Buffa aims for a sexy, “ripped-from-the-headlines” approach in this Washington-based political thriller.
Special Agent for the Secret Service Richard Bauman is accustomed to U.S. President Robert Constable’s sexual assignations: the president likes young women, and they like him. But this time something goes wrong and the woman who was having sex with the nation’s leader bursts out of the bedroom of the private suite Bauman’s guarding and announces that the president is dead. Bauman inexplicably lets the unknown woman leave and finds the naked president on the bed. Rather than call for help, he and another agent dress Constable’s remains in his pajamas and put him back to bed before sounding the alarm. Later, following Constable’s funeral, Sen. Bobby Hart is approached by Constable’s widow, former first lady Hillary, who asks him to investigate what she calls her husband’s murder. While the nation has been led to believe that Constable succumbed to natural causes, Hillary tells Bobby her husband was murdered by lethal injection and swears him to secrecy. Hart talks to reporter Quentin Burdick, who was writing a piece on a French company called Four Sisters and its head, Jean de la Valette, and comes to believe that the president’s slaying and his business dealings with Four Sisters are intertwined. The book is filled with improbable situations and achingly dull characters who interact with one another with a surplus of metaphors, and readers who like their thrillers active will find the author’s writing style sluggish, with much of the narrative devoted to descriptions of each character’s facial expressions, appearance, clothing, and mannerisms. The slow-moving tale will also disappoint readers who understand business inside the Beltway, as little of the literary real estate reflects the reality of how things work at the seat of government.
A plodding, smarmy attempt to cash in on election-year politics that readers of all political persuasions will find tasteless.