The Serpent's Crown

John McKeon, Author Walker & Company $19.95 (244p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1146-5
McKeon's first novel has some of the prerequisites for a fine political thriller but his execution falls short. A week before the election, presidential candidate Amos Gillian is asked by a journalist about his possible association with a neo-Nazi organization. Although Gillian is emphatic in his denial, the smear proves an effective tactic. Gillian's press secretary Laura Madison and former New York Times reporter Mitch Rydell (who was working on the story when he was fired) discover that the rumor is part of a conspiracy that reaches all the way to the White House. The key people who can help Laura and Mitch unravel the mystery are killed; a police report is sealed; police lieutenant Carlo Maddalena is commanded by his superiors to drop the case. Instead, he quits his job to continue the investigation on his own. Although the state-of-the-art computer technology used here by crooked politicians to create a Big Brother society is plausible and frightening, McKeon's facile prose and stereotypical characters make his story a laborious read. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
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