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Access to Power [Kindle Edition]

Robert Ellis
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (282 customer reviews)

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Book Description


Three weeks before a crucial senatorial election, a man is gunned down execution-style in a D.C. office. Police are quick to call it a case of robbery gone bad, but Frank Miles suspects something far more sinister behind the murder of his business partner.

Washington's most feared image maker, Frank's ruthless media manipulation has earned him countless admirers...and just as many enemies. Now, for the first time in his life, Frank's met his match in a shadowy schemer as clever as himself--but far more lethal.

As the body count rises, Frank becomes the U.S. Attorney's chief suspect--and a cunning killer's next target. From the underground tunnels networking Capitol Hill to the dome high above, his race for the truth--and his life--will bring him face-to-face with power at its deadliest extremes--where winning isn't's the only thing.

With his debut novel, L.A. Times bestselling author Robert Ellis raises the stakes in a heart pounding thriller set in Washington that feels so inside and so twisted it reeks of the darkest truth.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Drawing on his experience as a high-profile media consultant, first-time author Ellis spins a potent political thriller that deftly conveys the superficiality and shrewdness of life on Capitol Hill. When renowned image-maker Frank Miles is hired to wage a no-holds-barred advertising blitz for Mel Merdock, a senatorial candidate with deep pockets and few morals, Frank's primary concern is to win the race, even if his client isn't the best man for the job. Three weeks prior to election day, Frank's longtime business partner and friend, Woody, is murdered during what appears to be a botched robbery. Unable to shake the feeling that Woody's death was no accident and aware of the considerable enemies his sometimes sleazy media schemes have earned him, Frank does some investigating of his own and uncovers a shocking trail of corruption that leads all the way to the White House. Ellis writes in crisp, punchy prose, mirrored by the novel's short, sound bite-like chapters, which are skillfully woven to form an absorbing narrative. A side story involving a romance between Frank and an associate is a pleasing touch, and Ellis's painstaking attention to character development, pacing and detail will ensure that this hard-hitting debut will leave conspiracy buffs hungering for more. (Aug.)Forecast: The book's plain, dark cover won't catch a browser's eye, but print advertising in USA Today and the Washington Post will help generate respectable sales for this debut thriller.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

In his savvy and stunningly suspenseful first novel, Robert Ellis combines his insider's knowledge of political machinations with the breakneck pacing, intricate, compelling plot, and complex characters one would expect from a well-seasoned writer.

Product Details

  • File Size: 680 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0055X09LW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,657 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C-Span meets Hitchcock. July 30, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
What Grisham is to law, Ellis is to politics
As a political professional, I can tell you, it is hard to find a newscast or an article, much less a novel, that accurately portrays what it is like to be inside of a high-pressure campaign.
Robert Ellis' book does that and more.
It is page turning thriller that seems to be ripped from the most recent tawdry scandals of the Beltway.
Scummy candidates, immoral media types, souless's all here.
Almost as much fun as discovering the resolve is seeing if you can guess which real life politicians his characters are based on.
Mr. Ellis is an insider. And it shows.
Access to Power is the best plane, beach, weekend read you'll have this year.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Hit Man Ever August 22, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really dug this book. As Frank Miles runs a senate campaign and investigates his best friend's murder, George Raymond haunts Washington DC trying to cover his tracks and multiple murders. But Raymond has a few hangups, as I guess most anyone who kills people for a living would. He has this thing for self-help tapes and listens to them in his car. George Raymond is an unbelievably great character and redefines bad guys for all time. I'll never forget this incredible person. While he scared the blank out of me, there's a hint of humor in the guy. At times I thought I could hear the author laughing in the background. Robert Ellis's Access to Power would make a great movie. I can't believe I found this book.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Vacation Book! August 9, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Damn that Robert Ellis! I read Access to Power on the recommendation of a friend, and I couldn't put the book down until I finished it. Which is great, except that it kept me up until 4 o'clock on a Monday morning, which made me useless for work that day. Access to Power is the best thriller I've read since the heyday of Robert Ludlum. The novel shows a real sophistication about Washington politics, and it's a first-rate murder mystery besides. Ellis writes in short, compelling chapters that make the book really easy to read -- and almost impossible to stop reading! This is a great book for a vacation or a long trip. If you like mysteries, it will hook you right from the start, and you'll enjoy a great roller-coast ride as the plot winds along to the surprise ending. A great beach book!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Knock Out - But you better lock your doors August 21, 2001
By Niki
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read the first chapter, put the book down, turned every light in the house on, made sure the doors were locked and bolted, ran back to my chair, and didn't get up until I was finished ...
Robert Ellis's "Access to Power" is the best mystery thriller I've read this year. I think I liked it so much because it stands out. Something new and different.
Frank Miles is a political consultant with a problem - his partner's been murdered and DC's finist can't figure it out. Frank investigates on his own. Then there's another murder and another. While all this is happening, Ellis unloads on Washington in a way that blew my mind.
The characters jump off the page. Frank Miles is cool and kept me going. George Raymond may be the most vicious bad guy I've ever met in a book. But Ellis's depiction of women really got to me as well. He obviously knows women and likes them.
"Access to Power" packs a heavy punch. The twists and turns are ingenious and thrilling. I can't wait for his next one.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good debut from a promising author.... January 16, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Robert Ellis debuts with 'Access to Power' - political consultant Frank Miles is at the top of his game. He wages senate and house campaigns, he even worked on the President's campaign. His firm, along with his two partners, is a success.

