Thursday, August 14, 2008

Book Review: Dark Horse

Of the 24 books I have reviewed on this site, only one was a fictional book. That should say that a fictional book has to be something pretty impressive for me to review it on here. Ralph Reed's first fictional book, Dark Horse: A Political Thriller, qualifies as something impressive. Dark Horse is a political thriller set in a present day election. The book opens up at the Democratic Convention where the presumptive nominee, California Governor Robert Long, has the nomination stolen from him at the last minute. But as the dust settles, and some questionable facts emerge regarding the Democratic nomination (and the delegation from Virginia) Robert Long starts to consider the unthinkable: an independent Presidential bid.

The book follows the election as the three candidates (Republican, Democratic, and Independent) battle for the White House. The story is told from the perspective of those closest to the candidates; their strategists. Many of the issues covered in this fictional election could easily have been taken from the current election. There were a number of times I recognized similarities between characters in the book, and members of real life presidential politics. Mr. Reed has the experience to make the book feel like a real election. Reed served as a senior adviser to the 2000 and 2004 Bush campaigns, was chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, and has been the executive director of the Christian Coalition. But don't think this is a propaganda piece for the Republican party. Two of my favorite characters in the book (and ultimately the main characters) are Democrats.

Dark Horse is a very easy read. The story is action packed with scandals hitting each of the candidates, political espionage, and an attempted terrorist attack on U. S. soil during the election. The main characters feel like real people. They aren't good or bad, but like most of us, have good and bad qualities.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspense or any type of "thriller" book. The cover says it is a "political thriller", and I thought it was a page turner. I hope Mr. Reed writes a sequel using some of the characters from this book. Who knows, there is always the bid for a second term.

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