Ribald political satire and a mocking use of standard suspense themes like sibling rivalry, lust and the battle between the sexes distinguish this first novel from sometime travel-writer Stevens (Night Train to Turkistan; Malaria Dreams). Matt Bonney, a prominent political consultant, has agreed to mastermind a colorful Southern governor's campaign to represent his state in the U.S. Senate. Complications arise, however, when Matt's brother, Luke, a member of the House of Representatives, declares that he too will run for the seat. The brothers face off, leaving Matt's wife, Lisa, who's also a congressperson, and the brothers' father, a former governor, caught in the middle. Employing an iridescent supporting cast of political professionals and journalists, Stevens skillfully lampoons the lifestyles of politicians, professional campaigners and camp followers. Since he never indicates to which parties his characters belong, or to what ideologies they hew, their lack of all conviction appears absolute. Meanwhile, the deep South where the race takes place remains anonymous, enabling the author to create an orginal amalgam of Southern quirks and customs. (Nov.)
This insider's novel of the contemporary electoral process is at once scathing and laugh-out-loud funny. Stevens, a political consultant and a talented writer, employs a cast of characters that includes two brothers, Congressman Luke and media consultant Matt Bonney; their father, Powell, the state's former governor; Matt's wife, Congresswoman Lisa Bonney; Sol-omon Jawinsky, governor of the mythical Southern state that provides the novel's setting; and various electoral and media mavens. All are involved in Luke's race for the U.S. Senate against the loud and immensely likable Jawinsky. The race is down, dirty, wild, and unpredictable, and Stevens's writing makes it all seem, if not plausible, at least possible, as he negotiates the fine line between condemning and ridiculing the circus that our electoral process has become. A fine debut; recommended.-David Dodd, Univ. of Col. at Colorado Springs
Stevens paints an amusing tale of political mudslinging and frantic finger-pointing during the last six days of a senatorial campaign that is taking place in an unidentified southern state. The novel's main character, Matt Bonney, is a highly respected political consultant whose brother, Luke, is running for the U.S. Senate. As they are sons of a southern political dynasty, the both live and breathe politics. Because Matt harbors a simmering hatred for his borther, he goes to work for the opposition campaign. The story details several very bizarre nasty tricks that the two camps play on each other, including public accusations of affiars with tranvestites, with each other's wives, etc. The outcome of the election is a surprise, with each side eventually realizing the futility of their subterfuge. This brief, hunorous novel is interesting for its outlandish portrayal of the lucidcrous intrigue and schemeing that are part of any hotly contested political race.