Then his long time partner, Woody is murdered. Metro police immediately rule it a robbery gone bad. But Frank thinks differently and starts to follow the clues only he sees.

This first novel is a little thin on character development and the plot is one-dimensional. But Ellis shows promise. If this is a series debut and his fledgling writing improves, he could become a must read.

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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth 99 cents April 12, 2012
By John C.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the worst books I've read. Despite several murders, it's utterly devoid of suspense, drama, or interesting characters. The author tells you who the killer is early in the book, and then has him go around shooting various people, but since they are cardboard characters, you don't care as the body count rises. What's more, it was incredibly obvious what the one "secret" in the book was. My advice--don't waste your money or time on this NON-thriller.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead on! August 7, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Everyone I know has been reading this and now I know why. First let me say I read this suspenseful thriller almost without stopping: the last 200 pages straight out. As each chapter ended I tried to get up and do something else but the book kept tugging me back.
Second, it's the most dead on (in every way, especially as bodies stack up) account of the political media business ever done. I work in it. I know. Ellis, who's worked in it too, may have invented a new genre. Forget those other political books written by day-old journalists and wannabes. This is the real deal written by the real guy. The suspense is generated as much by how smart things are done in the novel, not just by what's done. And the ending, complete with mayhem, has enough twists to keep you guessing all the way.
The fastest page-turner you'll read this year...and you may just learn a thing or two about the way things work, which ain't all bad--that is, depending on how you look at it. Buy this one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 9 days ago by nanette jakobson
5.0 out of 5 stars Access to Power
Well done! A glorious read with a REAL plot and most satisfying end. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and can't wait to crack open the next one. I'd highly recommend it.
Published 9 days ago by Delia L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics and money and intro q ue
What began as a bit of a bird walk began ratcheting up to make a great read. Almost too close to reality!
Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent political thriller
This is one of the best political thrillers I have read. Excellent characters and very well edited. Plot kept me guessing virtually to the last page. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Roy Baverstock
4.0 out of 5 stars This story is so close to what's going on at ...
This story is so close to what's going on at the present time that it's so scary. I hope that none of this happen in real life but it behooves all citizens to be aware of what's... Read more
Published 27 days ago by Nora Q Valencia
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good book got a couple more of his books to try. Very good author. I liked the fact you don't know who the killer is till the end. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good read!
Well written story with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing till the end. A few passages require you to suspend beliefs but it gets back to reality quickly. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Richard Wold
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics as usual?
A enjoyable read using the climb to political prominence as the background. It follows a line of what I think about the political process, and what it takes to get elected, and the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by JEBoone
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reading. Good plot
Great reading. Good plot. Loved it. I'd recommend this book and this author to anyone who loves a good mystery.
Published 2 months ago by Peni Shellman
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the book once I got into it
I enjoyed the book once I got into it . It was a little slow and confusing to begin with. But once the characters were revealed, I couldn't wait for the ending. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Debbie
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More About the Author

