Crown Oklahoma

James Lehrer, Author
James Lehrer, Author Putnam Publishing Group $18.95 (223p) ISBN 978-0-399-13434-0
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
TV anchorman Lehrer of The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour takes a dyspeptic view of the mass media in this slim picaresque fable. Its hero is One-Eyed Mack, swashbuckling if harried lieutenant-governor of Oklahoma who starred in Lehrer's last novel, Kick the Can. He learns from a CBS broadcast that the Okies, a highly secret organized-crime group based in his very own state, is making inroads on the Mafia and terrorizing the Southwest. But this news item turns out to be a hoax concocted by disaffected CBS reporter Archibald Tyler. As FBI agents, newsmen and real Mafiosi swarm all over the state, Mack's goal is to out-fake this faker--to fool Tyler into supposing that his tall tale has more than a grain of truth. Aiding him in this scheme is Brother Walt, oddball preacher of the Hoy Road church, and ``Cool'' Harry Hayes, Oklahoma's law enforcement chief, who drives a black Lincoln Continental with a submachine gun strapped to the front seat. This wacky saga is more entertaining for its funky local color and grassroots humor than as a satire on the media's tendency toward sensation-mongering. Paperback rights to Ballantine. (May)
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