Richard North Patterson, Author . Holt $26 (369p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8772-7

This stellar legal thriller from bestseller Patterson (Exile ) both informs and entertains. On the eve of getting a divorce, Damon Pierce, a 40-year-old partner in a huge San Francisco, Calif., law firm, who specializes in international litigation, e-mails Marissa Brand, a woman he was once in love with in college, to update her on his life. Marissa is married to Bobby Okari, a firebrand reformer whose Nigeria-like country, Luandia, is awash in oil. With these riches come the usual scenarios: ecological disasters, a brutal dictator with murderous henchmen, a rapacious foreign oil company and an oppressed populace. After everyone in Okari's village is slaughtered, Bobby is arrested for the lynching of three oil workers. Damon, because he's a good man and because he's still in love with Marissa, signs on to defend Bobby from the bogus charge. Patterson has exerted all his considerable skill in creating a nightmare atmosphere that will cling to readers long after the last page is turned. Author tour. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 10/20/2008
Release date: 01/01/2009
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