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The First Counsel

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  7,464 Ratings  ·  338 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 9th 2001)
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Rating details
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Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read! An exciting thriller of a storyline -- an author at his BEST! (paperback!)
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 e
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 pl
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 flie ...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
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 liv ...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 ;-)
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.
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: 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
Gulshan Batra
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
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
All Mota
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novela
Es un buen thriller, aumenta la velocidad cuando es necesario y no resulta nada pesado.

Pero me parece tan banal, y tan simplista, o sea, y eso que el plot es tremendamente exagerado, el protagonista sale con la hija del presidente de Estados Unidos, y en realidad, eso, hasta un punto, se vuelve creíble, incluso poco emocionante, monótono, es un tema que se repite, y entiendo la importancia, pero te recuerda a cada rato que ESTA SALIENDO CON LA HIJA DEL PRESIDENTE.

Los personajes me resultaron un
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 n
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.
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.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My girlfriend recommended this novel to me, and now I can't thank her enough for it! I became a bit skeptical after the first few hundred pages, but as I kept reading I found out that Brad Meltzer can create some of the most complex and interesting characters!
Russ Bertetta
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good political page turner. Didn't expect the ending. Much, much better than the last Meltzer book I read earlier this year. Worth the time.
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
each book i'm reading of Meltzers I'm enjoying more. i wish i would have discovered these books sooner. a new style of thriller for me. each book a different set of characters and mystery to solve.
May 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dreaded reading this. The president's daughter is not at all likable and the "first counsel" looks stupid for putting up with the drama. I read enough reviews to realize it doesn't get better.
Andy Plonka
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: src
An easy to figure out murder ,or murders, but the information about behind the Scenes White House and legal bits and pieces were interesting.
Christine Braybrook
Excellent reading, with murder, intrigue and a little bit of romance.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought it was pretty good.
Diane Houdeshell
I really didn’t enjoy this book at all. It started off with some promo, but quickly went foo. The only reason I continued reading was to find out who the bad guy was.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, audiobook
Discovered near the end that I was reading an abridged version. That explained the choppiness of the story, the lack of transitions from scene to scene, etc. The storyline was okay but was missing energy and motivation.
Avoid abridged versions. It's like someone picking out the parts of a song they think are best; it just doesn't work.
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
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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 nine other bestselling thrillers including The Tenth Justice, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, and The 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 lis
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“Pam described herself as the person in fifth grade who got left behind when her friends got popular. ” 2 likes
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