A suspenseful—and topical—tale of White House intrigue.


The Latina President


A debut political thriller tracks the meteoric and perilous rise of a Latina U.S. president.

Isabel Aragon “Tenny” Tennyson hails from a prominent Mexican family that owns and operates Groupo Aragon, a sprawling corporate conglomerate. Her brother Federico, groomed his whole life to take over the business, suddenly decides to become a Jesuit priest, leaving Tenny to eventually assume the reins. But Federico reveals to her that their family’s treasure has been conjured from blood and misdeeds, a vast criminal conspiracy that collaborates with drug cartels and autocratic governments. Tenny attempts to reform the company but is blocked by its corrupt gatekeepers. She moves to the United States, flush with a massive inheritance, and parlays her resources into political activism. She displays a knack for political theater and quickly becomes a powerful player in Washington, D.C. She runs for Congress and wins on the first try and then becomes a senator next, positioning herself as a champion of the disenfranchised. And when the Democratic candidate for president is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, she is tapped to take his place and becomes the first Hispanic, and first female, president in American history. She successfully pushes for sweeping immigration reform and tackles not only corruption in the financial sector, but ambitiously aims for a sea change in the very structure of American capitalism as well: “The whole financial system’s rotten and it’s rotting the political system. We’ve got to get control of it before it tears the country apart.” But dark forces with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo gather to oppose her and threaten her life. Rothstein has written a timely novel that artfully exploits contentious debate about immigration and oligarchic exploitation. The story is panoramic in scope and charts generations of the Aragon family, making this an unusually deep plot for a political thriller (Tenny’s ancestors include the Duke of Aragon, whose wife, Queen Isabella I of Spain, financed Columbus; “Aragons sailed to the New World with the conquistadors and built a legacy of economic and political power in Mexico”). Sometimes, the action flirts with implausibility, and Tenny is peculiarly successful—and with breakneck speed—for someone so idealistic. But she remains an enthralling protagonist at the heart of a gripping tale.

A suspenseful—and topical—tale of White House intrigue.

Pub Date: July 25, 2016


Page Count: 330

Publisher: Gold Standard Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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An exuberant comic opera set to the music of life.

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The versatile and accomplished McBride (Five Carat Soul, 2017, etc.) returns with a dark urban farce crowded with misjudged signals, crippling sorrows, and unexpected epiphanies.

It's September 1969, just after Apollo 11 and Woodstock. In a season of such events, it’s just as improbable that in front of 16 witnesses occupying the crowded plaza of a Brooklyn housing project one afternoon, a hobbling, dyspeptic, and boozy old church deacon named Cuffy Jasper "Sportcoat" Lambkin should pull out a .45-caliber Luger pistol and shoot off an ear belonging to the neighborhood’s most dangerous drug dealer. The 19-year-old victim’s name is Deems Clemens, and Sportcoat had coached him to be “the best baseball player the projects had ever seen” before he became “a poison-selling murderous meathead.” Everybody in the project presumes that Sportcoat is now destined to violently join his late wife, Hettie, in the great beyond. But all kinds of seemingly disconnected people keep getting in destiny's way, whether it’s Sportcoat’s friend Pork Sausage or Potts, a world-weary but scrupulous white policeman who’s hoping to find Sportcoat fast enough to protect him from not only Deems’ vengeance, but the malevolent designs of neighborhood kingpin Butch Moon. All their destines are somehow intertwined with those of Thomas “The Elephant” Elefante, a powerful but lonely Mafia don who’s got one eye trained on the chaos set off by the shooting and another on a mysterious quest set in motion by a stranger from his crime-boss father’s past. There are also an assortment of salsa musicians, a gentle Nation of Islam convert named Soup, and even a tribe of voracious red ants that somehow immigrated to the neighborhood from Colombia and hung around for generations, all of which seems like too much stuff for any one book to handle. But as he's already shown in The Good Lord Bird (2013), McBride has a flair for fashioning comedy whose buoyant outrageousness barely conceals both a steely command of big and small narrative elements and a river-deep supply of humane intelligence.

An exuberant comic opera set to the music of life.

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-1672-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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