Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Flashpoint by Ed Gorman (2013)

Political consultant Dev Conrad's fourth outing has him working for Robert Logan, a liberal senator up for reelection and an old friend.  As often happens, scandal and murder interfere with his client's chances for reelection.

Logan, long perceived as a happily married man, has at least one affair in his past and -- possibly -- one in his present.  Beautiful Tracy Cabot has been showing up at Logan's appearance a bit too often, has been seen talking alone with the Senator a bit too often.  Logan, one of the good and caring politicians, also has the sense of privilege that seems to come with high political office.  He appears to be responding to Tracy's advances.  But Tracy is a plant sent by the opposition to put Logan in a compromising position, hopefully in a photographed position.  Seems Tracy has a history of seducing liberal politicians and sinking their elections.

When Logan calls him and insists he drive out to Logan's vacation cabin immediately, refusing to say why, Conrad knows that something is very wrong.  The very wrong something is a bludgeoned -- and dead -- Tracy on the cabin floor.  Logan insists that he is innocent.  Even though he knows that his client is holding something back, Conrad believes him.  The police and the media (especially the opposition media) don't.

Flashpoint is set in a political world that Gorman knows well, a high-stakes world of compromise, deals, and corruption, and a world where sometimes good things happen.  The author has always amazed me with his empathetic abilities; few authors -- in any genre -- can give depth to characters as easily and concisely as Gorman.

Also in the book you'll find some political dirt, a character named "Leo Guild," a nod the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers film, and mention of General Smedley Butler, whose military aide and one-time co-author would later become one of the great pulp writers, Arthur K. Burks (something, alas, not mentioned by Gorman).

Flashpoint is a solid character-driven political mystery.  This one should get the popular vote because it's a winner.

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