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Dead Politician Society: A Clare Vengel Undercover Novel [Kindle Edition]

Robin Spano
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When the mayor keels over dead in the middle of a speech, a clandestine student society immediately takes credit for his demise. Their mission is to create a perfect political system by any means at their disposal. Clare Vengel, a rookie officer fresh from the police academy and beyond bored with her routine as a beat cop, volunteers to go undercover as a student to infiltrate the secretive organization. A streetwise amateur mechanic, Clare takes a dim view of book smarts—she is of the opinion that higher education is for people who can't handle the real world. In short order, she alienates a popular professor and begins to lose the respect of her police superiors. Soon, another politician is killed, and Clare steps up her clandestine involvement with the suspect students. When two more politicians die, the race begins to apprehend the culprits before her own duplicity can be revealed.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Shades of The Mod Squad: Clare Vengel, a rookie Toronto police officer, is sent undercover as a university student to ferret out those responsible for murdering several politicians. But the case gets tougher when Clare finds herself becoming involved with one of the prime suspects. This is an engaging crime novel, if perhaps a bit too reliant on familiar themes, such as the antagonistic sergeant and the plucky newspaper reporter who risks her life to get the big story. It’s intended to be the first in a series, and Clare is certainly a strong enough character to take the lead. All she needs is a little stronger material. --David Pitt


"A clever, well-plotted murder mystery that introduces a sexy, profane and appealing young cop heroine in Clare Vengel, and entertainingly skewers politics, politicians, and university poli-sci majors alike."  —Kim Moritsugu, The Restoration of Emily 

"[A fast-paced, readable debut . . . Spano has created an enjoyable read, which bodes well for future entries."  —Quill & Quire

Product Details

  • File Size: 1231 KB
  • Print Length: 339 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1550229427
  • Publisher: ECW Press (September 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00466HQTW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,189 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever twist on traditional mystery November 14, 2010
In her first undercover assignment, rookie cop Clare Vengel is tasked to infiltrate a university group that may be responsible for the public deaths of local politicians.
Clare is bold and brash, and convinced that she has what it takes to work undercover. Whether her certainty stems from youthful enthusiasm or naivete, she quickly discovers that it's harder than it looks. A little too concerned with her handler's opinion, rather than improving her rather inept investigative skills, I would have preferred more active competence over edgy attitude to give her credibility as the heroine. It wasn't until I was approaching the last quarter of the book that I felt she really took on the role as the primary protagonist.
However, Spano skilfully employs multiple viewpoints in Dead Politician Society, and these characters and their part in the story were intriguing. Matthew the misogynist professor, Annabel the ambitious reporter, Laura the first victim's ex wife and Jonathon, the lovesick student are all somehow entangled in the murders. Spano presents their perspectives in alternating chapters which allows us to see connections that Clare can't show us. Each of these characters then introduce other players in the mystery creating an everwidening pool of possibilities. It's challenging, initially, to make sense of the web of information and characters but Spano weaves the details together with a skilled hand.
The Canadian political system is similar to ours here in Australia, and that familiarity helped I think though really the political system plays a very small part in the story. Politics are not normally an interest of mine, though I can certainly empathise with the anger and frustration against government representatives that drives the murderer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Snappy, Smart & Edgy Chick Mystery September 18, 2010
By Coffee
With its almost vintage 1950s mystery cover, a la graphic novel, I was intrigued.

Clare is just past the age of twenty-one and is a police officer working boring breaking and entering cases and somehow gets a crack at going undercover when the local mayor dies at a political event. Reasons abound for Clare to become a student at the University of Toronto, and her Political Science class offers more than enough suspects to find a killer who has made killing politicians a priority to spread the word about a secret society that won't stand for two-faced elected representatives. Clare can carry a weapon, fix a car, and make rookie mistakes in her first chance to wear a different identity.

I have to admit, I was worried to read it because I had a little bit of a preconceived notion that I might not like it. The story line sounded interesting, but for some reason, I thought it wasn't up my alley -- within the first few pages, I was hooked and read it in one sitting, laughing and enjoying the ride along the way. The chapters change from one character's perspective to another, and although it took me a few chapters to feel a little comfortable with it, I fell right into it and had a blast with this. The dialogue was snappy and natural, and the characters were developed and interesting -- Clare's interactions with her "handler," a more senior officer were frustrating and hilarious. I mean, could he just say one nice thing or pat her on the back just once? I wanted her to tell him off but I relished each time she had to meet with him.

