The Crawlspace Conspiracy

Thomas Keech, Author
Thomas Keech, Author Baskerville Publishers $22 (328p) ISBN 978-1-880909-34-8
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A slapstick plot, a quirky cast of sharply etched characters and deadpan writing make for a seriously amusing first novel about political shenanigans in Baltimore. For some years, nonexistent crawlspace and basement rentals have been assigned to anyone applying to the Department of Public Welfare--thereby putting applicants over the income level that would allow them to receive medical assistance. One such applicant is Charles Gage, who has just inherited a house in a hush-hush development project sponsored by Mayor Crosley T. Pettibone. The mayor's rival, state senator Samuel ``Slip'' Slidell, plans to use this development to destroy Pettibone's political career. Meanwhile, Sport Norris of the Legal Assistance Society decides to hit the Welfare department with a lawsuit about those mythical basements. Complications pile upon complexities in this disturbing yet hilarious look at the absurdities of municipal bureaucracy. With enough plots to fill three novels, Keech's political comedy concludes with a satisfying serving of just deserts for all. (May)
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