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"A thriller that's fast enough to keep reading straight through one sitting."
— Rocky Mountain News
"[A] tough, stylish tale ... [Flynn] propels his plot with potent but flexible force, using just the right mix of pressure and release to maintain suspense deep into the story."
— Publishers Weekly
Also by Joseph Flynn:
"Starts in high gear and doesn't slow down."
— The Washington Post
"A deftly mapped thriller."
"A well-knit, multilayered story ... extremely fast [and] entertaining."
— The Denver Post
Look for Joseph Flynn's
The Concrete Inquisition
Coming in Fall 2001
Monday, September 6, 2004
Upward of half a million people filled Chicago's Grant Park chanting for the appearance of the man they believed would be the next president of the United States, blissfully unaware that the lectern at which he would speak was already targeted in the telescopic sight of an assassin.
For most purposes, the day was perfect. The sun shone from a cloudless sky, Lake Michigan glistened sapphire blue, and a breeze off the water moderated a temperature of eighty-two degrees. Streams of people continued to arrive on foot from all directions. Traffic on Michigan Avenue, Lake Shore Drive, and all the east-west streets from Randolph to Jackson was at a standstill. Most motorists simply turned off their engines, stood outside their vehicles, and listened to the coverage of the event on their radios.
But no help was needed to hear the chant of the crowd. It rolled across the lakefront as if the city itself was calling out. Demanding the man who would make history.
"FDR, FDR, FDR..."
The throng pleaded for the appearance of Senator Franklin Delano Rawley of Wisconsin, who was already a historic figure by virtue of becoming the first black man to be the presidential nominee of one of the two major political parties.
Presently at the lectern, the city's mayor was doggedly doing his best to finish his speech. A ripple of laughter raced through the crowd as a gust of wind almost carried off the final page of the mayor's oration. Sitting behind the mayor on the stage of the James C. Petrillo Music Shell were the candidate's family and an elite selection of local, national, and party dignitaries. Theylooked out at the immense, expectant gathering with undisguised joy.
The polls said their man was ahead of the incumbent by only five points, scarcely more than the margin of error, but many of the pundits said this was an election year that would be unlike any other. Two hundred and sixteen years after electing George Washington as its first president, the United States was electrified by the possibility that it might elect Franklin Delano Rawley as its first black president.
The chant seemed to catch in everyone's throat for a split second and then it changed to a roar as the candidate appeared.
Like rolling thunder, the multitude's shout of approval reached the fifteenth-floor room at the southwest corner of the Hyatt Regency Chicago. It was all the easier to hear because the small floor-level window panel to the left of the room's heating and air-conditioning unit had been carefully removed. The rectangle of thick safety glass and the fat black rubberized seal that had held it in place lay nearby, ready for quick replacement.
J. D. Cade lay in a prone shooting position just back of the empty window frame in the shadows of the darkened room. He'd registered at the hotel the day before under the name of Jack Tenant with his hair colored silver gray by a wash, brown contact lenses over his blue eyes, a well-groomed but newly grown beard, and two-inch lifts in his shoes. He'd checked out via the TV fifteen minutes ago, but a DO NOT DISTURB sign hung on the outside of the safety-latched door to his room. Now he watched through the scope of his McLellan M-100 sniper rifle, the barrel steadied by its tripod, as Senator Rawley arrived on the stage of the music shell some 2,950 yards away.
It had been almost forty-one years since John F. Kennedy was killed by a sniper. The Secret Service hadn't forgotten the lessons it learned from that tragedy, but in the manner of their counterparts at the Pentagon, they had prepared for the last war. The helicopters, the agents on rooftops, the entire security cordon were all positioned on the assumption that no current sniper rifle had an effective range beyond two thousand yards.
The exception to this limit was the .50 caliber McLellan M-100, which was used by the Navy SEALs and had an effective range of three thousand yards. The round it fired was powerful enough to shoot down a large aircraft, not to mention kill a man. But the special agents protecting Senator Rawley — Orpheus, by his Secret Service code name — operated under the assumption that this weapon was the exclusive, tightly guarded property of the military.
Nevertheless, J. D. Cade had one, and the hotel room he'd obtained was beyond the security cordon. A picket fence of high-rise buildings on Randolph Street stood between the Hyatt and the park, but he had a clear field of fire, between the BP-Amoco Building on the east and the Prudential Plaza Building on the west, to the northeast-facing stage of the music shell.
Senator Rawley, known as Del on all but the most formal occasions, had just stepped onto that stage and was waving to the adoring crowd. He was already in J. D.'s crosshairs, but at the moment the flags on the stage showed that a swirling wind was blowing. Over a distance of almost three thousand yards, a strong wind might move even a .50 caliber round far enough to kill someone walking along Michigan Avenue or sitting on a boat in the Monroe Street Harbor. J. D. had to be patient. When the wind died, so would his target.
Del Rawley was not a classically handsome man, but even seen through the narrow field of vision of his scope, J. D. could recognize the intelligence in the man's eyes and the star power in his smile. Having studied his target, he knew that Rawley was a vet like himself, a former combat medic. He had earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin, had been an educator and an author, had served in the House of Representatives and now the Senate, was a devoted husband, father, and grandfa—
The wind died, the flags went limp, and J. D. Cade squeezed the trigger. The .50 caliber round flew at a speed of 2,500 feet per second, but it had to cover a distance of 8,850 feet. Travel time was 3.54 seconds.
Given the intervention of fate, that was long enough for the course of history to be changed.
What J. D. Cade couldn't see outside the lines of his crosshairs was the man in front of the music shell stage lifting his young daughter, who in turn proffered a rose to the candidate. Del Rawley pricked his finger on a thorn, but bending over saved his life.
The round that should have torn his head off passed over him, streaked between the mayor of Chicago and the governor of Illinois, who were seated behind him, smashed a hole the size of a beach ball through the back of the music shell, and expended its lethal energy by cutting down a six-inch-thick maple tree at its base.
Posted October 30, 2011
I recently read "The President's Henchman" also by Joseph Flynn. After finishing that story, I decided to look for more by this author. This one was also very good, although there was more gun waving and more people wounded and killed by those guns than I'd prefer. Still, if you like political intrigue, try "The Next President." I think it'll keep you engaged and guessing to the end.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 28, 2012
Posted September 8, 2001
I have read a few of Flynn's books but this one tops them all by a long shot. From the very first page Flynn gets you hooked. Who's the cat and who's the mouse? J.D. Cade is a great character and so are the others. If you like mystery or suspense, maybe even a thriller then definately pick up Joseph Flynn's The Next President!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 4, 2001
Joseph Flynn, the author of DIGGER, delivers another winner with his newest book, THE NEXT PRESIDENT. This is the story of J.D. Cade, a former sniper and assassin for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. After thirty years of trying to live a good life and raise a family, Cade¿s past has finally caught up with him. Certain members of the United States government want to use Cade¿s ability as a sniper to assassinate Senator F.D. Rawley, an African-American of integrity and determination who may very well become the first black president. To coerce Cade into committing murder, the life of his twenty-one-year old son, Evan, is threatened. The desire to protect his family is enough to propel Cade down a path he¿d rather not take. His first attempt on Rawley¿s life comes close to succeeding, but an unexpected incident forces Cade to devise another plan that will bring him much nearer to the presidential candidate. He intends on infiltrating Rawley¿s presidential campaign by contributing a large sum of money, thereby getting his foot in the door with the possibility of personally meeting the candidate. What Cade doesn¿t anticipate is that he will grow to admire and respect F.D. Rawley, finding himself torn between wanting to protect his son and wanting to see this great man become the next president of the United States. While Cade attempts to figure out a way to save his family without assassinating the good Senator, his son, Evan, is back home in Illinois trying to stay alive long enough to find out why he is being framed for a murder he didn¿t commit¿a murder that could once again start up a bloody feud between two families. When the moment finally arrives, will Cade be able to kill Senator Rawley, or will he be able to find a way out of his deadly dilemma and save the day? In THE NEXT PRESIDENT, Mr. Flynn has crafted a fascinating multi-layered novel that has several plots going at the same time and keeps the reader guessing right up to the end. The pace is fast and suspenseful, and there are a number of secondary characters that prove to be almost as interesting as the main ones. There¿s Daniel DeVito, the Secret Service agent who¿s instincts tell him that Cade is up to no good and is determined to be there when he makes a wrong move and Blair McCray, a police officer, who¿s father was murdered by J.D. Cade over thirty years before and now thinks that Evan may have killed his cousin. One theme that definitely stands out through the entire novel is the importance of family. When the people who are your blood are threatened, a person will do whatever it takes to protect them. This can lead to a fifty-year feud between two families, the assassination of a United States Senator, and a presidential candidate putting his own life on the line to save his grandson. THE NEXT PRESIDENT proves itself to be a worthy follow up to Joseph Flynn¿s second novel, DIGGER. This is an author who has the beginning of fabulous career ahead of him, and I certainly look forward to his next novel when it comes out. One last note, Mr. Flynn¿s first novel, THE CONCRET INQUISITION, is being reprinted this fall by Bantam Books. Be on the lookout for it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 13, 2000
I have found my new favorite author. Flynn makes his characters come to life-the good, the bad and the ugly. His tale is filled with many turns, but I never got lost following his roads. His protagonist, J. D. Cade, captured my interest and my heart from the first page. I also found the Presidential candidate very interesting. Anyone who enjoys intrigue, politics, love stories, detective stories, murder and mayhem will not be able to put this down. I am looking forward to going back and reading his last book, DIGGER.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 11, 2000
The book was great. It seems thast Libray Journal never has anything good to say about any book. Well guys...........what do you recommend ? Read the book and decide for yourself.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 4, 2011
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Posted March 9, 2011
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Posted September 26, 2011
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