The Plan

The Plan

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by Stephen J. Cannell

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The selling of the president is an assignment that could salvage TV producer Ryan Bolt's damaged life and career, But Bolt doesn't know whom he truly serves. And by the time he finds out, it may be already too late...for one nation under siege.


The selling of the president is an assignment that could salvage TV producer Ryan Bolt's damaged life and career, But Bolt doesn't know whom he truly serves. And by the time he finds out, it may be already too late...for one nation under siege.

Editorial Reviews

USA Today
Hot...The Reader can't put it down.
Boston Globe
Thrilling...A blistering page turner.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Veteran TV producer Cannell (The Rockford Files, The A-Team, The Commish, etc.) brings comic-book plotting and cellophane characterization to his first thriller, about the 1996 presidential election. The ``plan'' dates from the 1970s, when some farsighted mobsters decide gradually to buy controlling stakes in TV networks to give their favorite pols ``face time'' and eventually put their own man in the White House. It's a high-concept plot, worthy of a TV movie, but who'd want to play the hero? Ryan Bolt, an impossibly WASP-y and wimpy TV producer, is asked by short, fat and nasty Mickey Alo, his old prep-school pal, to film a documentary about a long-shot presidential hopeful. As Ryan susses out that Mickey is engaged in buying the presidency for the airhead governor of Rhode Island, he also falls hard for Lucinda Alo, Mickey's advanced degree-holding sister who, preposterously, doesn't know about the family business. The writing is by turns pretentious (``Dawn broke like a cheap wine cooler spreading an ugly red stain on the gray ocean''), silly (``Ryan knew where he was headed but had no inkling where he was going'') and bafflingly vulgar (``A shot of adrenaline hit Ryan's heart like cold piss''). As Ryan is drawn deeper into the mobby machinations of Mickey, and as the fate of the Republic comes to rest on his modest shoulders, Cannell hits every lurid and gory button possible in this cartoonly tale. (June)
Library Journal
Successful television producer Cannell (The Rockford Files, The A-Team) has turned his many talents to the field of novel writing. His first effort is the story of a chaotically arranged attempt to subvert justice and place a mobster-backed nominee in the White House. Mickey Alo, the mastermind behind the plan, elicits the assistance of childhood pal Ryan Bolt, recently down on his luck. However, Ryan soon sees beyond the sham and, closely aided by Mickey's sister Lucinda, sets off to uncover the sinister plot. With lots of "shoot-'em-up" scenes and a liberal sprinkling of vulgar language, The Plan would make a better TV movie than an audiobook. Indistinguishable characters and an incoherent and weakly contrived plot make this abridgment, which is narrated by the author, a marginal purchase for public libraries.-Gretchen Browne, Rockville Centre P.L., N.Y.
Emily Melton
Hollywood script crafters are routinely making the transition these days to fiction writing--some more successfully than others. Cannell, whose TV creative credits include "The Rockford Files" and "The Commish", is one of the successful ones, offering an action-packed page-turner of a first novel. Ryan Bolt and Mickey Alo have been friends since boyhood, but two more different personalities would be hard to find. Ryan is a laid-back Californian who's coasted through life on good looks and charm, while dumpy, swarthy Mickey, son of a Mafia don, has used charisma and his father's connections to get where he is. Approaching middle age, Ryan is faced with a series of personal crises, including his son's death and a failed career. Enter Mickey, who offers Ryan a job working on the campaign of presidential candidate Haze Richards. Ryan gratefully accepts, but he soon senses that Richards is merely a puppet and that there's some sinister purpose--masterminded by Mickey--behind the sham candidacy. Ryan is determined to stop the charade, but first he'll have to confront the power-mad, menacing Mickey, whose loyalty to Ryan flies in the face of blind ambition. Even though the dialogue is littered with sound bites, the blow-'em-up, shoot-'em-up escapades require superhuman survival skills, and the characters are a long way from well rounded, most readers won't mind. Cannell leaves 'em begging for more with a story that's pure entertainment from the first attention-grabbing page to the last.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.16(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Mickey Alo tipped the seat back but didn't sleep.He looked out the window of the Lear-55 at the blue-green reef fifteen thousand feet below. His father's pilot, Milo Duleo, had just announced that they were about to make their descent into Grand Bahama island. Mickey rubbed the stubble on his chin and wondered what the bell Paul Arquette was trying to pull. The call had been screwy. Paul's voice screeched at him through fifteen hundred miles of Atlantic Bell cable. -

"I can't tell you on the phone. . . but it's important. You can land at the deserted military field at Sand Dollar Beach. You won't have to clear customs or immigration. Nobody will ever know you're down here."

