Customer Reviews

A definite 5-star thriller! January 24, 2002 By Bill Garrison (Oklahoma City, OK USA)
Corridors of Power, Mystery and Intrique January 29, 2001 By A Customer
Book Rating (175)

The First Counsel

John F. Kennedy, Jr., was Lark.
Amy Carter was Dynamo.
Chelsea Clinton was Energy.
Meet Shadow from Brad Meltzer’s The First Counsel

Shadow is the Secret Service code name for First Daughter Nora Hartson. And when Michael Garrick, a young White House lawyer, begins dating the irresistible Nora, he’s instantly spellbound, just like everyone else in her world.

It’s a world all of us have heard about but few of us really know. A world where power is an aphrodisiac, your father is the President, your close friends wear earpieces and carry guns, and everyone watches your every move.

Like most, Michael thinks he can handle the pressure. Until, while together late one night, he and Nora witness something they were never meant to see—and become ensnared in a secret agenda, a scheme by a White House insider that includes betrayal and murder.

Suddenly, this young Washington power broker, who just yesterday was out on a dream date, finds himself trusting no one, not even Nora, in a battle to prove his innocence. It’s a battle that will shake the walls of the Oval Office to their foundations—and may ultimately cost Michael Garrick his life.

In a fresh and knowing voice, Meltzer takes us down the rabbit hole of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and paints a riveting picture of a danger only one man will know—what it’s like to fall in love with the world’s most powerful daughter.

The President’s Daughter.
You’ve never dated anyone like this.

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Brad Answers All

Q. Were you thinking of any President in particular when you wrote this book?

No—I was thinking of all of them. Sadly, you don’t get to be President by being Father of the Year.

Q. While you write thrillers, most people think of you as a “legal thriller” writer. However, this book really deals more with politics than the law. What was the reason for that decision?

It really wasn’t a decision. I just try to write the best book I can. When I researched this one, I thought, “Hey, this White House place is pretty keen.” That was it. As for genres, that just seems silly. Genres can be great, but they’re also a trap. Don’t write for genres. Write for yourself.

Q. Let’s talk about The West Wing. What’s the story? Do you watch it?

Ah, The West Wing. First, it’s a brilliant show, and yes, I love the writing. Second, I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t make me nuts. Why? Here’s the history: The week I started researching  The First Counsel was the same week the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. The Washington Post then wrote this big story about how the Washington thriller was dead, and how no one could compete with reality. And there I was, thinking, “Oh, God—I’m about to start a Washington thriller. How can it be dead?”

Little did I know that two years later, The West Wing would be one of the best shows on television. Of course, by the time it aired, I was already in the editing stage. Then I watched the first show. They deal with the census. In The First Counsel, the opening meeting talks about the census. Their President’s name is Bartlet. In The First Counsel, the politician running against the President is named Bartlett. I almost ate my remote right there. Obviously, it was just a coincidence (the census is always a good, solid, play-at-any-time issue), but it was still nuts. As for Bartlet, that was just freaky weird. Yes, I could’ve changed it—there was time—but that was the name I picked and I wasn’t changing it for anyone. Now, in the book, it just seems like a inside joke.

Q. Is Nora based on a real first daughter?

No (and even if it was Yes, I’d lie).

Need More Brad? Click below to see a full in-depth interview with him talking about his other books, writing in general, and why he always hates his author photos.