Blindside by Ed Gorman
Political consultant Dev Conrad is back for his third outing, this time doing a favor for an old friend of his father -- and it's going to get messy.
Former Congressman Tom Ward once saved Conrad's father's life. His son Jeff is now a Congressman and is in a battle for reelection. Jeff Ward is a liberal who actually does a decent job in Washington. He is also an egoistic megalomaniac who can't comprehend the phrase "zip it up." His opponent, Rusty Burkhart, is a charismatic and jingoistic multimillionaire ho wants to make "every sitting member of Congress sign a loyalty oarth and then he was going to suppoena the private e-mails of a target list of House and Senate members he suspected of being 'anti-American.' During all this time he was going to permanently shut down the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency and he was going to prove once and for all that the president was a Muslim Manchurian Candidate." Burkhart is ahead in the polls, in part because there is a mole in Ward's camgaign organization.
The former Congressman asks Conrad to "consult" with his son's campaign for a couple of days and to try to find the mole.
Ward's campaign is in turmoil. The candidate resents Conrad's appearance and begins acting like a petulent child. His decisions are hurting the campaign. He is being blackmailed. His speechwriter (and best friend) is missing because Ward slept with his wife. The day Conrad shows up, another staffer is found murdered. One of Conrad's rivals, a viscious and immoral campaigner, is running Burkhart's campaign.
Conrad finds himself fighting for a candidate he despises, in part because the alternative is far worse. But this is politics and Conrad has had to make these decisions many times before. His personal life continues to darken when his ex-wife discovers she has third-stage breast cancer, a situation that causes Conrad to look back on all the wrong choices he has made in his life.
Ed Gorman is one of the best suspense writers he have. He knows the inside workings of political campaign well. This series of down and dirty politics make for exciting reading. Dev Conrad is a likeable character often placed in unlikeable situations and I hope he continues solving mysteries for a long time.