In the two rear seats of the plane, New York Tony Demarco and Little Pussy Bono were snoring contentedly. New York Tony had been Mickey's bodyguard since he was at Harvard back in the late seventies; now he was his capo, or right hand. Tony was short and muscular with a head as big as a truck tire and a complexion like lunar lava. Little Pussy Bono had gotten his name and reputation as a cat burglar in New York, but now he handled special assignments for the Alo family. He had been working mostly for Mickey, now that Joseph Alo was sick.Little Pussy was slender and hawk-faced. Like most cat burglars, God had designed him for air-conditioning vents and small openings.

The pressure in the rich gray and burl-wood cabin changed as New York Tony and Little Pussy sat up and rubbed their eyes.

Two minutes later, the plane touched down at the end of the apron and taxied to a stop. Mickey turned to face the two men in the seats behind him. "I don't know what's going on. Get a map ofthisfucking place and line up a car, don't rent it, steal something, and stay handy.In case I need you, I want you ready to move.No phone calls, no contact with anyone, no record we were ever here." Mickey didn't quite know why, but he sensed impending disaster.

"Right,"- New York Tony said, stretching out his stumpy legs

When Milo got the jet door open, Mickey was hit by a wall of heat and humidity.A blue English Ford was parked under a shade tree.It pulled out onto the field, stopping near the door. Mickey looked down at the car.A handsome young man got out. He was dressed in tennis shorts and a teal-blue polo shirt. "Mr. Alo, welcome to the Bahamas." The young man smiled.

"Who the fuck are you?" Mickey said, disdain crawling up in his throat.

"Warren Sacks. I'm Senator Arquette's media consultant."

Mickey tamed back to Tony and Little Pussy in thecabin."This is fucked.What happened to all the secrecy? We go to all this trouble to stay off the immigration sheet and Paul sends some dipshit to drive me." Mickey didn't wait for them-to answer.He moved down the steps carrying his sport coat and got into the blue Ford.Warren put it in gear and pulled off the tarmac.

"The air conditioner doesn't get much better than that, I'm afraid," Warren saidpleasantly.

"'Where's Paul?"

"The senator's at the club. We're having media planning sessions. He said I should drop you at his bungalow."And then Warren flashed Mickey a dazzling smile that seemed to say, "Don't worry, I'm in on the secret."

The Sporting Club had originally been a haven for bluewater fishermen, but it now mostly catered to conventions and vacationers. The clubhouse was a large stone building with a tile roof that faced the water. Palm trees and red hibiscus vibrated in a strong, offshore breeze. There was a picturesque wooden wharf where three 30-foot sportfishing boats with outriggers for trolling were tied.Warren drove the car past the clubhouse and down a shell road lined by dense mango plants.He pulled to a stop in front of a secluded bungalow.

"The afternoon conference should be breaking up soon.I'm sorry there's no cooler place to wait,but the senator said you'd understand."

"I'll see you," Mickey said, dismissing the man whom he had taken an unreasonable dislike to.

Warren put the Ford in gear and zipped off, gunning the engine unnecessarily.

The bungalow had a wood plaque on the door announcing it as the FLAMINGO SUITE. The front door was locked, so Mickey walked around to the back, where there was a louvered glass door next to an outdoor shower.Also locked.A window air conditioner had been cut into the wall, and it growled ominously.He cursed under his breath, then kicked a louver out with his foot, breaking a glass pane by the handle. He reached through the shards and opened the door.

The Flamingo Suite was small and neat. He looked around the living room which was decorated with flammgo pink wicker furniture, then moved into the bedroomand looked at the king-size bed, covered by a red and white floral bedspread.

Mickey began a thorough search of the room.He found some Polaroid pictures in Paul's shaving kit in the bottom dresser drawer. Six shots of Warren and Paul and a young girl who couldn't have been older than sixteen. They were disgustingly pornographic but didn't surprise him. They confirmed what he already suspected... Paul Arquette was a big mistake.

When Paul entered the Flamingo Suite twenty minutes later, he found Mickey stretched out on the pink sofa, his stockinged feet up on the armrest. Paul was in white tennis shorts and a Sporting Club T-shirt. At sixty-seven, he was still handsome and fit.The tropical sun had turned him a rich, deep shade of brown.Paul smiled at the little fat man.At five-four, his head and toes barely reached both ends of the couch.

Meet the Author

Stephen J. Cannell is the bestselling author of the political thriller The Plan and the psychothriller Final Victim, as well as the creator or co-creator of over forty television shows, including The Rockford Files, The A-Team, Wiseguy, andSilk Stalkings. He currently heads the Cannell Studios.

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The Plan 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago