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Callahan's first novel outlines the ebb and flow of Democratic politics in America, from the Vietnam era through today, by following the career of Oregon congressman (and eventually senator) Michael "Mick" Whelan, as seen through the eyes of his adviser, aide, and best friend, Gabe Bontempo. The novel is rich in detail about the maneuvering that occurs, often in barrooms and private offices, before bills reach the floor of the House or Senate. Unfortunately, the story bogs down in blow-by-blow accounts of congressional debates and hearings that only an avid fan of C-SPAN would find dramatic. But it picks up speed and emotional resonance in the last half, when Gabe's devotion to Mick and his work has a devastating impact on his family life. Whelan is portrayed as a bit too much of a martyr, but having a flawed and down-to-earth narrator helps. For regional public library collections and those specializing in political fiction.