Impaired Judgment

David Compton, Author, Joseph Pittman, Editor
David Compton, Author, Joseph Pittman, Editor Dutton Books $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-525-94457-7
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages - 978-0-451-20477-6
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""Barely halfway through your first hundred days in office and I'm afraid the honeymoon with Congress is over,"" Paula Candler informs her husband, Jim, the newly elected president of the U.S. She's right; the White House couple has plenty of enemies, and within a few pages of Compton's second political thriller (after Executive Sanction), the Candlers are plunged into a tense plot whose twists and turns include corrupt courts, a mob ring, blackmail and a political scandal or two. The First Lady is also a federal court judge across the state border in Alexandria, Va., but whenever Del Owens, the president's chief political adviser, pressures her to quit her job on the bench, the feisty feminist refuses. Then an FBI sting operation snatches up mobster Tony Remalli, charged with killing another female judge, and deposits him in Paula's court. Remalli's slick, extremely nasty Chicago lawyer, Don Russ, is assisted by a sexy, amoral and very enterprising investigator, Julia Menendez. After Julia starts sleuthing around, she discovers Paula Candler was involved in the hit-and-run death of a Virginia teenager some years ago. Russ threatens to ruin Paula, her husband and the administration--unless she finds Remalli not guilty. Complicating things even further, Del Owens arranged the coverup after the accident; now he's desperate enough to do anything to keep the entire event under wraps. Oddly enough, Paula and Julia, the women in this thriller, are drawn with more depth than the male characters. Del is so blatantly evil he's ludicrous, and Mr. President's lack of political savvy is as hard to swallow as his Mr. Clean persona. After the fast-paced suspense and political intrigue, all the pieces fall into place in a lackluster finale, with the First Couple nobly persevering for America, and the bad guys paying big time. (Sept.)
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