In Gorman’s (The Atkinsen Ticket, 2008, etc.) latest political thriller, the fate of the country rests in the hands of the Electoral College.
Steve Wagner, chief of staff to President Herbert Atkinsen, is uneasily plotting his boss’ closely fought campaign for reelection. Having won the popular vote, the president will split the Electoral College delegates with two other candidates, despite the fact that his choice for vice president, George Granger, is from the opposition party—a political maneuver that didn’t pay off. The president’s leading rival, Sen. John Robinson, rescinds his concession and the country awaits final decision from the Electoral College. Unbeknownst to the general public, however, is the fact that the president’s failing health will bar him from effectively serving a second term; the senator, meanwhile, cannot be trusted to run the country. It all falls to Steve, who must engineer an outcome in the Electoral College that ensures the appearance of a stable transition of power. While he’s at it, he needs to find the next president. Will the whole thing fall apart no matter how hard he fights? The story delivers West Wing-style action, with Steve guiding readers through all aspects of this political maelstrom. Full of breathless updates and sharp twists, Gorman’s title seeks to show the pitfalls of the Electoral College system and the danger to which foggy election results might lead. The weight of political analysis weighs heavily on the progression of Gorman’s narrative, limiting the accessibility of the story. Political factoids haphazardly dot the text, and at times the story veers dangerously close to being a civics lesson. Gorman’s characters are stiff, but his enthusiasm for his subject is sincere. Ultimately, readers who follow these political machinations to their conclusion will emerge rewarded.
A rocky but informative road to the White House.