LUCKY BASTARD by Charles McCarry


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Deftly written, mordantly cynical send-up of a bed-hopping Kennedyesque scoundrel, charming in his own way, who thinks he’s JFK’s illegitimate child and so resolves to run for the Presidency. The ninth novel from McCarry is but a small step removed from his worldly-wise eight-volume Paul Christopher spy series (Shelley’s Heart, 1995, etc.). Through Dmitri, a former KGB colonel living in happy, post-Communist exile in America, we meet Jack Fitzgerald Adams, a cowardly, good-looking, sexually prodigious liar from Tannery Falls, Ohio. Recruited by the KGB while attending Columbia University during the era of the Vietnam War protests, Jack is eagerly led by Dmitri’s diabolically intelligent superior, a suavely satanic Åbermensch known as Peter, into the kinky clutches first of radical Marxist Greta FÅrst, who has torrid sex with him in public places, and then into those of brainy Harvard MBA (and secret fanatic Communist subversive) Morgan Weatherby, who has almost no sex in him at all. After Peter flashes Jack incriminating photos of his sexual exploits, Jack agrees to marry Morgan and practice law back in Ohio with his best friend, crippled Vietnam vet Danny Miller. But alas, unbeknownst to Danny, Jack had raped Danny’s wife, Cindy, while Danny was overseas. Unsure whether it was Danny or Jack who got her pregnant, Cindy had aborted the fetus and has hated Jack ever since. Though Morgan wrings the truth from her, this betrayal by Jack anticipates his ever larger and more audacious acts of fraud, carelessness, and sexual license as his KGB handlers (now working for the Chinese) craft him into a populist hero for an easily seduced electorate. Nasty Kennedy-Clinton parallels abound in a ribald, snickeringly ironic political fantasy. McCarry dedicates Lucky Bastard to the late Richard Condon, whose dizzy, over-the-top social satires it resembles. (Author tour)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-679-44761-X
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1998


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