Sounding the Waters

James Glickman, Author
James Glickman, Author Crown Publishers $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-70040-2
Paperback - 433 pages - 978-0-7089-5859-9
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Fast-paced and engrossing, this political melodrama seems ready-made for Hollywood. On the one hand, the plot is appropriately Byzantine; on the other, the characters have little nuance to be lost in translation. Narrator Ben Shamas is a gifted lawyer losing himself in work and drink two years after the death of his daughter in a boating accident. But he agrees to help his old friend and Yale classmate, the powerful and highly principled Bobby Parrish, campaign for the U. S. Senate. That decision prompts Ben to confront not only the devious campaign strategies of Bobby's opponent, the unscrupulous congressman Richard Wheatley, but also his lingering desire for Bobby's wife, Laura; the political fallout from ill-advised investments Bobby's ailing sister made; and his anger about his daughter's death and the consequent dissolution of his marriage. The novel has enough plot for a book twice its size, and the behind-the-scenes glimpses of American political machinations are absorbing. Although the brevity of the novel ill-serves its characters, who never fully shrug free of their stereotypical underpinnings, Glickman's first effort succeeds as a skillfully crafted tale about the ruthlessness and ingenuity of American politics. (Apr.)
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