Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The President's Dirty Little Secret by John Russell

Giving you a twofer today, with the 2nd in a pair of books I simply could not motivate myself to finish.

In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent a copy of this book, gratis, for review by the author because I had enjoyed an earlier published work. Also in the interests of full disclosure, I didn't enjoy this one nearly as well.

Though I am not a gun nut in most senses of the word, I was raised in a semi-rural area of Idaho and have a nodding acquaintance with firearms and gun vocabulary, so it bothered me right away when one of the police is asked, after an assassination attempt, what model of gun was used, and he replies "A Saturday Night Special". Saturday Night Special is slang term for a small caliber easily concealed handgun, arising out of the Jim Crow laws in the South, not a particular make or type of gun. It's as wildly vague as the current "assault rifle" and has pretty much fallen out of usage today, which leads me to the following:

Although the story appears to be "contemporary", it refers to an attitude about AIDS being a "gay disease" and a judgement from God on homosexual behavior that went out thirty years ago, for the most part. This and a Hinkley-like assassination attempt, with Secret Service agents taking wounds to the chest that are easily stopped with a Kevlar vest - standard issue today - makes me think this book was resurrected from a very early draft, after initial success with the author's other novels, with insufficient editing.

Too much trouble suspending my disbelief, and the protagonist, an alcohol sodden journalist, didn't engage either my interest or sympathy rapidly enough, so I gave up about twenty pages in.

1 comment:

ProudHillbilly said...

It took me a long time to get to the point where I would not force myself to finish a book I wasn't interested in.

You probably could have dealt with the anachronisms if it had actually been a 30 year old book. In a new book, it's just a screw up.