St. Martin's, Jun 2004, 24.95, 336 pp.
New Jersey Governor "Rebound" Rothman runs for the senate with plans to go for the White House next. However, Rebound has three-decade-old skeletons in his closet. He has hidden away one female intern, former township beauty queen winner and All American bimbo Simone Lava, in Atlantic City's Celebrity Motel, run down since the first Johnson Administration. .However, someone films Rebound's tryst proclivities.
Rebound hires pollster Jonah Eastman to fix his senate run. Jonah handed Rebound the governorship when he painted the opponent as causing a hurricane the size of Asia that destroyed rural South Jersey (do not laugh; there really is a rural Jersey). Spinning the film is easy. Dealing with Rebound's support of riverboat gambling in light of a credibility gap involving crooked casino owners is complex because investigative reporter Barri “Barium Enema” Embry needs political exposés to connive his way to cross the Hudson. Jonah brings in the troops, damage control expert Chief Willie Thundercloud and nonagenarian former mob enforcer Irv the Curve to spin a tale that Machiavelli would appreciate.
As with JACKIE DISASTER, SHAKEDOWN BEACH is a terrific look at modern day image making that our leaders spend fortunes on to include painting the opponent in a bad light. Truth is meaningless as Jonah and his associates know that for Rebound to win they must provide an Atlantic Ocean size lie or two about their client and his opponent. Witty, humorous, but in many ways frightening, the story line will shake readers as they realize Madison Avenue not oil runs the country. Eric Dezenhall makes New Jersey the spin capital of the world with a tale well worth reading especially with the election coming soon.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner