Eden in Winter (Martha’s Vineyard #3), by Richard North Patterson

Three stars (of five)

I wish to thank Netgalley, Richard North Patterson, and Quercus Books (US) for allowing me to re-read and review this novel, penned by an author for whom I have much respect.

Patterson completes the Martha’s Vineyard trilogy by returning to the present, and the inquest into Ben Blaine’s death. Adam, having taken over the role of shepherd to his directionless family, tries his best to steer suspicion away by sabotaging the evidence on file with the district attorney. Adam is also trying to make more sense of the revelations of his own family’s inner deterioration, both recently and over the past decade. Making an effort to get a better understanding of Carla Pacelli, the woman whose pregnancy lies at the centre of the ever-evolving drama, Adam soon discovers a close-knit friendship with her, as they bond over their respective life stories. While juggling his covert job and the legal matters sure to bury his family, Adam is drawn closer to this forbidden fruit and all she offers. Could building something with Carla be Adam’s best shot at getting back at Ben for all he’s done, as well as the family that’s left him to clean up their mess? Patterson concludes the Blaine story, somewhat unconventionally and in a somewhat anti-climactic manner, leaving some to wonder the impetus of the entire three-book series.

Perhaps it is the deeply analytical nature of this trilogy, or the complete turnaround taken in this writing style, but I am not as fond of this Patterson collection. While the middle book was outstanding and told a deeply reflective story, the first and third novels were less about the inner workings of the machine than a constant flitting from past to present. I felt little connection to these characters, even Carla, who bears all throughout the novel.While perhaps slightly harsh, I hope Patterson returns to the powerful political novels with which I am familiar. That said, it was a powerfully crafted and narrated book, worth examining for any reader seeking a deeper inner-look at family politics.
Kudos, Mr. Patterson for this novel and the entire trilogy. While not my favourites, they did force me to think outside the box in which I usually find myself.