The Incumbent (The Madison Glenn Series)

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Overview

Politics are about to become deadly. As the controversial mayor of the beautiful coastal community of Santa Rite, Madison “Maddy” Glenn likes to face things head-on. But nothing can prepare her for a hostile visit from the chief of police—or his terrible news. Lisa Truccoli, Maddy’s friend and the treasurer of her last campaign, has been kidnapped. All that remains at the crime scene is a shocking clue…with Maddy’s name on it. The ensuing hunt for answers only turns up more sinister clues in a terrifying game the...
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Overview

Politics are about to become deadly. As the controversial mayor of the beautiful coastal community of Santa Rite, Madison “Maddy” Glenn likes to face things head-on. But nothing can prepare her for a hostile visit from the chief of police—or his terrible news. Lisa Truccoli, Maddy’s friend and the treasurer of her last campaign, has been kidnapped. All that remains at the crime scene is a shocking clue…with Maddy’s name on it. The ensuing hunt for answers only turns up more sinister clues in a terrifying game the abductor wants to play…with Maddy. Caught between a haunting past and a dangerous present, Maddy finds the walls that keep her from faith beginning to crumble. The stakes turn lethal with a second abduction and a clue that reveals inside information about Maddy’s run for Congress—a decision she has not made yet. Someone is going to dangerous lengths to make the choice for her…but it is a choice she’ll survive?
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786275045
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/2005
  • Series: The Madison Glenn Series
  • Edition description: Large-print Edition
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.82 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Read an Excerpt

