Book Review: Political Dirty Trick by James R. Callan

Political Dirty Trick by James R. CallanPolitical Dirty Trick by James R. Callan gives us a glimpse into what is really going on during political campaigns. While sometimes the right candidates get elected, at times the political dirty tricks swing the pendulum enough for the other party to win.

Crystal Moore flies to Texas to help her long-time family friend Ron Drake, who is campaigning to become the next governor. He is clearly the best candidate for the job, and the polls are there to prove it.

When the difference between the two candidates becomes too big, someone figures the only way to stop his backing is a neat little scam that should help the opposing candidate.

When things go wrong and someone is killed, things escalate pretty fast. The main idea was to frame Ron for insurance fraud – and now that someone died – they might as well pin the murder on him as well. This way he would lose the trust of his constituents who would switch and vote for the other team. However, they didn’t count on Crystal being right here helping Ron with his campaign.

The book is really an open crime story. We are privy to the scam right from the start, and we learn the motivations of the bad guys from the very beginning. We also know immediately who the killer is. So there is really no big mystery to be revealed.

What we are left with is to follow Crystal as she wades through the clues and puts her life in danger repeatedly until she figures out what we knew right from the start.

Still, this doesn’t mean the book was not suspenseful. It was quite a ride, one which I enjoyed from the beginning to the end. But if you like your mysteries giving you puzzles that – once you put them together – will allow you to figure out whodunit, you might feel slightly disappointed that there was nothing for you left to discover.

The characters were well fleshed out, although I couldn’t really warm up to Crystal. I strongly suspect the reason is that I was reading the third book in the series, so I was literally dropped into the action. There was no character development especially regarding her relationship with her boss, Mark. I didn’t feel any sparks between the two, and yet, towards the end of the book, the two decided to get married. Again, it’s probably because I missed reading about them in the first two books of the series.

On the other hand, I did like Crystal’s grandmother, Nana Eula. She was witty and fun, and I could easily warm up to her charm. I found myself enjoying the scenes with her quite a lot.

Overall, while the book was fun to read, my interest was mostly held by the political dirty tricks that people resort to. In a way, it makes the current political climate (especially in the US) easier to understand, although it’s still unbelievable to boot. If if you are still wondering what is going on, this book can leave you with a few clues. And the notion of “fake news” takes on a whole new meaning here.

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