Senior Brookings Institute fellow Rosenstiel (The Elements of Journalism, with Bill Kovach) makes his fiction debut with this polished, entertaining political thriller. President James Nash hires Washington, D.C., spin doctors Peter Rena and Randi Brooks to “scrub” potential Supreme Court nominee Roland Madison. Their researches reveal a 1960s radical taint in Judge Madison’s background, providing red meat for challenges from Nash’s opponents—in particular, the founder of the ultra-right-wing group Citizens for Freedom. But a more alarming problem arises when the murdered bodies of Madison’s colleagues start turning up. Rena and Brooks must now expand their investigation to hunt for a serial killer. The conservative Rena and the liberal Brooks are an engaging team, and Rosenstiel does a brilliant job dramatizing how Washington’s political sausage is made. Less convincing is the plot’s serial-killer element, which feels as if one of John Sandford’s psychopaths has wandered into Primary Colors. Still, readers will want to see a lot more of Rena and Brooks. Agent: David Black, Black Agency. (Feb.)
This review has been updated with the correct spelling of a character's name.
Reviewed on: 11/14/2016 Release date: 02/01/2017 Genre: Fiction