St. Martin's, Apr 2008, $23.95
The US Senator from Illinois the Honorable Warren Nichols and his long political consultant Phil Wylie acrimoniously argue before the latter angrily quits the reelection campaign. Not long after their public spat, Wylie commits suicide. Based on the polls Nichols knew the race would be close as his opponent right-wing conservative Jim Lake has strong backing, but he still expected to win in spite his inability to keep the zipper up and the flag pole from a “bimbo eruption”. However the death of Wylie places Nichols at risk of losing.
Nichols hires Dev Conrad as a political consultant just before a critical debate between the candidates is scheduled. The race already dirty turns ugly and perhaps illegal as both sides use dirty tricks. However, Dev has issues with his team as he thinks they have gone too far. He believes Nicholas’ staffers are using blackmail and campaign sabotage to destroy the opposition’s support.
Ed Gorman makes a strong case that those who can make it work private; those who cannot make it work government, and those who cannot work run for office. The story line satirizes the American way of electing officials as being no better than a Hollywood B horror flick. Surprisingly although this is a dark lampooning of the electoral process and its candidates, Dev is combination optimistic cynic with a rationalization to believe the system works yet expects the worst out of those who become the poster faces of that system. Ironically Mr. Gorman is at his cynical optimistic best with this entertaining look at the American electoral process and the mugs who try to con us that we own it.