Add trouble-shooter Tom Bethany (just one of his several names) to the tough-mouthed, tough-minded Boston contingent, in this first novel from a former Carter speechwriter. When Bethany is asked to research J. Alden Kellicott, a potential choice for secretary of state in the new administration, should it be elected in, he uncovers a few warts: Kellicott's wife drinks; he's been spotted in kiddie-porn shops; and his daughter Emily's murder is still listed as unsolved, even though her pimp's initials, P.L. for Pink Lloyd, were carved on her breasts. The more Bethany digs into the homicide, the murkier matters become--including a discrepancy between Kellicott's version of Emily (a drugged-out hooker) and everyone else's (a terrific girl, but she swore her dad died when she was thirteen!). There'll be another murder, an attempt on Bethany's life, and much nitty-gritty forensic interpretations before Emily's murder is resolved and the perp is gruesomely dispatched by a vengeful massage-parlor owner--with the help of the cops and Bethany. Well-oiled and maybe just a shade too slick, but Bethany's political savvy and his cynicism produce a jolting read.