Someone is killing Oklahoma's state legislators one by one. First Jonah Morgan (D-Utokah) is shot between the eyes. Then Willard (Tipp) Freeman (D-Ponca City) is thrown from a hotel window in downtown Oklahoma City. Two more lawmakers are felled before Governor Buffalo Joe Hayman can scream for justice. As always when something is fishy in the Great State of Oklahoma, Joe orders the lieutenant governor, the One-eyed Mack, to find out who's responsible. If that was all Mack had to do, it would probably be easy. ...
Someone is killing Oklahoma's state legislators one by one. First Jonah Morgan (D-Utokah) is shot between the eyes. Then Willard (Tipp) Freeman (D-Ponca City) is thrown from a hotel window in downtown Oklahoma City. Two more lawmakers are felled before Governor Buffalo Joe Hayman can scream for justice. As always when something is fishy in the Great State of Oklahoma, Joe orders the lieutenant governor, the One-eyed Mack, to find out who's responsible. If that was all Mack had to do, it would probably be easy. But the usual suspects are up to their usual tricks. C., the one-eared director of the OBI (Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation), and Buffalo Joe are at each other's throats. Mack's wife, Jackie, may have become irreversibly tetched by the run-away success of JackieMart, her nationwide chain of drive-through convenience stores. Their son, Tommy Walt, needs Mack's help in developing a recycling scheme that will change the way business is done in Oklahoma, America, and the world. And the curator of the Museum of the Cherokee Strip, Sandra Faye Parsons, keeps trying to use the mummy of John Wilkes Booth to get Mack to strip for her! In Jim Lehrer's sixth One-eyed Mack mystery, his sharp eye for satire glints as strongly as ever. By the final chapters of Fine Lines, readers everywhere will know why the people of Oklahoma couldn't find themselves a better, more charming lieutenant governor than the One-eyed Mack.
Lehrer's gabby, smartass characters, who are also possessed of depth and originality, will continue to delight those who've read the PBS newscaster's earlier One-eyed Mack mysteries. The pleasure of readers new to the series may be enhanced by surprise. Except for the passing mention of someone named MacNeil, Lehrer leaves off his TV hat to delve into the deep and dirty heart of politics in Oklahoma, where Mack is Lieutenant Governor. When four members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, all Democrats, die in suspiciously quick succession, Mack is soon on the case, his sleuthing only slightly distracted by his entrepreneurial wife Jackie's winning a coveted award and his enterprising stepson Tommy's scheme to power diesel vehicles with a combination of methanol and fast-food grease. The politicians are done in in different ways, but all die after an about-face on a sensitive issue--about which a secretive local millionaire would rather they hadn't changed their minds. Lehrer has infectious fun with his cast of fast-food junkies and conniving politicians, among whom such real folks as violinist Isaac Stern, mystery writer and poet Stephen Dobyns and Henry Kissinger's wife keep popping up. Author tour. June
Back in his sixth mystery, One-Eyed Mack has to figure out who is killing Oklahoma's state leglislatures.
School Library Journal
YA-The announcement that ``Someone croaked the Cluck'' heralds a series of unexplained deaths within the Oklahoma state legislature. As Lt. Governor, it is the One-eyed Mack's job to solve the mystery. Usually murders are serious business, but not in the Sooner State Capitol, with its colorful coterie of politicians, law-enforcement people, and others. The antics are wildly improbable yet completely believable because of Lehrer's deft touch and his permanently attached tongue-in-cheek. There is homespun philosophy gently woven into this fun read that should appeal to YAs who appreciate satire.- Judy Sokoll, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
The One-Eyed Mack is back! And, as usual in Lehrer's sweetly goofy Oklahoma, there's all manner of skulduggery and eccentricity afoot. In this sixth tale of the lieutenant governor of Oklahoma, someone is killing members of the state legislature. As he always does when bad PR threatens the Sooner State--and his career--Governor Buffalo Joe Hayman orders Mack to get to the bottom of it all. Needless to say, Mack unravels the mystery. In the process he helps his son Tommy Wait build a new market for his recycled restaurant grease business, waxes affectionate for intercity bus lines, sidetracks Buffalo Joe's plan to create a state border patrol to keep Arkansans out, and ends the hunger strike of a small-town sheriff protesting passage of a state statute that outlaws speed traps. If all this doesn't make much sense, you just haven't been reading the PBS newsman's winsome series. Rest assured that your patrons have, so buy several copies of "Fine Lines".
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Meet the Author
Known to television viewers as the nightly news anchor on PBS, Jim Lehrer has managed to find time to write more than a dozen novels, plus two memoirs and three plays. As he once admitted, he's known as "the TV guy who also writes books." Someday, Lehrer mused, "maybe it will go the other way and I'll be the novelist who also does television."
Jim Lehrer didn't always aspire to be a writer -- when he was 16, he wanted to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Since he wasn't a very good baseball player, he turned to sports writing, then writing in general. As a member of what he's called "the Hemingway generation," he decided to support himself as a newspaper writer until he could make a living as a novelist.
After graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism, Lehrer served for three years in the U.S. Marine Corps, then began his career as a newspaper reporter, columnist and editor in Dallas. His first novel, about a band of Mexican soldiers re-taking the Alamo, was published in 1966 and made into a movie. Lehrer quit his newspaper job in order to write more books, but was lured back into reporting after he accepted a part-time consulting job at the Dallas public television station. He was eventually made host and editor of a nightly news program at the station.
Lehrer then moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as public affairs coordinator for PBS and as a correspondent for the National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT). At NPACT, Lehrer teamed up with Robert MacNeil to provide live coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings, broadcast on PBS. It was the beginning of a partnership that would last more than 20 years, as Lehrer and MacNeil co-hosted The MacNeil/Lehrer Report (originally The Robert MacNeil Report) from 1976 to 1983, and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour from 1983 to 1995. In 1995, MacNeil left the show, but Lehrer soldiered on as solo anchor and executive editor of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
When he wasn't busy hosting the country's first hour-long news program, Lehrer wrote and published books, including a series of mystery novels featuring his fictional lieutenant governor, One-Eyed Mack, and a political satire, The Last Debate. Lehrer surprised critics and won new readers with his breakout success, White Widow, the "tender and tragic" (Washington Post) tale of a small-town Texas bus driver. He followed it with the bestselling Purple Dots, a "high-spirited Beltway romp" (The New York Times Book Review), and The Special Prisoner, about a WWII bomber pilot whose brutal experiences in a Japanese P.O.W. camp come back to haunt him 50 years later. His recent novel No Certain Rest recounts the quest of a U.S. Parks Department archaeologist to solve a murder committed during the Civil War.
Across this wide range of subjects, Lehrer is known for his careful plotting and even more careful research. Clearly, this is a man who cares about good stories -- but which is more important to him, journalism or fiction? Lehrer once admitted that he's known as "the TV guy who also writes books. Someday, maybe it will go the other way and I'll be the novelist who also does television."
Good To Know
During the last four presidential elections, Lehrer has served as a moderator for nine debates, including all three of the presidential candidates' debates in 2000. He also hosted the Emmy Award-nominated program "Debating Our Destiny: Forty Years of Presidential Debates."
Lehrer lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, novelist Kate Lehrer. The two also have an 18th-century farmhouse close to the Antietam battle site. Visits to the site helped inspire Lehrer's thirteenth novel, No Certain Rest.
Robert MacNeil, for many years the co-host with Jim Lehrer of PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, is also a novelist. His books include Burden of Desire, The Voyage and Breaking News.