DARK HORSE by Doug Richardson

DARK HORSE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A wickedly sleazy small-town mano a mano political thriller pits a naive yuppie lawyer against a homicidal cracker in a vicious southern Texas race for the US Congress. When the perennially elected, gratuitously corrupt, good-old- boy Congressman George ``Hurricane'' Hammond literally falls off his horse and dies of an all-too-convenient heart attack, his straw-dog Democratic rival, nice-guy attorney Mitch Dutton, wakes up to the possibility that he just might be Washington-bound. He's not exactly a cookie-cutter candidate, though--his marijuana- puffing wife Connie has strange friends; the couple is childless- -and Mitch had anticipated a clean, honorable campaign. That last part changes when Shakespeare ``Shakes'' McCann, a white-haired scallywag with bad skin, determined to be in Hurricane Hammond's boots come November, enters the scene. In McCann, newcomer Richardson, who previously penned the film Die Hard II, has a delightful southern-fried snake-in-the-grass who so sincerely believes that the best man wins in politics that he eagerly murders, blackmails, and even seduces Mitch's wife to challenge his opponet's lead. Among the figures involved in this frequently hilarious duel to the death are Mitch's spineless spin doctor, Fitz Kolatch, who runs the campaign from an ex-brothel; loathsome newspaper reporter Hollice Waters; ``gazillionarie'' backer Vidor Kingman, and seductive campaign aide Rene Craven. These and other vile schemers, all out to buy, or at least rent, Mitch's idealistic soul, contrast wonderfully with the cheap hypocrisies of the brain- dead electorate of Cathedral Island, a pompous Texas seaside resort town that becomes the microcosm of a political system that, as Richardson describes it, furthers the careers only of the crazy, the homicidal, or the stupid. Occasionally gory, darkly cynical, over-the-top political slam-dunk, with comic portrayals of campaign tricks so dirty it's amazing that they're legal. (First printing of 125,000; film rights to Imagine Entertainment)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-380-97314-6
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1996




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