cover image Loss of Innocence

Loss of Innocence

Richard North Patterson. Quercus, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-62365-092-6

Thriller author Patterson ventures into mainstream waters with mixed results in this follow-up to 2012’s Fall from Grace, the second entry in a projected trilogy. In June 1968, 21-year-old Whitney Dane, a child of privilege, is looking forward to her September wedding to Peter Brooks, her socially suitable college sweetheart, on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., where her family has a summer house. Whitney anticipates having the picture-perfect marriage of her proper parents, but the times are a-changin’, and things do not go as planned. Early one late June morning, after a swim in the ocean, Whitney encounters Benjamin Blaine, a college dropout who grew up on the island and worked for Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Readers will know that poor Whitney will never be the same after meeting Ben, whose “angular frame, taller than Peter’s, suggested litheness and grace even when still.” The plot meanders along without surprise until a few shockers are thrown in toward the end. The result resembles nothing so much as a minor John O’Hara book, concerned, as that author’s work usually was, with notions of class, personal and political change, and, most of all, heartbreak. First printing of 150,000. Agent: Cullen Stanley, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (Oct.)