Dirty Tricks And Riotous Retribution

Some wise person once said, “Politics is show business for ugly people.” That sentiment is often taken to another level in political thrillers, where people are not only ugly, but also do very ugly things. Of course, in political thrillers, there are enough beautiful people around to keep all the dastardly deeds from being too indigestible. That’s certainly the case in the last political thriller Ross Thomas wrote, Ah, Treachery.

Ross Thomas was one of the acknowledged masters of the oft tongue-in-cheek political whodunit. His intricate plotting, detailed machinations of shadowy government organizations and covert subcontractors infused his tales with enough reality to keep plausibility high, and enough chicanery to keep morals low. It’s sometimes difficult to keep up with the multiple characters flowing in and out of Thomas’s tomes but it’s worth the effort if only to revel in the menacing motivations of each. There are always plenty of good guys, bad guys, victims, perpetrators, and not-so-innocent bystanders to keep you turning pages looking for the next twist or turn.

Ah, Treachery makes the majority of its cat and mouse moves between the sun-splashed streets of Los Angeles and the grey and granite facades of Washington DC and surrounding suburbs. It’s set in the late 1990’s when Bush 1 was on the way out and Clinton 1 was on the way in. The plot involves stolen campaign stashes, mysterious wrongdoings in El Salvador, murder here, there and everywhere, and a sense of impending peril that seems to trail all the participants regardless of their various political affiliations.

In the middle of all the cloak and dagger comings and goings is Edd Partain, an ex-military type who gets bounced from a dead-end (but low maintenance) job in the wilds of Wyoming and ends up providing aid, comfort, and muscle to an ex-Texas matriarch now sequestered in her own rent-free hospital room in Beverly Hills. She’s looking for millions that have somehow gone missing, and he’s looking for a paycheck and payback (if available, which it turns out to be) on whoever was responsible for separating him from the only woman he ever loved long enough to marry. Rest assured that Edd runs up against sinister schemers, charming conspirators, stone cold killers, and dangerously desirable (and available) romantic interests. How he maneuvers his way in, out, through and over this maze of honor’s mutineers is what keeps you churning from chapter to chapter.

The Fiction Fortune Hunter found Ah, Treachery up to the Ross Thomas standard of sly, intelligent, wicked fun. Here’s hoping you will too.

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