"Fall From Grace" (Scribner), by Richard North Patterson: Buried secrets threaten to devastate a family in Richard North Patterson's latest saga, "Fall From Grace."
Adam Blaine was estranged for years from his novelist-father, Ben. He returns home when his father dies in a fall off a cliff.
The funeral is a somber affair, but what follows next shocks Adam: His mother has been disinherited from his father's will. Instead, the money is being given to Ben's secret lover.
The police are investigating whether Ben's death was an accident. Each family member has a motive, forcing Adam to ask tough questions.
Every answer opens old wounds. Secrets that have been dormant for years rise to the surface, and Adam will have to confront the reason he was estranged from his father. (Adam has secrets of his own, some involving Ben, others involving his future.)
The sappy family drama that slowly unravels over the course of the novel is neither surprising nor inventive. The twists and turns are obvious, making the final pages of "Fall From Grace" a bit of a letdown. Adam is revealed to be a CIA operative, but that's just another unnecessary element. With no likable characters or situations, the overall experience is disappointing.