Robert Ellis is the international bestselling author of "Access to Power", "The Dead Room", and the critically acclaimed L.A. Times bestseller "City of Fire", "The Lost Witness", and "Murder Season" - selected as top reads by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, National Public Radio, The Chicago Tribune, The Toronto Sun, The Guardian (UK), The Evening Telegraph (UK), People Magazine, USA Today, and The New York Times. His novels have been translated into more than ten languages, are read in more than thirty-five countries, and are available in audio and all digital formats. Born in Philadelphia, Robert moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a writer, producer, and director in film, television, and advertising. Robert studied writing with Walter Tevis, author of "The Hustler", "The Man Who Fell to Earth", and "The Color of Money." His books have garnered praise from a diverse group of authors including Janet Evanovich's wonderful review in People Magazine. But perhaps Michael Connelly said it best: "'City of Fire' is my kind of crime novel. Gritty, tight and assured. Riding with Detective Lena Gamble through the hills of Los Angeles is something I could get used to. She's tough, smart, and most of all, she's real."

For more information, visit Robert Ellis online at


"Los Angeles, under a cloud of acrid smoke ... Robert Ellis´s City of Fire is a gripping, spooky crime novel."

"City of Fire is my kind of crime novel. Gritty, tight and assured. Riding with Detective Lena Gamble through the hills of Los Angeles is something I could get used to. She's tough, smart, and most of all, she's real."

"I just discovered this guy. This book is terrific."

"City of Fire by Robert Ellis is a no-holds-barred, barnburner of a thriller that blends Los Angeles-style crime fiction a la Michael Connelly with pulse-pounding Dean Koontzian psychological suspense. With a Southern California increasingly threatened by Santa Ana-fueled wildfires as backdrop, the emotionally supercharged story line centers on a killer who terrorizes west Los Angeles ... like Connelly's gritty Bosch saga, City of Fire features a tough but deeply flawed protagonist, a tantalizingly complex plot, fully realized -- and realistic -- characters and, most of all, a palpable intensity. And if that weren't enough, the bombshell plot twist at the novel's conclusion makes this an absolute must read for thriller aficionados."

"Ellis nicely depicts how the unsolved murder of Lena's musician brother casts a specter over her life and work. But City of Fire is ... about its propulsive plot: the ins and outs of police investigation and how the growing horror of a mad multiple murderer loose on the fiery streets of Los Angeles leads to unexpected decisions, layers of betrayal and a scorcher of an ending."

"Robert Ellis' brisk, complex City of Fire is hot stuff. Ellis excels at vivid writing and the expert plotting keeps the reader off-kilter. Ellis takes the police procedural and makes it a tale of personal corruption and desire, where right and wrong overlap. Here, the answers aren't easy as Lena wonders about 'blowback ... what the truth could do to a soul.' L.A., which is written about so often, seems fresh in the hands of an original storyteller such as Ellis."

"Ellis vividly evokes Hollywood as a place of burning desires, where the boundaries between good and evil are blurred beyond distinction. Ellis's prose is crisp, and his plot moves at a good clip. His characters are credible and complex."

"This potboiler dishes it out. This book is fast. Ellis makes it easy to be terrified. Recommended for popular collections."

"An LAPD detective goes out on an emotional limb chasing a violent serial killer. Lena Gamble and her new partner, Hank Novak, are called to an early morning crime scene in a small house near the Pacific Coast Highway ... A complex portrait of the flawed but righteous Lena by Ellis (The Dead Room, 2002, etc.) makes this sure-footed police procedural something special."

"City of Fire begins like a roller coaster, building tension, anxiety and fear. Then it plunges at full speed, spiraling and twisting through scenes that will have hearts pounding and fingers flying through the pages. But there is no smooth braking to a stop in this book. It careens to the end and then flies off the rail with a shocking twist that will leave readers stunned. Robert Ellis is a master of suspense."


"Scorching. Deliciously twisted. Nothing is what it appears to be. Ellis succeeds masterfully in both playing fair and pulling surprise after surprise in a story that feels like a runaway car plunging down a mountain road full of switchbacks."

"Fans of Michael Connelly and T. Jefferson Parker will relish Ellis' second crackling thriller featuring Hollywood robbery-homicide detective Lena Gamble. Ellis (City of Fire, 2007) serves up a killer crime tale with riveting characters and relentless twists."

