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Degree of Guilt (Christopher Paget #2)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  8,764 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
TV journalist Mary Carelli admits that she shot and killed Mark Ransom, one of the world's most famous authors. She claims it was self-defense. She swears he tried to rape her. Now she has to prove it in a court of law—with her former lover acting as her attorney…

Christopher Paget is one of the top lawyers in the country. But defending the mother of his son
in the trial of
Paperback, 720 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1992)
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Jyotsna I guess it might be too late to answer this, but cannot see an unanswered question anywhere, so here we go -
Carlo doesn't get to know the truth. Not…more
I guess it might be too late to answer this, but cannot see an unanswered question anywhere, so here we go -
Carlo doesn't get to know the truth. Not in this book atleast (I have not read the others so do not know if he gets to know the real story later)(less)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, legal
The problem I have with Richard North Patterson's novels is that once I start one, I seem to be completely unable to do anything but finish it. They are all-consuming. This one I found particularly remarkable. A legal thriller of the highest order. As always, great character development, but the plotting of this one - weaving a murder, a trial, celebrity scandal, and personal conflict into a frenzy - was remarkable. Unlike most other "series" authors, Patterson weaves together a world where the ...more
Mar 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good legal case study, well-written and with good characters. I really want to say I enjoyed the book, but it became ponderous. One of those "am I really STILL reading this book?" I haven't read a Patterson in a while and I did not read the first novel in this series. I don't think I'll run out and buy the next one, either.

A good author, a decent book, but perhaps too overdone.
May 29, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-work
This was a bit of a windy affair, I thought, although there were some unsettling accounts of rape and female degradation. No need to describe the plot as the synopsis tells you the facts you need to know about this 700-page monster that ambles back and forth between legal and domestic drama.

The legal stuff is all right, though extremely repetitive, and would probably go over well in a movie. I know plenty of people love courtroom drama and there is some meat here, though it takes about 400 page
Lorraine Cobcroft
It got off to a bit of a rocky start, for me at least. I almost put it down. But the back cover held my interest and I persevered. Glad I did!

It was gripping: beautifully written; full of emotion and wisdom; packed with drama; rich with unexpected twists and turns, and came to a heart-stopping climax. The characters found their way into my life and into my heart. Patterson brought them to life so superbly - even Mary won my sympathy, despite her flaws. She sinned, but she was so real, and one c
Excellent read . The 5 stars are for the legal proceedings and intensity of the trial, beautifully written. But I feel that the author finished the story poorly and wrapped things up tidily but rather cliched. You have one of the most fascinating and complicated female characters - Mary Carelli - both refreshing and compelling to discover. And then there is little-miss-perfect-do-gooder -Terri -that honestly is exhausting to follow throughout the story; I had to skip some of her scene at the end ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those Who Like a Good Legal Thriller
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Readling List
I actually haven't read many legal thrillers. The one before this I remember best was Grisham's The Firm and the one I read just before this was Lescroart's Hard Evidence. Patterson has it all over Lescroart, who within a hundred pages showed he knew nothing of the law, completely losing credibility. And credibility is important, whether you're writing about a nuclear submarine or medieval London. Patterson, who worked as a trial attorney and was a liaison to the Watergate special prosecutor, ha ...more
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another of Richard North Patterson's legal thrillers. This one revolves around Christopher Paget, a lawyer who had previously brought down a president with the help of Mary Carelli. Now a high profile TV journalist, and mother of his child. She has called him to the police station where she is being held after shooting dead Mark Ransom, America's pre-eminent novelist. The only thing certain is that she did shoot him, but why?[return][return]This book is stuffed full of twists and turns that you ...more
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I started this book in March. It started off with a lot of promise. Unfortunately, about 1/3 of the way through I realized I simply didn't like any of the characters so it was hard to care what became of them. At that point Degree of Guilt became my back up book, to be read when nothing better was on my night stand. After a couple months I started skipping through. I probably read the first third, a few short middle sections and the final 5% so maybe I inadvertently skipped over some great parts ...more
I read this book years ago, and identified quite strongly -- for reasons of my own -- with the young attorney Terri Peralta. Now that I'm more removed from my own situation I can see the sometimes glaring flaws in the plot, at least from a trial lawyer's perspective. The thinly-veiled characters of Mark Ransom, Laura Chase and James Colt are a little too obvious, at least to readers of my generation. Still, Patterson writes an intelligent legal thriller and one that keeps the reader engaged thro ...more
Linda Gosslin
Sep 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book, chronologically, featuring Christopher Paget. Having met him and Mary Carelli in The Lasko Tangent, I was interested in seeing what the future held for them.
It is many years later. We learn that a child was born from the brief intimacy shared by Chris and Mary. Mary is accused of murder and Chris is fathering Carlos, a child he never met until he was 7 years old. The dynamics of the relationship between his parents and the ongoing investigation and trial are well written
Really a 2.5. I'm trying to figure out what bugged me about this book because I liked the story and the different phases of the crime. It took me a long time to finish which is unusual. Part of it was that I was tired of Teresa always saying the perfect words and acting in a perfect way, while everyone else had major flaws. Caroline's story was never fully explained and yet others were explained multiple times. I like this author but this is not one of my favorites.
J. Ewbank
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Patterson's books are normally wonderful and this one is no different. There are twists and turns that you do not expect and cannot see coming. The characters are well drawn and the plot, as I said, keeps bringing surprises. A wonderful read. You hate to put it down.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms" "Wesley's Wars" "To Whom It May Concern" and "Tell Me About the United Methodist Church"
Nov 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was interesting so long as the author kept to the crux of the story, the crime and the trial, but he likes to go off on his personal relationships and gives us TMI. Also, in my opinion, he goes a bit overboard with the sexual aspects surrounding the got a bit gaggy at times. However, that being said, I am stubborn enough to finish out the series and will now go on to read "Eyes of a Child," the last of three in this crime/courtroom drama series.
Just finished "degree of guilt". Bit of a struggle to get through it. Some disturbing aspects about the crime scene and evidence that make for uncomfortable reading. Legal elements a bit tortuous. Liked the judge, not keen on any of the other characters. Didn't realise it was part of a trilogy until reading reviews on here. Don't think I'll be troubling myself to pick up the other two parts.
Jan 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A reasonably good read. I sometimes found the characters far fetched, and I'm not quite sure that I bought into the ending ...but entertaining and distracting which is what I look for in a "page turner".
Sue Shipley
Mar 02, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book has too much thinking and talking, not very much action. Touches on many distasteful topics
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Degree of Guilt, brilliantly named for what it offered up, is at best a legal artwork. It highlights the nuances in the law, as well as in the characters who take on the task of dealing with it. The grey area where the intensities of what is real and what is fabricated, cannot abide by regular moralities, and therefore must leave the reader to find his/her own level of comfort with the story and its consequences. Patterson doesn't skirt around controversies, and engages them head on to almost ba ...more
Mahesh Kumar
This is the first time I have read about the legal proceedings of any case. Not a great thriller but just enough to turn the pages and like to see if your assumptions come true. I have not read any other books that dealt the psyche of victims of sexual assaults to this effect.
Carrie Guthrie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aditi Shah
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book, as I recall, was a page-turner. And although I read it a really long time ago with much of the details fading from memory, there is one quote I recall distinctly - "What is harder, knowing the truth or finding it, telling it or being believed." This one sticks.
Sandra Campbell
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really absorbing courtroom drama
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, but somewhat predictable. Doesn't intrigue me enough to read another Paget book.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s decent. Not my fave of his, but good. It’s triggering though, so be careful of that.
Jenn Andrew
Jul 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with a Washington's Post review I read stating that this book was "one intense courtroom dash after another…an intelligent and gripping thriller".

