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Publisher's Summary

Christopher Paget is a trial lawyer with a famous past. As a young investigator he brought down a president. It cost him his relationship with Mary Carelli. Fifteen years have passed while Paget raises their son, seeking privacy. Until a murder changes everything.

Now a television journalist, Mary is charged in an eminent novelist's death. Her defense is attempted rape, and she wants Paget to defend her. But a fateful question remains: was it self-defense...or murder?

©1992 Richard North Patterson (P)1994 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"One intense courtroom clash after another....An intelligent and gripping thriller." (Washington Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Rajesh
  • Ahmedabad Gujarat India
  • 12-14-04

A must listen for most

This is a good book. It is well written and read. The characters are intense and the relationships handled in the story complex. The plot dwells around rape and sexual abuse, but the book is also about the way multiple relationships function while handling complex issues. There are powerful husband-wife, son-father, girlfriends, friends and more relationships scenes in the book that may touch you. And, yes there is a super plot full of suspense and excellent courtroom drama with an intelligent judge who became one of my favorite characters in the book. Who, why, how did it question in the book makes it even more gripping.

It is a classic thriller that provided me with a great time!
Let not the size of the book nor the year of publication give you second thoughts?download now and you will not be disappointed.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Patricia
  • Bayfield, Colorado United States
  • 01-02-06

Degree of Guilt

There must have been a book prior to this one that contains the story between Christopher Paget and Mary Carelli and I didn't read it. I kept feeling like I was missing some information. I kept having to fill in the blanks with what I thought must have happened.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Paula
  • Overland Park, KS USA
  • 06-10-14

Great Court Room and Family Drama

Ignore the naysayers -- this is an outstanding novel featuring an engrossing court room drama. The story is lengthy but superb in terms of characters, legal drama and pace. Some say it needed a different/better narrator, but I appreciated Adams' performance because it did not get in the way of the story. He simply told it, using a minimum of different voices. If you are a fan of legal/court room dramas, this is a must read. Patterson truly nailed it.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Snoodely
  • Santa Barbara, CA United States
  • 11-17-12

All about sex

"Degree of Guilt" verges on pornography, at times -- actually, lots of times -- however, only a disturbed person could find any titillation in the porn depicted here. This extraordinary novel might offend many people; and I would advise anyone with delicate or devout sensibilities to bypass this audiobook. It concerns perverted, sick, non-romantic sex. Surprisingly, Richard North Patterson does a commendable, reasonably accurate job of portraying this distasteful subject from a woman's point of view -- or, rather, from the viewpoint of several abused women. I would never label "Degree of Guilt" a pleasant read -- definitely not fun escape-fiction -- but it remains timely, pertinent, and important, even despite its old publication date. This audiobook will make you think. It has an intricate, well-crafted plot, in which Patterson gradually unfolds needed backstory with intermittent flashbacks, while skillfully developing each of the intriguing characters. I have two minor complaints with this audiobook. First, I didn't like the choice of reader: Alexander Adams has an unpleasant voice, reads too fast, and doesn't distinguish the characters from one another adequately. Clearly, this novel should have been read by a top female actor, like Barbara Rosenblat, for instance. Secondly, I cite my pet production peeve: bookmarks too far apart. Audible set the bookmarks almost one hour apart, with no reference to logical chapter, paragraph, or sentence breaks. I suspect that Audible may have corrected this problem in more recent offerings; but this audiobook was published a long time ago, when someone had the aesthetic of making the bookmarks look evenly-spaced on one's iPod. Otherwise, I recommend "Degree of Guilt" to anyone who can appreciate a legal drama with a serious, unpleasant topic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Pacbell
  • shell beach, ca, United States
  • 07-30-12

Great marketing, poor writing

What disappointed you about Degree of Guilt?

Severely misrepresented as an extraordinary courtroom novel. Rather, it is simply repeated, detailed sexual encounters cloaked in an adjudication veil. Courtroom strategy is a minute part of the story (and is also dominated by vivid sexual descriptions). This is junk writing complete with grammatical errors.

Would you ever listen to anything by Richard North Patterson again?

Absolutely not. I started with another and stopped early on hoping my initial choice was bad.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Voice training.

What character would you cut from Degree of Guilt?


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A great read, really well written.

Of all the writers of courtroom procedurals, Richard North Patterson is my favorite. He creates characters that live and breathe. His plots are complex and his storylines have wonderful twists and turns,. I've read this one twice now and will probably read it again. It's got great pacing, believable dialogue, enough complexity to keep you guessing. It was just as enjoyable the second time around as it was the first. It's a long book that you wind up wishing were even longer! A winner on all fronts.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

This Guy is Good!

Richard North Patterson writes good books-- plain and simple. This is my second of his and I can see that it won't be the last. As you listen, you find that you REALLY CARE about the characters, the plot, and what happens. The action is realistic yet exciting. The plot involves both love and sex at times, yet is never sappy or sleazy. The plot twists are genuine. Enjoy this book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jason
  • Granada Hills, CA, USA
  • 03-05-05

Worth your listen!

This was a very good book, with outstanding naration. It is read in three parts. The first two are very moving, and you will not want to stop listening. The last part was a little difficult to get through, and became a bit predictable.

I would definately recomend it, and you will be glad you gave it a listen

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steven
  • Reno, NV, USA
  • 01-31-05


A moving story told with great skill. Fantastic narration. The first audio book where I thought I might cry near the end. Touching.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Sophomoric over use of certain words unsatisfying

I waited a couple of weeks after finishing the book to let it settle before reviewing . . . not that the world waits for my reviews. Christopher Paget, the main character in the story, has overcome much and is a good man worth knowing. That said, I would warn any reader that this book seems to belong in Penthouse or the like! I do NOT condone violence perpetrated on women, especially rape . . . nor have I ever been tempted to do so. However, the author could have denounced same without mentioning penis, erection & and penetration dozens of times to the point of ad nauseum! Not many reviews posted here on Degree of Guilt for the time that it has been out. Perhaps this is why. Listener take heed, this book is not for everyone. It is not that I am a prude or have no sympathy for abused women. It is simply that RNP seemed a tad sophomoric with his continuous use of these words and phrases . . . as if it pleased him to be able to do so.

I was totally blown away with RNP's "Exile" and had high hopes for Degree of Guilt. The plot was good and it wove a nice story that COULD have been less in spots to have ended up more! It was all I could do to finish it. In fact, that goal became a chore!

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • A. Gouldson
  • 04-26-09

Excellent listening

I really loved this intelligent novel - Crime and passion and clever lawyers! Keeps you wondering to the end! Wonderfully read!It is the first of this authors books that I have listened to, I will definitely try his others.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Elizabeth Davies
  • 07-19-10


.... on every level. Well crafted and narrated. This is an exceptional 'listen' I will look out for this author and narrator again. Brilliant !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful