Five Star, Sep 2004, 25.95, 372 pp.
The polls agreed that Republican challenger Carl Wardlow would win the White House from Democratic incumbent Benjamin Forsyth. However, the prognosticators proved wrong because Independent candidate Marshall Young took Maryland and Maine. The results are a dead heat in the Electoral College and twenty-four states each for the two prime candidates although the popular vote went to Wardlow by a 53 to 45 percent margin. The election will be decided by the House for the first time in two centuries. Everyone accepts that the forty-eight states that went Democrat or Republican will adhere to the wishes of their voters or lose their office. Thus the election hinges on Maine and Maryland.
Forsyth's key advisor and campaign manager Arch Longstreet will do anything including illegal surveillance and blackmail to insure his man remains in the Oval Office. His prime target is influential Maryland Congressman Trey Stone. Arch's thugs have caught the seemingly clean married Trey in a rendezvous with a friend Laura Weddington although he met with her as a favor only. Now he must decide between having the courage to stand up to his convictions on what is right or allow a do nothing president to use blackmail to continue to not run the country.
This exciting political thriller comes on the heels of the wild 2000 election and the potentially even wilder upcoming 2004 race. The story line is at its best when all the president's men try to strong-arm and sweet talk Trey into supporting Forsyth. Though a subplot involving Trey, his wife, and their daughter adds suspense; that premise also takes away from the powerful look at a tie leading to a House vote on who will become the next president.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner