The Next President

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One bullet can change everything...

Who's the cat and who's the mouse?

J.D. Cade was trained to kill by his country. He did his duty and put the past behind him. Or so he thought.

Now someone is using his only son as a pawn to force ...
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One bullet can change everything...

Who's the cat and who's the mouse?

J.D. Cade was trained to kill by his country. He did his duty and put the past behind him. Or so he thought.

Now someone is using his only son as a pawn to force him to kill again. And this time the target is Franklin Delano Rawley — the first African-American on the verge of becoming the president of the United States.

In order to spare Rawley's life and save his own son, J.D. must somehow find out who is behind the conspiracy. But his every move is being watched by his blackmailer.

He has drawn the attention of a suspicious Secret Service agent. And he has met an old army "friend" working in the Rawley campaign. Just as troubling is J.D.'s attraction to Rawley's beautiful campaign manager.

Time is running out. When J.D. finally pulls the trigger, who will live and who will die? Rawley? J.D.'s son? Or J.D. himself? Joseph Flynn defies you to guess the answer in this edge-of-your-seat thriller.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
Readers raved about this book by the author of the page-turner, Digger, who brings us a "captivating" cat-and-mouse suspense story focused on J. D. Cade, a trained killer who is being blackmailed by people who want the next President of the United States, an African-American, dead. Full of "twists," a "well-written, timely thriller."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The latest entry in the election year tradition of political thrillers from the campaign trail is this tough, stylish tale about a reluctant assassin who can't bring himself to follow orders to kill the Democratic nominee for the White House. The assassin is successful businessman J.D. Cade, a former army sniper who is being blackmailed into killing Franklin Delano Rawley, the black senator from Wisconsin who's engaged in a tight battle with the incumbent in the 2004 election. Cade knows neither the identity of his blackmailer nor why he wants Rawley eliminated. All he knows is that his nemesis has threatened the life of Cade's 21-year-old son, Evan, if Cade refuses to do his bidding. The blackmailer's leverage is a secret in Cade's past: three decades ago, Cade killed a man named Alvy McCray, the last death in the great Cade/McCray blood feud. Cade fears that revealing the secret will reignite the family vendetta, which has been simmering for more than a century on the Illinois-Kentucky border. Although Cade attempts to kill Rawley in Chicago, his long-range rifle shot just misses. His next step is to ingratiate himself with the Rawley campaign, posing as a major donor. Although he then gets several opportunities, he still cannot liquidate his target. In desperation, Cade decides to try to discover the identity of his blackmailer, whom he plans to murder instead. Flynn (Digger) propels his plot with potent but flexible force, using just the right mix of pressure and release to maintain suspense deep into the story. He also shows a patient touch with his characters, allowing Cade and several others to develop well beyond the status of simple role players. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
In this second, somewhat disappointing novel by the author of Digger, J.D. Cade--a wealthy Vietnam vet and former super-sniper--must kill black senator and leading presidential contender Del Rawlins or a rogue government group will destroy Cade and his family. As Cade, a cross between Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford, gets to know and like Rawlins, he tries to work his way out of his lethal dilemma. While the book is sometimes exciting, it generally lacks suspense: the reader just knows everything will work out. Also, the plot is convoluted and full of implausibilities, as when Cade, a complete stranger, becomes an almost instant intimate of the candidate. These and other coincidences just don't work. For larger collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/00.]--Robert Conroy, Warren, MI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
The presidential hopeful is African-American, but few are the real changes rung here on the old send-a-sniper-to-kill-the-candidate caper. Whenever crack shot J.D. Cade misses, blame it on something spectacularly unpredictable: front-runner Del Rawley suddenly bending to take a rose from a little girl, for instance, causing Cade's .50-caliber slug to pass harmlessly over his head. In one sense, Cade is relieved. He likes Rawley, thinks he's something special in the way of politicians. All things being equal, he'd be happy to see Rawley's steady hand guiding the US ship of state. But, alas, all things are far from equal. Cade, trained as an assassin during the war in Vietnam, is being blackmailed in a particularly nasty way. Take Rawley out, or your son dies, the mysterious conspirators tell him, and not for a minute does he doubt the capability behind the wicked threat. Thus, when his first attempt fails, he immediately sets about planning a second. Still, he truly would prefer not to kill Rawley, whose presidency would be of such benefit to the country. In addition, there's the matter of sexy Jenny Crenshaw, Rawley's campaign manager, to whom Cade is more than little drawn and who would be immensely let down to discover she's been nurturing a viper in her bosom. Clearly, the only way to fend off a variety of disasters is for Cade to force his enemies into open confrontation, which he does. In a climactic scene set in the Hollywood Bowl, good killer faces bad killer, the fate of the nation hanging in the balance. Once again (Digger, 1997), Flynn provides plenty of plot, but a lethal shortage of characterization.
From the Publisher
"[Flynn is] a master of high-octane plotting."
Chicago Tribune

"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

Publisher's Weekly - Reed Business
...tough, stylish tale about a reluctant assassin who can't bring himself to follow orders to kill the Democratic nominee for the White House....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. He also shows a patient touch with his characters, allowing Cade and several others to develop well beyond the status of simple role players. - Jane Adams
A decent, resourceful man with his own code of honor, J.D.[Cade] must untangle the web of political deceit and intrigue that dates back to his own service in Vietnam in order to free himself from a shadowy adversary who will stop at nothing. An original, suspenseful thriller that will keep you turning the pages...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553105339
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/6/2000
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Flynn is the author of Digger and The Concrete Inquisition. He lives in central Illinois, where he is currently at work on his next novel.
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Read an Excerpt

Labor Day
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.

"FDR, FD—"

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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2011

    Political thriller

    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.

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    I definitely recommend

    1st time i have read his books and found it interesting but hard to believe

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2001

    Meet Joseph Flynn At His Best

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2000

    Whats With Library Journal ?

    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.

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    Posted July 4, 2011

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    Posted March 9, 2011

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    Posted September 26, 2011

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