"INVENTIVE, FAST-PACED PAGE TURNER" IS "VERY CINEMATIC"
Two days ago, Hard Case Crime posted the image above to Instagram, with the caption, "Hot off the presses! Hitting stores in 25 days! You can pre-order online or from your favorite local bookseller." A day earlier, Cinema Retro's Giacomo Selloni posted a review of Brian De Palma and Susan Lehman's Are Snakes Necessary? with, not spoilers, but "teasers" --
At the risk of sounding much like the introductory theme song to The Jetsons:
Meet Barton Brock, campaign manager for Senatorial candidate Jason Crump who's getting creamed in the primaries by incumbent Senator, Lee Rogers.
"Political campaigns are brutal. The stakes are high. Not for the electorate - Barton Brock does not particularly care for the electorate. But for the team that boosts the candidate into office, the stakes matter, a lot. The guys on the team get big payoffs, good appointments, cushy jobs, bigger campaigns.
It's a lot like fishing. You start small, then throw away the little guys, the ones self-respecting cats wouldn't call dinner - and then you cast out for the big mothers."
You like similes and metaphors? Lehman and De Palma are masters of the craft. Wait.
Meet Elizabeth DeCarlo, a 19 year old "drop-dead gorgeous blonde" working the counter of a McDonalds. Brock enlists her onto his staff to "conduct push polls" but he has an ulterior motive.
Meet Senator Rogers, incumbent Senator. He has an ailing wife and an historically out of control libido. He meets Elizabeth. In a hotel bar. After a successful primary victory. Just what Brock planned. But things don't turn out quite how he planned.
Meet Jenny Cours, Jenny is 47 and has been for many years, a flight attendant for Loft Air. She is a long-time ahem, friend of the Senator's and his aforementioned libido.
"Why do we never forget the ones that got away? Rogers quickens his pace. And, eyes trained on her ass, he catches up with Jenny Cours."
Meet Fanny Cours, Jenny's 18 year old daughter who is "in the full flush of carnality. Neither her vitality and ripeness nor the irrepressible sense of readiness that surrounds her elude the impatient senator." The college student is also a political junkie and a videographer who goes to work on Rogers' campaign much to her mother's distress.
Meet Nick Sculley, a one-time famous news photographer who's down on his luck and during a stopover in Vegas on his way to LA, he bumps into Elizabeth Diamond, nee DeCarlo, coming out of the Admiral's Club Lounge. He's as good looking as our old friend, Elizabeth. Coincidentally, they're taking the same flight to L.A.. They bond over Graham Greene's The End of the Affair, sit together and...
"Giggle. Smile. Kiss the boy. Watch him light up. Knowing how to speak to the animal in the man is half the game. The rest, Elizabeth finds, is really a matter of will."
Meet Bruce Diamond, Elizabeth's rich, casino-owning husband. Seven casinos rich.
"Diamond loves expensive cars, priceless paintings, beautiful women. He loves to throw money around. He's so full of himself and all of his big hungry qualities, he is near to bursting."
There we have the major dramatis personae. De Palma and Lehman have crafted a well-woven tale that could be closer to the truth than evident at first. Politics does make strange... well, you know. The perfunctory "names, character, places, etc." disclaimer appears on the copyright page. I bet it must have been written with a tongue in cheek. As you may guess, due to the authors involved, the novel is very cinematic. The characters come alive in your mind and you can see settings and scenes as if you were viewing this, not just reading it.
"A little conversation, with an old woman. Beats going through the motions of seduction with some guy out of Vegas who is genuinely confused as to whether the conversation is going to end up in bed or not. (Yes, mister, it is, why else do you think I'm listening to you prattle on about your golf game, the jazz that means more to you than anything in the world, the novel that will bring you fame and fortune and change the way the world thinks? Darling. This is the noise we make to fill up the time between here and the not so distant moment when we'll be naked animals grunting and moaning in a world far from conversation.)"
These are Elizabeth's thoughts as she rides on a bus, towards the next stage of her life as she sits and speaks with:
Meet Lucy Wideman, an elderly woman who has anonymously, for years, been the Boston Globe's advice columnist, Dear Dottie.
With this inventive, fast-paced page turner in your hands you will also be meeting your next fun and exciting read.