My review of The Rules of the Game, the debut novel by former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr., is now up on Washington City Paper‘s Web site. Excerpt:
[C]hief among the many politicos swimming in Downie’s dense plot is Susan Cameron, a vice president who rises to the Oval Office following her running mate’s death. That subplot is engaging enough, but Downie knows that those themes aren’t enough to make for an interesting thriller. If he wanted to expound on what it’s like to play hardball with military and intelligence agencies, he’d be better off writing a memoir, and if he wanted to talk politics he could have saved himself a lot of typing and gone on C-SPAN, referring readers to books by his former staffers (“Newspaper editor turned novelist” and “special guest on Washington Journal” generate about the same celebrity wattage). So, to keep things moving as a work of fiction, he embeds a third game—inappropriate fucking.
If you’re in D.C., Downie will discuss the book Monday, Jan. 26, at Politics & Prose.