I enjoy courtroom drama and Richard North Patterson really knows how to get you involved in the drama. The author studied fiction writing at the University of Alabama but he makes you believe that he has practical law experience. The courtroom drama is so real to life.

The story centers on a well-known and successful female journalist named Ma
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first introduction to Richard North Patterson. The novel was in a bag of books that I was given for 'recycling'. I’m so glad that I decided I should glance over the titles before immediately passing them forward. This novel has definitely earned my praise as one of my highest recommendations / examples of legal thrillers. I haven't found as compelling a legal novel since reading Brad Meltzer’s "The Tenth Justice" or John Lescroart's "The 13th Juror” and my appreciation of the charact ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Reading this court room thriller by Richard North Patterson (my second title from him) reminds me why I've grown weary of Grisham lately. While Grisham has a tendency to focus on an interesting issue, he also gives you flat characters to act within them. Patterson gives you characters with dimension. Christopher is dealing with the complex feelings of being a single dad and having to defend the boy's mother. Mary Corelli, the woman on trial, is chock full of moral ambiguities. Their son, Carlo, ...more
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent read. I like how Patterson handled rape in this book. There were a few characters who had been raped or who had been attempted raped and he handled the situation delicately and honestly. Mary Carelli is a character I loved to hate, you know she isn’t telling the truth but she is such a good liar that you believe her anyway. This book was beautifully written, packed with drama and full of twists and turns. You never knew what was coming up next. I thought I had it figured ou ...more
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a paramount plot, one of a kind for smart guys, where the reader is forced to think deeply in order to medidate about all the offered scattered events so as to understand how the situations unfold and relate

Characters are very well created and developed and some of them relate to RNP other books.

As we approach the ending, we expect Judge Masters ruling with total anxiety, however this is solved fast paced in just one chapter leaving a bitter taste after 500 pag
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I accidentally picked this book up, because I thought it was written by the other Patterson, who I have not read, and thought I should given that he seems to write twenty percent of novels lately.

At any rate, this book was easy to read and contained somewhat interesting characters who were caught up in situations that were, to be honest, completely unbelievable. It was a bit long-winded, and seemed to be trying way too hard, but I found myself turning the pages right up until the end, even thou
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Goodreads Librari...: bad description 3 29 Jan 12, 2014 08:52AM  
  • Pleading Guilty
  • The 13th Juror (Dismas Hardy, #4)
  • The Judge (Paul Madriani #4)
  • After Dark
  • Reversible Error (Butch Karp, #4)
  • Perfect Justice (Ben Kencaid, #4)
  • The Tenth Justice
  • Extreme Measures
  • Move to Strike (Nina Reilly #6)
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.
More about Richard North Patterson...

Other Books in the Series

Christopher Paget (4 books)
  • The Lasko Tangent (Christopher Paget, #1)
  • Eyes of a Child (Christopher Paget, #3)
  • Conviction (Christopher Paget, #4)
“The impostor syndrome. I know it well. Inside every self-assured professional lives a frightened neurotic who prays that he can somehow succeed before his clients discover the fraud. It’s the guilty secret that drives us all.” 0 likes
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