost suffered through this book! The solution to who was making the main character's life so difficult was a real surprise (although it did occur to me that that was a possibility, though not the motivation).
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 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy this author, I have read several of his books, which is why I grabbed this one. Usually like most books of this genre the plots and action is relatively the same, hero does his thing then gets in trouble then the conclusion , this one is no different. Meltzer in this one succeeds to create an enjoyable and stimulating book. He does a different take on the White House bringing in elements from his day as well as new features we didnt know about. His characters are well done, deep ...more
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book a lot more. There were so many potentially good elements but at the end they just didn't come together. Plus, just some unsavory elements that turned me off from start to finish like the crazy character who's really crazy (with good reason as explained in the end), the one key piece of evidence that was introduced at the beginning of the story and which does not make an appearance the very end (okay, there was one brief mention about halfway through but that ...more
Heather Sparks
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh Brad Meltzer, you and your darlings...

From chapter one, I had a hard time setting this book down to take care of responsibilities. It jerked me all over the place, and I had a great time trying to narrow down the five Ws. If you want a book that will keep you intrigued and guessing, as well as a nice protagonist, pick this one up. For once, it was nice to read a male pov that wasn't cocky. The character's humility and relational qualities really pulled me in. Glad he didn't let me down. I'm
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-reading
What I like the most about Brad Meltzer's books are the inside look he gives the reader into Washington D.C.'s buildings. Especially the area's which aren't open to public display. I was not disappointed in this book as it focused on the White House, the public area and the private area and a tunnel to the Treasury building.
The plot was kind of typical, good guy gets involved in a problem where all evidence points to him. He has to go on the run and can only rely on a few people who still has
Mark Zvonkovic
This novel is a casualty of the swelling demand for commercial fiction. The story is written in complete sentences, but you won't have to worry about having a dictionary handy. It will also not be necessary to strain yourself understanding the characters, who are one dimensional. Even the formulaic plot is mediocre. The only thing that saved my reading of the novel from being a waste of time was that I listened to it as an Audible Book and the narrator, Scott Brick, is excellent.
Fredrick Danysh
Michael Garrick has his dream job working as a lawyer in the Consul Office of the White House. Plus he has just started dating the president's daughter. Then he gets caught up as a suspect in blackmail and the murder of a co-worker. Things soon go from bad to worse. Meltzer has produced another fast paced, gripping thriller.
David Beck
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tainted lawyer finds love, suspicion tragedy.

Michael loves Nora but she’s damaged. He struggles, she flits like a vampire bat would. Intrigue, jealousy, deception, reign. She’s exotic but dangerous but he’s focused.
There is danger in the combination that only a storm can resolve.
Meet First Daughter, Nora Hartson, and White House Lawyer, Michael Garrick on their first date that sets the stage for this White House mystery story. From the beginning Nora cannot be trusted and Michael constantly makes excuses for her. Do we really need to feel sorry for children of politicians? I don’t think so and the author fails to convince me to think otherwise!
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vicky DeReign
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put it down. Even when my iPad was low, I plugged it in and kept reading. Fast paced.I felt Michael’s frustration. There are people out there who are like him -the Boy Scout- who want to believe the best in people.
John Edenfeld
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Always looked forward to finding a few minutes to sneak off and read a couple chapters. When the plot accelerated, I couldn’t put it down until it was done. That’s what I look for in a book.
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Brad Meltzer is the #1New York Timesbestsellingauthor ofThe Inner Circle,The Book of Fate, and nine other bestselling thrillers includingThe Tenth Justice,The First Counsel,The Millionaires, andThe President’s Shadow.His newest book,The Escape Artist, debuted at #1 on the bestseller list.
In addition to his fiction, Brad is one of the only authors to ever have books on the bestseller list for
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