Monday, October 16, 2006

'The Senator' by Lou Dischler

TITLE: The Senator
AUTHOR: Lou Dischler
PRICE: $14.99
GENRE: Thriller
ISBN: 141962007X

I just finished three thrillers in a row. The first two were The Broker by Grisham and The Camel Club by Baldacci. The third one was The Senator by Lou Dischler.

I have no qualms putting this right next to the Grisham and Baldacci novels. The Senator is fast paced, populated with three dimensional characters, and the settings and atmosphere surrounding the events in those settings, were realistic. In places, as a matter of fact, it seemed much more real than the Grisham, with which I had some ‘suspension of disbelief’ struggles.

The main character is a “lesser known” (and completely fictional) Kennedy who has run for office and failed, as well as failed in an attempt at a career in journalism. At the time of the story’s opening, Paul Kennedy (who doesn’t appear until chapter 2, actually) is dreaming about buying a 30 foot boat and running a tourist fishing operation. He’s dating the daughter of the powerful Senator from South Carolina, Wade Thornton, a situation which the staunchly Republican Senator thoroughly disapproves. Paul would marry Helen Thornton, but she is reluctant because of the enmity between Paul and her father.

The arrival of a package from Argentina at Paul’s address, but intended for someone else, is the beginning of a chain of events in Paul and Helen’s life that eventually leads them to uncover a conspiracy that includes people in top government positions both in the US and other countries, who are pushing relentlessly towards a goal that would destroy the US economy, setting up the right circumstances for their Society to step in and take charge of a world that will be left in chaos.

There are a number of essential subplots and secondary characters, all are well crafted and integral to the story. The subplots weave in and out of the main plot, supporting and enhancing the story. And while there is a secret global conspiracy, it isn’t one totally constituted of dark and exaggeratedly evil madmen. One can actually empathize with them at some level. To me, this is key to a good thriller. If the white-hats are too white and the black-hats too black it’s just melodrama.

Because much of a thriller’s enjoyment for a reader hinges upon the elements of surprise, it would be unfair to go deeper into the story. I will say that there are times when I think some of the economic rhetoric could have been pruned. I also think the portrayal of the Secretary of Defense was a bit over the top. But I think back to the characters in the Grisham and the Baldacci books mentioned above and they had similar flaws. I found a few errors a bit more copy-editing might have caught, but frankly I’m finding those in best-sellers these days, too. No harm done to my reading pleasure. And it was a pleasure to read.

RATING: 8/10

Amazon 10/10


Reviewed by Dawno

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