The Spire by Richard North Patterson

spireReviewed by Cy Hilterman

A Spire makes one think of a nice tall structure similar to the Washington Monument, nice to view and if energetic, climb the stairs inside to the top for a grand view. Patterson’s Spire—not so! The Spire is located near the center of Caldwell College and over the years has been the center of some serious problems involving students and sometimes faculty. The stairs inside are narrow and very steep and lead to a top where there are bells. Mark Darrow who was a student at the time and was a football hero found Angela Hall murdered at the base of the Spire. Ever since the murder Caldwell College had been in decline and needed someone to get the school moving forward once again. When Darrow had found Angela, Lionel Farr was a teacher at the school and one of the first to reach the terrible scene by the Spire.

Years later Farr had summoned Darrow to come to Caldwell wanting to discuss something regarding the school. It seems that $900,000.00 had disappeared from the school funds and Farr told Farrow his thoughts of who was involved, followed by asking Darrow to become President of Caldwell College and help get the school going forward and finding the missing money. A good friend of Darrrow’s had been accused of Angela’s murder and was found guilty and was in prison. Farr had a daughter younger than Darrow but Taylor had always liked Darrow since she was seven-years old.

Darrow accepted the job as president, knowing that Farr was the provost and they would work together with each other along with the College Board. Darrow started his new job with many questions in his mind about the murder of Angela many years ago, the person serving time for that murder, and about the missing money. He had his hands full but he took his time doing much research and asked many questions of former friends that still lived in the area, the police whose chief was a rookie cop at the time of the murder, and any other former students that were working in the area or nearby. Along his path of inquisition he started to have many feelings for Taylor, Farr’s daughter who was now a beautiful woman.

Patterson spins a great story that some times goes back in time to the time of the murder so Darrow could remember details more thoroughly. He visited the prisoner, Steve, in prison quite a few times, still feeling Steve might not be guilty. You will not be disappointed in this excellent story. It is written very well and doesn’t lose you in its time exchanges or characters from the past or present. I highly recommend it. You will be kept in suspended doubt as to who did what.

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