"Certain powerful and corrupt individuals, some of them with the LAPD, arrange an efficient murder. Then, curiously, the department assigns the case to a detective whom they think will mess up the investigation. Two problems emerge: Robbery-Homicide Detective Lena Gamble (City of Fire) has no intention of failing, and there is an unknown witness helping her. Doggedly, Lena cuts through all the corruption, defies her superiors' orders, and, of course, puts herself in danger repeatedly. Ellis's elaborate puzzle is a nail-biter to the final page. Great LA settings enhance this high-speed thriller. Recommended for all popular collections."

"Ellis writes well and has a good sense of pace and timing. Once you start "The Lost Witness," you'll stay with it through those zigs and zags. And even when you finish the book, it'll spring up like a side effect each time you see those pharmaceutical commercials on the network evening news."

"Ellis piles on the Hollywood atmosphere and procedural detail, and the end revelation is expertly timed and genuinely shocking."

"The Lost Witness is a tough thriller that makes Ellis a name to watch."

"The Lost Witness is another gripping story by a writer who knows the seamy L.A. underworld well."

"City of Fire, the first in the Lena Gamble series, was good, but this second installment, The Lost Witness, is better. Nothing is as it seems in this unputdownable thriller which stars a woman of uncommon courage."

"Our staff is very much in agreement that THE LOST WITNESS may very well be one of the best thrillers that you will read in 2009."

"One of the first things noticed when reading Ellis´s latest (The Lost Witness), much like his first, is the realistic and fantastic job he does with his approach to this high octane tale from a female´s perspective. With not too much, and not too little, his creation of a female heroine comes off with just the right amount of bravado and sensitivity to convince even the most discerning of readers. And to top that off, while the story starts off with an even and steady tone, its steady but ever-increasing pace heads towards the explosive ending like a firecracker; one that explodes with more force and surprises than ever expected. And it´s in reaching this unexpected ending and finding out finally who done what and why that makes this read top-notch; there´s much more here than meets the eye. Filled with greed, big money, family loyalty, and things best left to the reader to discover on their own, this is one that comes highly recommended."


"The new Robert Ellis thriller MURDER SEASON balances the reality of high profile murder cases with a wonderful protagonist -- L.A. police detective Lena Gamble. Before you can say 'Chinatown' we are immersed in a tale of mind-boggling corruption where virtually every character in the book has a hidden agenda. Ellis is a master plotter who keeps triggering surprises at regular intervals. Along the way we meet wonderful characters."

"Robert Ellis is not quite a household name yet, but on the strength of MURDER SEASON, his fifth novel, such a destiny seems inevitable. This is a strong, riveting read from beginning to end. Within the space of a few books, Ellis has demonstrated that rare ability to skillfully navigate his readers through a complex plot filled with interesting, dangerous and surprising characters."

"The first chapter in MURDER SEASON is truly masterful, and if I were teaching students a way to write a first chapter that laid in the themes of the book, set a tone, and did it concisely yet beautifully, I think I would use this chapter. Fancy writing shouldn't put you off reading it, however, because to miss this novel would be a crime. And after setting the tone with the first chapter, MURDER SEASON is off and running."

"MURDER SEASON is, at its heart, a kick ass police procedural with lots of twists. Ellis is also wonderful with characters, and he makes you care not only about Lena Gamble, but about several other characters in the book, notably a cop on his way down. Ellis's thoughtful meditations on what's right and what's wrong make MURDER SEASON a standout."

"Ellis's Lena Gamble is one character readers cannot get enough of. We want more."



"MURDER SEASON will sweep through your reading hours like a raging, out of control forest fire. It roars with suspense and growls with danger--and the unexpected and clever conclusion will leave you with your mouth hanging open in shock. You might just need to be put on oxygen after reading this one."

"Ellis's style is mostly straight-ahead and to-the-point, with some noticeably impressionistic passages that open and close the novel. Yet, at every moment when a conclusion seems obvious, Ellis tosses in twists and surprises that propel the story to different levels, keeping us guessing until the final page."

"The combination of unanticipated revelations and the effectively portrayed sense of utter alienation that eats away at Gamble's confidence make MURDER SEASON the most intense and haunting entry of the series to date."

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