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Black Sunshine Mass Market Paperback – September 2, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After skewering Big Tobacco (Smokeout) and the Disney empire (Deep Water), lefty journalist Date takes on Florida Republican election dramas past and present, vying with fellow Sunshine State satirists like Tim Dorsey and Carl Hiaasen in this thoroughly over-the-top novel of political intrigue. A gubernatorial candidate dies in what appears to be a fishing accident and is replaced by a former governor's son, Bub Billings, a George W.-like clown who "can't read a TelePrompTer" but surges ahead in the polls anyway. When the GOP bosses find out Bub has a mind of his own, particularly on environmental matters, he gets pushed off a yacht (appropriately named Soft Money) and is replaced by his envious, conniving younger brother, Percy. Murphy Moran, a down-on-his-luck political consultant enlisted by the Democrats to get incriminating photos of Bub frolicking with half-clad "Victory Hostesses" on the Soft Money, ends up fishing him out of the water instead. The two then piece together the convoluted GOP plot and try to get the information to the proper authorities. Other characters include the slatternly secretary of state, Clarissa Highstreet, a dead ringer for Katherine Harris; conflicted state finance director Toni Johnson, who helps Murphy and Bud by exposing some major GOP corruption; and eco-friendly vigilante Randy Romer. Along with the politicians, big business (especially a shady company called Petron), a gullible media and a clueless electorate get what's coming to them in this timely farce. Though at moments alarmingly sexist, it should have Michael Moore fans cackling with recognition and glee.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Once again, Date (Smokeout) has laid Florida politics low with a hilarious indictment of that state's electoral process and Republican Party. The plot, as one character says, "is nothin' more than Big, Dirty Oil lyin' and killin' to own the government of Florida." In Date's hands, it becomes the perfect combination of high drama and slapstick comedy, laced with enough truth and innuendo to make the reader think, "it could happen." Two brothers, Bub and Percy Billings, are poised to become Florida's next governor. After Bub wins the primaries, he reveals his stance on offshore drilling and conveniently disappears over the side of a yacht during a campaign fund-raiser. Percy is all too willing to "win one for Bub" until Bub reappears, very much alive and ready to get to the bottom of the fund-raising scandal that earned him the nomination. What ensues is a battle to the death, fought on the high seas, with a hurricane and a love story thrown in for good measure. Black Sunshine is a delicious tale of ambition gone awry and people who should know better, and no public library should be without it.
Thomas L. Kilpatrick, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; First Edition edition (September 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425192164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425192160
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,434,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D.D. on October 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is it, folks. This is the one that puts Date in the big leagues of Hiaasen and Evanovich. As funny as Speed Week, as biting as Smokeout, better paced than Deep Water, Black Sunshine's got it all. A tip: don't read it while drinking a carbonated beverage. It hurts too much coming out your nose. I can't wait for the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nanci on October 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I had never heard of this author before I read the review in the Kansas City paper last week. Now I can't wait to read all his previous stuff. The reviewer called Black Sunshine a good political thriller, but she forgot to mention just how roll-on-the-floor funny it is! How can a good "thriller" also be hilarious? Darned if I know, but Date has managed to do it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "erecife1994" on October 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Florida, a rigged election, oil rigs in the Gulf, two politically competitive brothers. What more could you ask for? Democrats who hate the Bushes will love it. Republicans who love the Bushes will love it. Everyone who hates Katherine Harris will especially love it!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Date's been compared to Carl Hiaasen, with outlandish plots ripped from the headlines and a seriously cynical view of his subject. With every novel, the comparisons become more apt - though unlike Hiaasen, Date is clearly drawing his characters from life. The who's-who guessing games aren't terribly difficult in this tale of gubernatorial politics and greedy corruption. The story is built around the rivalry between a not-so-bright but politically gifted man - "Bub" - and his hardworking brother Percy. Bub's well on his way to replacing his father as Florida's next governor when he blurts out that he's opposed to oil drilling. Bub mysteriously disappears (just like his erstwhile opponent) and Percy steps in. You won't believe what happens next....

I must correct the reviewer who claimed an "inexcusable error": Katherine Harris was, indeed, Florida's last ELECTED Secretary of State, elected in 1998 before voter-mandated Cabinet reforms took effect in 2002. Besides which, we all know Clarissa Hightower is a fictional character ... right? Hmmm? (And I agree with her about everything else.)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christabel on October 22, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Loved this book. The thinly veiled Bush boys are an hilarious parody of political life in my great state of Florida. However, I am shocked that a Florida journalist would represent the secretary of state character (best character in the book) as running for an elected office. No way! Secretary of State in Florida is an appointment by our governor, ie. Katherine Harris was appointed by Jeb Bush (as is Glenda Hood now, heaven help us) to oversee Florida elections. Actually, this fact makes Florida politics almost as ridiculous as the book, doesn't it?
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Conrad on November 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I started out expecting to hate this book. Another liberal reporter, making fun of The President. How predictable. I'll say it right here: I was wrong. Bub, the character modeled after President George W. Bush, is likeable, funny and engaging, and maybe not so dumb as some people might think, after all. The more you learn about Bub, the more you root for him, and the next thing you know, it's 3 in the morning and you've got to be at work by 8 but you've got to finish it, so you stay up anyway. Well done, from start to finish. Highly recommended.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Fran Shaw on November 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was told Black Sunshine was set aboard a sailboat, and as a sailor, I had to run out to take a look. Boy, am I glad I did! S.V. Date knows his sailing stuff, from an easy, afternoon reach on a breezy afternoon to fighting monster, storm-driven waves in the Gulf Stream. Without giving anything away, the ending was absolutely spectacular! More sailing in your books, please, Mr. Date.
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