The Incumbent Copyright © 2004 by Alton L. Gansky
Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Gansky, Alton. The incumbent / Alton Gansky. p. cm. ISBN 0-310-24958-9 (softcover) 1. Political campaigns - Fiction. 2. Female friendship - Fiction. 3. Missing persons - Fiction. 4. Women mayors - Fiction. 5. California - Fiction. 6. Abduction - Fiction. I. Title. PS3557.A5195I53 2004 813'.54 - dc22 2004012892
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other - except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Interior design by Michelle Espinoza
Printed in the United States of America
04 05 06 07 08 09 10 /.DC/ 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
1 c h a p t e r
There were five of us, four members of the council and me, Mayor Madison Glenn. I seldom use the name Madison except on legal documents and even then only with reluctance. My father told me it was a good name, "strong, decisive, and majestic." It was my misfortune to be born while my father, a history professor at the University of Santa Barbara, was reading a biography on James Madison. Dad got a good read; I was stuck with the name. I'm thankful that he wasn't reading a bio of UlyssesS. Grant. It took years of gentle nagging, but now even he calls me Maddy.
Santa Rita is the place I call home, as do roughly 125,000 other people. A small city by most standards, it is large enough to provide everything a person needs: hospital, college, nice homes, wide streets, and an eye-popping view. Located on the ocean shore, eighty miles north of Los Angeles and just south of Santa Barbara, Santa Rita sits like a jewel against the usually brown coastal mountains. The azure Pacific waters glitter in the sunlight, cool the city in the day, and provide a warm blanket of air in the evening. Every day is picture-postcard material. To tourists Santa Rita is Eden; to the rest of us it is home.
The Chamber of Commerce promotes our town as "California's Heaven." On most days I agree; on others I can't help but notice that a little hell oozes across our borders.
When I had left my office to make my way to the council chamber, the sun had already set and a slab of gray clouds had rolled in, veiling the stars and moon. An easy drizzle had begun to streak my window, sending sinuous veins of water coursing from header to sill. I hoped this was not an omen.
I've been the city's mayor for two years - two challenging years. I am the town's first elected mayor. Before the election twenty-four months ago, the mayor was selected from sitting council members, as with most cities our size. Last election, however, was different. Candidates ran at large, the first time since 1851, when our town incorporated. It was a hot race, full of contestants, each certain they were the best person for the job and that any other candidate would lead the city into utter ruin and degradation. I won. I don't know how, but when they counted the last ballot, my name was on top. Perhaps it was because I had already served two four-year terms on the council. Or maybe it was because I was the only woman in a contest of six wanna-bes.
Two of the other candidates sat at the bench with me. Larry Wu, an accountant of Chinese descent, had come in third. He was a gracious loser and the least problematic member of the city government. Larry had spent his childhood in Texas and came to Santa Rita when his father's firm transferred him. I'd known Larry for six years but still struggled to reconcile his Asian face with his southern accent.
Jon Adler had also fought hard for the seat. He had money and outspent me on the campaign two-to-one. A lanky attorney, he treated the campaign like the criminal cases he tried before local judges. He attacked the other candidates with the flair and joy of a hunter blasting pheasants out of the sky. He paid little attention to me, assuming I was the dark horse of the group. He shredded poor Larry.
They were able to remain on the council, since their seats were not up for election for another two years. That was two years ago. Both men were once again pressing the flesh, making promises, and leveling accusations.
The chamber was quiet and attendance sparse. When controversial matters are on the agenda, the darkly paneled halls can hold up to 250 agitated, and often loud, citizens. This night was low-key. The agenda was routine, with only one item of business that was close to contentious: an appeal for a conditional use permit for a local church that wanted to move to a new site. Four people, three men and one woman, sat together close to the aisle. They were whispering to each other. I assumed they represented the church. Across the aisle that bisected the chamber sat Sue Holton, chairperson of the Planning Commission. She was there to speak against the appeal.
Santa Rita has only one newspaper, a daily called the Register. They had sent one reporter, who sat three rows back, head in hand. He looked ready to doze. Hard day at the computer, I assumed.
I let my eyes drift to the back wall of the chamber. It faces the concrete plaza and fountain that greets any of the public who make their way to the seat of their city government. The lights of the chamber reflected off the glass, making it difficult to see outside, but I could tell the drizzle had turned to rain. I could also see a man enter the lobby. He paused and brushed the rain from his suit coat as if he could sweep the water away like dust.
I forced my thoughts to the task before me. I am punctilious when it comes to time. Any meeting that starts late is off to a bad start. We were all present and accounted for and thus there was no reason for delay. In one minute, at precisely 7:00, I would call the
meeting to order. The agenda for our session was light, and with a little luck we could be done in less than sixty minutes. That was fine with me. I had a double-chocolate brownie waiting on the kitchen counter at home. It had been a demanding day. A double-chocolate brownie was my due.
On the counter before me was a small digital clock with bright red numerals: 6:59 turned to 7:00. As I raised my gavel, the man in the lobby stepped through the back doors of the chamber. In full light I could see it was Bill Webb. He took two steps and raised a hand, mouthing the words, "Hold it." I lowered the small oak mallet.
This had better be important.
Bill Webb was our chief of police and a fixture in the city. He marched to the platform, then sprinted up the few steps to the bench. This was unusual. You don't just dash up the steps to where the council sits - even if you're the police chief.
He leaned over my right shoulder. "I need to speak to you." His breath smelled of peppermint. He had quit smoking the year before and had replaced one oral fixation with another.
"I was about to start the meeting; can't it wait?"
"No."
"What can be so important that it can't - "
"There's been a crime. It involves Lisa Truccoli."
My stomach sank. "What? How?"
"I want to talk to you. Privately. Now."
"Of course." I turned my attention back to the chamber. "The meeting will stand in recess for ten minutes."
"Wait a minute," Jon Adler said. "You can't recess a meeting that hasn't been called to order."
He was being his usual tedious self. I picked up the gavel and smacked it down.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 314 )
Rating Distribution

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(53)

4 Star

(71)

3 Star

(94)

2 Star

(49)

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(47)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 316 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Plenty of victims, especially the reader...

    REVIEWS OF UNUSUAL SIZE

    ---Re--- When Mayor Madison "Maddy" Glenn's confidants, advisors and friends start disappearing mysteriously, with only cryptic clues remaining, and signs that the abductor knows more than they should, Maddy must make a choice. Hide in fear or carry on like she has always done things, confronting the abductions and even a killer bravely and headfirst.


