Front Runner

Rob Allyn, Author Crown Publishers $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-57762-2
Two ambitious Texans from opposite ends of the social spectrum become collegiate rivals, then graduate to politics and rekindle their mutal hatred in this entertaining, fast-reading debut. Raised in a miserable family, redneck Jim Brackler studies hard and wins a scholarship to SMU, where he feels humiliated by the confident ``golden boys,'' especially Andrew Sebastian. A rich, charming, handsome football star, Sebastian inadvertently slights the grossly overweight bully, and Brackler responds by raping Sebastian's girlfriend, Tricia Farris. Brackler avenges Sebastian's subsequent beating by defeating him in a congressional run-off 10 years later. Having given up politics and turned to an academic career at SMU, Sebastian is drawn back into the fray when he hears that Brackler is running for the U.S. Senate. But Brackler, ever the dirty pol, manages to smear Sebastian as badly as he did during the first go-round, when he proved that the elder Sebastian had kept his son out of Vietnam by pulling strings. This time, he links Sebastian's affair with a sympathetic lobbyist to his votes while he briefly served in Congress. Although Sebastian is a two-dimensional hero, Allyn portrays the other players, particularly Brackler, with verisimilitude. He also avoids belaboring the grim memory haunting Tricia, and handles political strategems with an expertise not normally manifest in the genre. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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