The Firing of Stephen Ledberg

Allen Lenzner. The Troy Book Makers (www.thetroybookmakers.com), $21 paper (298p) ISBN 978-1-61468-059-8

More a muddle than a mystery, this strange novel ham-handedly shoehorns issues of race and religion into a bewildering plot. Beginning on a light note, the novel introduces hapless reporter Stephen Ledberg, who discovers some naughty dealings on a golf course. As it turns out, his discovery is merely an entrée into a drama of hidden identities, political corruption, and African economic policy. Stephen is fired because of the story, but quickly gets a new job helping free spuriously jailed civil rights activist Marcus Aurelius Brown. When Marcus skips bail and flees to Africa, Stephen is sent after him, but fails to persuade the civil rights activist to return. Improbably, nearly every character from the first part of the novel then shows up in Africa. There's also a confusing subplot about Jewish businesses in Tanzania and a bizarre interlude involving Ralph Nader. These elements only contribute to the confusion.
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