Bruce Cantwell’s The Catalonian Candidate is the perfect story to come out a few days before this insane election – a mashup between The Manchurian Candidate and The Parallax View.
Walter Forbes and his partner Jane Greer (Jane Greer…) are hired to do tech security for Senator Guy Morton. But what began as “…a routine information security assignment had placed Forbes on the front lines of the War on Terror”…….or had it? Trojan horses abound. People are not what or who they seem to be. In fact, “Forbes, Morton, and agent Butterfield looked at the same people in the same room, but what they saw couldn’t differ more.” And the characters are plunged into a slam-bang sortie of the Realpolitik of today’s political scene before the story circles back on itself to the beginning….
And just for a little fun, the names of many of the characters are old actors or combinations of characters from classic movies, including some that don’t even exist… (Can you say North by Northwest or Strangers on a Train?) Enjoy puzzling out who’s who and who’s based on who in this fast-paced thriller that is the perfect read as this election barrels down on us. Enjoyable. Timely. And a hell of a lot of fun.
Paul D. Marks is the author of the Shamus Award-Winning noir mystery-thriller White Heat. Publishers Weekly calls White Heat a “taut crime yarn”. His story "Howling at the Moon" (EQMM) was short-listed for both the 2015 Anthony and Macavity Awards for Best Short Story, and came in #7 in Ellery Queen’s Reader’s Poll Award. Midwest Review calls Vortex, Paul’s noir novella, which was featured in the 2015 Noir Friday edition of Mysterious News, “…a nonstop staccato action noir.” He also co-edited the anthology Coast to Coast: Murder from Sea to Shining Sea and the upcoming Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea (both for Down & Out Books). His short story "Nature of the Beast" has recently come out in Beat to a Pulp and "Deserted Cities of the Heart" just came out in Akashic Books’ St. Louis Noir anthology. "Ghosts of Bunker Hill" will be in the December, 2016 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and "Bunker Hill Blues" will be in upcoming issue of Ellery Queen. "Twelve Angry Days" will appear in a future issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Though Paul writes about other places, he considers himself an LA writer and lives in Los Angeles with his wife, dogs and cats. He has served on the board of the LA chapter of Sisters in Crime and currently serves on the board of the SoCal chapter of MWA (Mystery Writers of America).
Mini Review: "Take a solid mystery with an engaging detective protagonist, add timely complexity with a political plot, heat it up with a sexy suspect, put a cherry on top with a bit of Hitchcockian fun, and you've got The Catalonian Candidate."-- newsie Cindy Brown, author of the Ivy Meadows Mysteries
Mini Review: "An innocuous campaign stop turns into something far more when Senator Morton witnesses a dance scene at a community festival that you'll have to read to believe."--newsie Stephen Campbell, author of Four Seasons of Reno Hart
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A funny thing happened on the road to this year's election.
In February 2015, I made the same mistake that Anthony Weiner did.
I tweeted when I intended to Instant Message.
I didn't tweet the same thing, a picture of my briefs, I tweeted a link to a post I'd written about the movie Gone Girl. And, sadly, I wasn't enough of a person of interest for a journalist who went by the pseudonym Publius (of Breitbart News) to follow my feed and retweet me toward all the right influencers to turn a newbie tech error into a career-ending national disgrace.
But, I had Walter Forbes, the PI/Information Security Specialist of Last Heartthrob sitting around with his feet propped up on his desk watching football and waiting for his next assignment. I decided that it should come to him in the form of a well-heeled backer who wanted to make sure that her candidate didn't fall prey to the same sort of techno-blunder that brought down Anthony Weiner.
“You know what opposition research is?” the client asked.
“I don’t want to give you the impression that I don’t pay attention to politics, but I don’t pay a lot of attention to poli–”
“–Every statewide and national political campaign employs a team of people to watch every move their opponents make and document every misstep for their campaign director to give him mud to sling at the appropriate time.”
“Those wobbly videotapes where a twenty-year-old racist remark magically finds its way onto the web?”
She nodded. “I’m afraid it’s going to be more sophisticated this election cycle.”
“Sad to hear it.”
“Yes, it is sad, but it’s a fact. This time it’s not going to be some speech at a private event recorded by a caterer with a smartphone that brings a candidate down. This time it’s going to be something more personal.”
I failed to predict almost everything about the current election cycle, except that it would revolve around hacking, the influence of money in poltics, sexual indiscretions, illegal immigration, terrorism, a candidate whose personal convictions don't align with the party's, US relations with certain foreign powers, and an FBI investigation.
I also failed to predict that the October surprise that would shake up the race would find its way back to Anthony Weiner's laptop computer.