    ---Outstanding--- This was an interesting idea, and I thought the small town in California where it was set to be very appealingly described. Most of the characters were well rounded and had some personality.


    ---Unacceptable--- Unfortunately, the story never grabbed me. It was a slog to continue reading as page after page was filled with emotional drama, the story focusing on her tears and internal turmoils and minor aches and pains with her job, rather than the kidnappers and the investigation, which was a genuinely good idea and could have been an engrossing story. There was also a major side story featuring the daughter of a victim and her estranged father that did nothing for the story but give it a broadly defined man to hate and some drama that should have come from the main story instead.


    ---Summary--- What tries to come across as a kidnapping thriller behind the cover of a legal thriller ended up being something more akin to a chick-lit book with a kidnapping. It could make a pretty dramatic movie of the week on Lifetime, with her constant bickering and fisticuffs with the estranged father and self-absorbed sniffling. The Incumbent feels like a novel written by a county clerk that wanted to write a police thriller but didn't know enough about police investigations or thrills to actually include any in the book.

    r-o-u-s.blogspot

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    SO SO book

    The book was good until the bible study parts got thrown in. The bible parts were so out of place and really had nothing to do with the story. I felt like the Christianity piece was forced into the story and really was so out of place it was a distraction.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Gansky is great

    Thorougjly enjoyed this novel. Will definitely check out the authors other books :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2010

    Poorly Written Attempt to Convert to Christianity

    Don't be fooled. It may just seem like a hack police mystery but it turns out it's a religious publishers attempt to con you into becoming a "christian".

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2010

    Good Story. Bad Ending.

    This was a really good book with a disappointing ending. It kept me completely mesmerized until the last two chapters. The ending was so convoluted that it seemed like the author ran out of steam and instead of wrapping things up in a satisfying way, just threw together a weird and very "unlikable" conclusion. It was definitely original, but not at all to my liking. It was a real shame because the rest of the story was well written and thoughtful. It was suspenseful without being frightening and had me trying to figure out "whodunnit". I'm not sure why everything wasn't tied up neatly at the end, but it left me feeling frustrated.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2011

    It should come with a warning

    I thought the story was very interesting, and quite the page turner, until about 200 pages in, it abruptly turned into a gospel tract. I don't find that offensive as much as it didn't have anything to do with the story line. What I did find offensive was that the good guys and Christians were portrayed as Republicans and bad guys as Democrats. As some other reviewers pointed out, I pretty much figured out whodunit about 2/3 of the way through, simply because the author had not developed any alternative culprit.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Yikes, What a Wimpy Mystery

    I picked this book up because it was free and the editorial was interesting. Needless to say the characters and the mystery that they are involved is light-weight. On top of this the religious aspects of the novel seemed forced and destroyed the flow of the action. It was almost as if the author threw in the religious issues as an after-thought. The characters are not memorable and are borng. There is a hint of romance but only a hint. The end of the story seems abrupt. Characters start acting out of character and in fact the solution to the mystery seemed highly illogical. The only redeeming aspect of the book is that the mystery itself is a little intriguing and that is really what kept me reading through to the end. If you like your mysteries blood free, gore free, and you like your dialogue sublime then this "Hallmark Mystery of the Week" is the book for you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2010

    Boring

    this book took me a week to read, had to finish just to see if it got any better. Nope! glad i got it free.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 10, 2010

    Predictable

    This mystery features an unusual heroine - a female, recently widowed, mayor, with possible aspirations for higher office. OK. Suddenly, people close to her start to disappear. We never really get a glimpse into her relationship with them, other than as victims of a crime. I found the characters a unsatisfying, the romantic options ridiculously uncomplicated (plus I never would have her end up where she does), and the plot resolution easy to see through. There is potential in the plot, but it never develops fully. A lot of time and effort spent on overwritten analogies, similes and metaphors, not enough spent on characters and plot development. Religious overtones are oddly placed and irrelevant to plot - I suppose they are a prerequisite of Zondervan.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good Book

    Enjoyed this one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2010

    A Great Whodunit!

