A tough, cigar-stump story about a labor union election, an assassination, and a certain streak of dry rot in the fiber of the movement. Dan Cubbins, sixtyish, a heavy drinker who regretted never becoming an actor and a reasonably decent man who learned to make compromises, is up for reelection as president of his union. Opposing him is his secretary-treasurer, Sammy Hanks, product of a loveless childhood, given to tantrums and ruthless personal ambition. Operators, climbers, loyal cadres, and money movers gather around the two men while quietly, methodically, wheels are set in motion to hit Cubbins. As election day nears there are deals, press and TV interviews and countless hotel confabs and Cubbins is killed by a paid assassin. Cubbins' ex-cop son Kelly runs down the man who bought the murder. Thomas' club and desktop ferrets have a convincing plausibility and the jargon is acrid and long-toothed, although characterizations don't reach beyond the efficiency level. But for its purpose -- center cut.