CAPITOL SECRETS by Maureen Dean
Kirkus Star

CAPITOL SECRETS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Second novel by the author of Washington Wives (1987), as well as MO: A Woman's View of Watergate (1975), who is the wife of Watergate whistle-blower John Dean. With her flat, factual style, Dean delivers a likable, sexy, complex story about Capitol intrigues, this time involving murder. Multimillionaire Congresswoman Laura Christen, a widow of 46 and in her seventh term in the House, decides to take a shot at becoming Speaker of the House, the first woman ever to do so. Speakers are elected by House members, and right at the start Laura, an Independent, has a strong lock on the Republican vote and seemingly has locked up the votes of all the women Democrats. It's close, though, and incumbent Speaker Lew Ronkowski chooses to fight dirty, making sure that terrible (but unfounded) stories about Laura appear in the supermarket tabloids. At the press conference where Laura announces herself, to great applause from the press, she is approached by Jeremy Marsten, a sleazeball reporter with a letter that tells of a bastard hidden in Laura's past. But while leaving the conference, Jeremy is murdered with a bizarre superpoison injected into his neck. Dr. Penelope Krim, a monstrous syndicated gossip columnist, lifts the letter from Jeremy's body and begins her own spiteful crusade against Laura. Penelope hires Jake Alban, a down-at-heels Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter (still mourning the death of his wife by terrorists) to dig up all the dirt he can find in Laura's past. But Jake has had a rich attachment to Laura since interviewing her ten years earlier and now falls for her. Meanwhile, Laura's 24-year-old daughter, Catherine ""Catsy"" Christen Braden, Laura's press secretary and the most available lady in the media corps, defends her mother by any means, including sex with the enemy. Even if Laura wins, will this mother and daughter ever come clean with each other? No-holds-barred commercial novel bent on murdering your sleep.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1992
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Putnam