    My first book by this author and I can say I will be looking into more of his books. This effectively written abduction/accidental murder mystery kept me guessing the entire time ... could it be this person, no - this person... and so on. I do wish it was stronger in the spiritual department (He approached it and then backed off too soon. Maybe next time.) I heartily recommend this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 19, 2010

    A good read

    I'm not sure why some people hated the book. I found it to be entertaining. Not great, but entertaining. A widow is mayor of a small town in California. People she knows start disappearing and even with her busy schedule, she starts investigating. Things happen pretty quickly as one of the disappeared shows up dead and she has to deal with an irate, dangerous man, an old boyfriend, a police chief who doesn't care for her and town councilors out to undermine her.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 11, 2010

    Cheesy

    I was so bored during the first chapter I didn't even finish.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    Flowery Writing Style

    The author seems to use words just for the purpose of using words. His descriptions are much too long and flowery, and get in the way of the flow of the story. I gave up after two chapters, it was too much like reading a college student's assignment for creative writing (for which I would given a "D").

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2010

    A nice read

    Just finished the book. I thought the story was pretty good; certainly kept me reading it to the end. It was an exciting read; I wanted to know what happened next. I didn't think it was predictable, and I enjoyed getting to know the characters. I wish the resolution was a bit longer and more fleshed out though.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Christian Novel

    I liked this book. It is not the type of novel I would normally read. I enjoy political mysteries and thrillers but I usually don't read books that involve a lot of female interaction. The characters were believable and you could 'feel' the setting in California. There are two short segments in the book that are blatantly Christian. I have no problem with that because there are wonderful novels that contain explicit Muslim or Hindu segments. It was an easy read and somewhat of a page turner. If you enjoy a book that is entertaining and lacks vulgar language then this might be just the read for you.

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  • Posted April 30, 2010

    Thin Plot - quick read

    The plot is thin, the ending easily guessed mid book. To cover the thin plot, the author piles on pointless descriptions of shoes, room decor, hand bags, and dress, all with a level of detail unwarranted by the story, and with the seque subtlety of a TV commercial. These add nothing to the story, do little for character definition, and had me skipping entire paragraphs in a desperate search for continuity.

    One could overlook the preaching in the story if it was central to the plot, but unfortunately it wasn't, and it came off looking trite.

    The unfortunate thing about this book is that there are enough loose ends in the story that the author may be tempted to write a sequel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2010

    Good but short.

    The book was great until the last chapter. There could have been one more chapter added to finish off the relationships of the characters. Over all, the story was good it just ended to soon.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Incumbent by Alton Gansky is a really good read! Be prepared to read it straight through to the end. It is one that I could read aloud to my grandchildren and keep them interested.

    I was guessing the whole way through the book, wondering whodunit without guessing the correct answer. The descriptive writing was very clear, giving me a mental picture of each place - I could see the garden, the back yard, the camera placements, even the highway/freeway! I think that is why I love reading books - yes, descriptions are given, but the mental picture of that person is my own. The mental picture of the inside of her house, her home office, the kitchen... that is mine to fill in.
    On finishing the story, I wanted to know more! What happens next? Oh the ending was complete for this story, I was well satisfied with that, but I want more about Maddy, what she does decide to do with her life after this story. Does she go on to become. . .?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2010

    You don't want to put this book down. Exciting right from the first page and through the last with an unexpected ending that will leave you surprised. I know I certainly was. A great prelude to other Gansky novels. You can't let this one go unread.

    I was extremely pleased to read the incumbent by Mr Gansky. While I have never read any of his other works, I certainly will in the future if they are written like this one. This book kept my interest from the very first page. While I figured out who the murderer was toward the end of the book, I certainly didn't expect there to be a second person involved. And, of course, who that person was made it even more surprising; altho, I wished it wasn't who it was. Friendships are hard to come by and to have it destroyed was a little heartfelt. But, all in all, I was pleased. I could see a sequel with this one. Maybe on the romantic side between the police detective, the main character, and the "wish he could be more than a friend". It could also bring in an endearing friendship between the worker friend and her daughter.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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