Sept. 8, 2009
-- Some classic political thrillers – such as “Seven Days In May,” “The Manchurian Candidate” and “The Parallax View” – crackle with suspense driven by a high-concept conspiracy.
Others – like “Advise and Consent” and “The Best Man” derive their intrigue from an insider’s view of back-room political horse-trading.
With “Process of Elimination,”
author Robert Stricklin has come up with a riveting hybrid worthy of its predecessors:
On a seemingly idyllic Saturday morning in May, the nation is jolted by the news that the Vice President of the United States has perished in a plane crash. After a respectable period of mourning, the President begins the task of vetting a successor – unaware that forces seeking to undermine the White House are plotting to influence his decision. A muck-racking West Wing correspondent, however, receives a tip from an apparent whistleblower and sets out to follow up on the lead – soon becoming embroiled in a conspiracy with deadly implications.
For Stricklin, whose previous novel, “A Necessary Evil,” was a relatively modest, Hitchcockian crime thriller, “Process of Elimination”
represents a more ambitious work with multiple characters, revealing back stories and enticing subplots designed to generate mass appeal.
Besides its page-turning elements of mystery and suspense, “Process of Elimination”
takes a critical view of Beltway wheeling and dealing, media zealotry and corporate opportunism. “It’s a thriller, for sure,” says Stricklin, “but it’s also a commentary on the stagnant state of affairs in American society – this relentless, counterproductive conflict between left and right, conservatives and liberals, capitalists and pseudo-socialists jockeying for the upper hand and getting little or nothing done. It’s the eternal clash between social evolution and maintaining the status quo.”
Still, one need not be a political junkie to become emotionally invested in the story, Stricklin assures: “This tale has something for everyone – danger, disaster, deception, betrayal, scandal, criminal behavior, revenge … plenty of guilty pleasures.” Not to mention a cast of characters that span the higher echelons of government, industry, media and covert operations, and a number of jaw-dropping plot twists – the most startling of which is saved for the very last sentence.
Published by Outskirts Press, Process of Elimination”
is available in bookstores, at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and other online booksellers, or at the OutskirtsPress.com bookstore. Requests for reviewer copies or an author interview should be directed to Robert Stricklin at firstname.lastname@example.org.