SPIN by Tom Lowe


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Delightfully trashy morality tale posing as a Primary Colors political roman Ö clef, this time dishing and damning the Republican camp. How close is the colorless fictional California millionaire Edward Winston, who tries to buy his way into state politics, to the failed senate candidate Michael Huffington? First-novelist Lowe, a former aide on the Huffington campaign, as well as a writer for the McLaughlin Group (rendered here as McHoffman Group, whose “outspoken host,” we—re told, is a “filthy animal”), seems content to burn every bridge in this frothy, funny, sex- and caffeine-fueled How-to-Exceed-in-Politics adventure. Lowe’s ingenuous antihero, Jim Asher, a good-looking, articulate California surfer bum, rises in less than a year from an unpaid campaign volunteer position to become the “Luke Skywalker of Republican politics,” trading in his used Ford Probe for a nasty black Hummee with SPIN DR on the license plate. Beginning with a lucky plunge in a hot tub with influential TV news reporter Samantha Gelhorne (which leads to a nude massage session with the candidate’s bossy wife Mariella), Asher lets the world of pressure-cooker politics transform him into a coffee- and booze-guzzling samurai armed with cellphones, laptops, and a libido that never fails. Asher rapidly jumps from Winston’s doomed campaign into a race to recall a “turncoat” Republican, shoving Brett Alexander, a shallow but well-intentioned political naif, into the coveted position of Speaker of the California Assembly, and then as a possible Republican vice presidential candidate. Every dirty trick Asher pulls is first spelled out for him by jaded journalists and bored political hacks. He seems invincible until Frank Buckman, a powerful assemblyman whom Asher decked during a Republican victory celebration, uses the same tricks to take Asher down. A hilarious hash of political low-jinks, thinly fictionalized gossip, and clever jabs at high-living conservatives that charms and scandalizes with disarming ease.

Pub Date: July 7th, 1998
ISBN: 0-671-01923-6
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1998


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