Robin Spano has put together exactly what you want in a murder mystery with a strong chick as the lead who's just getting her feet wet in all things law and order. I probably never would have thought to pick up this book and I'm glad I did. You can better believe it when I tell you that I'm amped and ready to read book two when it comes out.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart and Sassy New Canadian Sleuth September 2, 2010
ECW has an established reputation for non-traditional, award-winning crime fiction, among its notable authors, Anne Emery and Jon Redfern. This bold Canadian press has found another winner in Robin Spano and her new book, DEAD POLITICIAN SOCIETY. It's smart and sassy, with a predilection for tilting at sacred cows and a wry sense of humour. No establishment idea or institution is beyond the reach of this clever satire.
Clare Vengel, a young rookie cop in Metro, is tagged for an intriguing and challenging assignment: go undercover in the University of Toronto and infiltrate a popular, avant-garde Political Science class taught by Professor Matthew Easton. As Clare dismounts her Triumph in front of the ubiquitous doughnut shop, she kicks off the action: "The sun was shining, the mayor was dead, and Cloutier wanted to talk to her."
Not only is the mayor dead, but the murderer is gloating, having sent an e-mail to the Obits department at the newspaper. The hypocritical and corrupt official's crimes are outlined, with the hint that his death is only the beginning of a mysterious vendetta. The note is signed by the sinister Utopia Girl, avatar for the Society for Political Utopia. The faceless girl ramps up the action with a running challenge to ambitious freshman Annabel at the paper, who hides the ongoing correspondence from her annoying boss Penny in the hopes of jumpstarting her career with a huge story.
Easton's elite class yields a clutch of suspects as the students form a mock Parliament with three parties: "Commies, Rednecks, and Tree Huggers," a seriocomic tip of the hat to left-wing Canadian politics. Their assignment is to choose a leader, formulate a platform by making auspicious alliances and present a controversial piece of legislation for the end of the term.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed
I do hate not finishing books and have to admit, it was difficult for me to finish this one. I did enjoy how each chapter gave the reader a different viewpoint from different... Read more
Published on April 13, 2012 by LegacyinPrint
2.0 out of 5 stars Review of Dead Politician Society by Robin Spano
I received this book for review by Crazy Book Tours. It's not my typical kind of read, but it took place in Toronto, and I had the urge to participate in some book blog tours. Read more
Published on December 9, 2011 by Gwenyth Love
3.0 out of 5 stars not a bad debut
Clare Vengel is a first year police officer in Toronto. She is sent undercover at a University as a poli-sci major to find out if any students or teachers are involved in the... Read more
Published on March 19, 2011 by bookmagic
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead Politician Society: A Clare Vengel Undercover Novel
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wasn't so sure about yet another female protagonist when I started reading, but after only a few pages in I was completely taken by Clare Vengel,... Read more
Published on February 6, 2011 by Roy Innes
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Canadian Mystery!
Dead Politician Society is a great page-turner with a flawed, but tough heroine. I enjoyed that the author switched to a different character's perspective with each chapter. Read more
Published on December 20, 2010 by Nora McFarland
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Mystery With Heaps of Energy
Rookie police officer, Clare Vengel is on her first undercover assignment, which she is determined to get right. And really, how hard can it be? Read more
Published on December 19, 2010 by Debra Purdy Kong
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lighthearted mystery
Have you ever changed purses for the season and unexpectedly found a twenty dollar bill in the bottom of your old purse? Read more
Published on October 18, 2010 by Kelli of I'd So Rather Be Reading
4.0 out of 5 stars a great 'escape' read with murder and mayhem!
I am excited to be reviewing Dead Politician Society by Robin Spano today on Acting Balanced! Not just because I like the book and the main character, Clare Vengel, but because I... Read more
Published on September 27, 2010 by Acting Balanced
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, suspenseful, loved every page
This book made me think, made me laugh, and most importantly kept me guessing until the end.
Loved the heroine and her sarcastic, unique take on things, loved the story and... Read more
Published on September 4, 2010 by Erin Kawasaki
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More About the Author

Robin grew up in downtown Toronto. She loves books, poker, politics, and exploring on the water. She also loves her motorcycle, a 1987 Virago she bought with waitressing tips when she was 21.

Her historical role model is Winston Churchill, more for his independent thinking than his drinking. Her secret dream was to be one of Charlie's Angels, but since real life danger terrifies her, she writes crime fiction instead.

She is married to a man who hates reading and encourages her endlessly. They live in Lions Bay, BC


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