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Mack to the Rescue
     

Mack to the Rescue

by James C. Lehrer
 

When he’s not anchoring the NewsHour on PBS, Jim Lehrer may be found casting a satirical eye at America’s heartland in such books as Crown Oklahoma and The Sooner Spy. Mack to the Rescue is the latest of his successful One-Eyed Mack novels. Set in Oklahoma and tracing the exploits of a fictional lieutenant governor, the

Overview

When he’s not anchoring the NewsHour on PBS, Jim Lehrer may be found casting a satirical eye at America’s heartland in such books as Crown Oklahoma and The Sooner Spy. Mack to the Rescue is the latest of his successful One-Eyed Mack novels. Set in Oklahoma and tracing the exploits of a fictional lieutenant governor, the series allows Lehrer to address contemporary national issues with a unique blend of humor and insight.

When Governor “Buffalo Joe” Hayman calls for privatizing state government, Mack decides to oppose his re-election bid, but a medical mishap prevents Mack from running. While attending a lieutenant governors’ conference in Washington, he suddenly collapses. Hospitalized, he is given a heart bypass operation intended for another patient. Mack backs out of the race and throws his support behind his flaky friend and former state house Speaker, Luther Wallace. Embroiled in a medical malpractice suit while following Luther’s questionable shenanigans, Mack finally has no choice but to come to the rescue when the governor’s race takes a particularly ugly turn.

Rife with Oklahoma-isms and brimming with memorable characters, this is political satire at its best, employing ironic twists and sharp dialogue to poke fun at government foibles. Inventive and hilarious, it demonstrates once again that Lehrer knows Middle America and its ways all too well.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Though billed as a mystery, the broadly satiric eighth entry in PBS news anchor Lehrer's One-Eyed Mack series (Kick the Can , etc.) contains no crimes as such-unless one counts the antics of zany Oklahoma governor Joe Hayman (aka Buffalo Joe or Chip), who announces on radio's popular Sooner Sam Screams at Noon show that he intends to privatize the entire state government. Mack, Oklahoma's lieutenant governor, is prepared to run against Hayman in the next election, but he's sidetracked after undergoing a heart-bypass operation, one intended for another patient, which leads to a juicy malpractice trial in Washington, D.C. While recuperating from surgery, Mack does his best to keep Oklahoma from falling apart. In taking aim at such subjects as the health care system, the courts and talk radio, Lehrer is more likely to evoke wry grins and the occasional chuckle than anger or outrage. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A chance remark on a call-in radio show throws The One-Eyed Mack into the Oklahoma governor's race. And it's not even his remark. Radio host Sooner Sam, given name Jimmy D. Ramquist, has a gift for drawing out his guests. When he hosts Buffalo Joe Hayman, Oklahoma's inimitable governor goes on a toot, claiming that "I want to take government out of government" by privatizing every government function his host can name, from the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation to the office of the Lieutenant Governor, which Mack has occupied forever (Fine Lines, 1994, etc.). Arguing that the governor is patently off his rocker, Mack's wife Jackie and his old friends Luther Wallace, ex-Speaker of the Oklahoma House, and OBI director C. Harry Hayes persuade Mack to do something he has never done before: go head to head with his boss in the upcoming election. No sooner does the infant campaign issue its first press release, however, than its plans run aground when Mack, in Washington for a meeting of the National Lieutenant Governors' Association, eats one Milky Way too many, passes out from sugar shock and wakes up en route to the St. Francis Memorial Hospital, where he's mistaken for another patient scheduled for a triple bypass and gets treated to (and billed for) the surgery himself. While Mack convalesces and Jackie and grandstanding Sooner lawyer Slim Gilbert prepare the mother of all lawsuits against the hospital, Luther takes Mack's place as the man who would be governor. The tabloid accusations he trades with Buffalo Joe, which could have been ripped from today's headlines, provoke hilariously credulous responses from Oklahoma radio audiences. And the $50 million lawsuit, though its fairy-taleending defies belief, shows Mack at his most endearing. Perhaps the best of all Mack's adventures. He even gets to try his hand at some shuttle diplomacy worthy of a Henry Kissinger with heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780806139159
Publisher:
University of Oklahoma Press
Publication date:
04/28/2008
Series:
Stories and Storytellers Series
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

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Meet the Author

Jim Lehrer novelist, playwright, and award-winning journalist is best known as executive editor and anchor of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. Born in Wichita, Kansas, Lehrer was a political columnist early in his career for the Dallas Times-Herald. In the past five presidential elections, he served as moderator for ten of the nationally televised debates among the candidates. This is his eighteenth novel, and the eighth in the One-Eyed Mack series. Lehrer lives in Washington, D.C., with his novelist wife, Kate. They have three daughters and six grandchildren.

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