Strangely plotted but captivating political thriller--the first in a series--by the best-selling nonfiction author of A Season on the Brink (1987), A Season Inside (1988), etc. Feinstein, a reporter for The Washington Post, spent two years covering the State House scene in Annapolis, and his love for that town comes through strongly here. For three years, Bobby Kelleher, a political reporter for the Washington Herald, has split his Maryland State House coverage with Maureen McGuire. She's a craftsmanly reporter and slated for the paper's national section next year. If Bobby doesn't get a big hit of a story before then, he'll be stuck in local news and may even have to resign to save face. Then the story hits, and Bobby's shirt gets covered with blood when Governor Barney Paulsen is shot by three gunmen in the State House while giving his state-of-the-state-speech. Part of the story's enjoyment is in watching rival reporters measure each other's leads as each paper tries to keep ahead of the other in solving the murder. What's strange about the plot is that the heavies who appear early are not red herrings. Well, there are some surprise heavies behind the nastier heavies. Is the amazonian Jamelle Touretta, a six-foot redhead who presses 250 pounds daily and is the head of FFF (the pro-choice Females for Freedom), really behind the assassination? It doesn't make sense: the late governor himself was pro-choice, as is Lieutenant Governor Meredith Gordy, who is now governor. What role does the anti-abortionist Love of Life group play? And how about Jimmy Dumount, a local Ku Klux Klan leader who was seen in the State House just before the governor was shot? Much fun while Bobby avoids sure death three times and meets deadlines but agonizes over having broken the commandment ``thou shalt not go to bed with a news source.''