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Sleeping Dogs Hardcover – April 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312367848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312367848
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,926,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Shamus-winner Gorman (Fools Rush In) puts his experience as a political speechwriter to good use in this entertaining first of what appears to be a new series. Dev Conrad, a cynical yet idealistic political consultant, signs on for the re-election bid of Sen. Warren Nichols of Illinois after Nichols's longtime consultant and ally, Phil Wylie, leaves in a bitter dispute with the candidate and later commits suicide. Nichols, facing right-wing conservative Jim Lake, finds himself in a tightening race with a major debate looming. The race becomes nasty with dirty tricks, blackmail and even campaign sabotage likely emanating from inside Nichols's staff. While Gorman presents our electoral choices and processes in an often dispiriting and unflattering light, readers will hope his appealing hero will return in future outings beyond the current real-life political campaign season. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Shamus-winner Gorman (Fools Rush In) puts his experience as a political speechwriter to good use in this entertaining first of what appears to be a new series. Dev Conrad, a cynical yet idealistic political consultant, signs on for the re-election bid of Sen. Warren Nichols of Illinois after Nichols's longtime consultant and ally, Phil Wylie, leaves in a bitter dispute with the candidate and later commits suicide. Nichols, facing right-wing conservative Jim Lake, finds himself in a tightening race with a major debate looming. The race becomes nasty with dirty tricks, blackmail and even campaign sabotage likely emanating from inside Nichols's staff. While Gorman presents our electoral choices and processes in an often dispiriting and unflattering light, readers will hope his appealing hero will return in future outings beyond the current real-life political campaign season. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information --Publishers Weekly

The re-election campaign of an Illinois Senator heats up when his serial fornication tangles him in murder. When his political consultant, Phil Wylie, commits suicide, Senator Warren Nichols hires Dev Conrad to take his place. And just in time, too, because somebody uncomfortably close to the campaign is about to sabotage Warren's televised debate against Jim Lake in an exceptionally nasty and inventive way. Hard-nosed Dev thinks the power behind this latest dirty trick may be Lake's legendary dirty trickster R.D. Greaves. But Greaves has bigger fish to fry, as he indicates when he demands $1 million for a videotape that proves conclusively that Warren's bed-hopping past extends to the present. Warren swears he can't come up with that much cash; Greaves insists he won't take a penny less. Dev, stuck in the middle, is preparing to offer Greaves a fraction of what he's demanding when his plans are suddenly changed by the news that Greaves has been murdered. Now his headache over whether he can bargain Greaves down is replaced by a much bigger worry: What's happened to that tape?The setup, characters and mystery are all standard fare. But veteran Gorman (Fools Rush In, 2007, etc.) provides rewardingly dry-eyed political savvy without the bloat of most novelists who patrol this turf. The prose is pared so close to the bone that it makes Elmore Leonard look positively garrulous. --Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lee Goldberg VINE VOICE on April 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
SLEEPING DOGS by Ed Gorman proves the old adage that you can't tell a book by it's cover. He has been stuck with the ugliest St. Martin's cover in recent history. It's a damn shame, because his book deserves more thoughtful packaging-- a LOT more. It's a biting, fast-moving, darkly funny mystery set inside a Senatorial campaign. The hero is Dev Conrad, a political consultant who knows how to play the game and is growing increasingly uncomfortable with the lies, hypocrisy, and self-delusion inherent in his job.

Ed not only gives us an inside look at the dark side of campaigning, he also offers a good puzzle, too, where the "bad guys" are fully fleshed-out characters who aren't that much different than the "good guys." And after countless books about tortured cops, PIs and forensic scientists...not to mention an endless number of amateur sleuths...Dev Conrad is a fresh, unconventional protagonist. The timing for this book couldn't be better...but, based on the cover treatment and lack of publicity support, I fear the publisher isn't in a position to take advantage of the opportunity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Boulden on July 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Ed Gorman is Mr. Reliable when it comes to delivering well-written and entertaining novels, no matter the genre, and SLEEPING DOGS is no exception. It is a mystery--part whodunit, part political thriller, part suspense novel, and as a whole very fun.

Dev Conrad is an experienced political consultant leading the reelection campaign of Senator Warren Nichols--a liberal senator who, more often than not, is on the right side of the issues (as far as Dev Conrad is concerned), but also, to Conrad's annoyance, he has difficulty keeping his pants secured around his waist. When the man Dev replaced unexpectedly commits suicide and the senator is poisoned Dev finds himself in a troubling situation. He needs to figure the set-up without tipping the press, the police, or anyone else who might harm the senator's chance for reelection.

SLEEPING DOGS is one of the best mystery novels I've read this year, and there are two significant reasons why. The first is the protagonist. Dev Conrad is a well-developed character who is irreverent, tough, humorous with a dry and dark wit, and annoyingly (at least to himself, but never to the reader) sanctimonious. He knows the political mean streets and while he takes his job seriously he never takes the play-acting and posturing that is politics seriously. He is an average man who has hopes, dreams, problems, a broken family, and hell, even trouble getting a date.

The second is the background and setting. The atmosphere of the political campaign feels authentic. Ed Gorman is a former political speech-writer and if some of what he writes about in SLEEPING DOGS--campaign infighting, cynicism and the foibles of running a massive public relations front--aren't based on his experiences the reader will never know because it looks and feels real.
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Format: Hardcover
This novel purports to be sort of an insider account of a political campaign, narrated by political consultant Dev Conrad. He is hired by an Illinois Senator running for reelection following the suicide of the original consultant about three weeks before Election Day. It is rife with all kinds of trade jokes and wry comments about past and contemporary politicians.

The only problem is the question of how accurate some of these observations, criticisms and comments are. For instance, amid plenty of criticism of former President Clinton is this statement: "The only time I'd felt any support for Clinton after the first term was when the other side had tried to impeach him..." The fact is Bill was impeached, just not convicted. It's that kind of lack of expertise that raises the question of authenticity in the rest of the story.

Conrad's problem is that the Senator, like Clinton, just couldn't keep his zipper closed and he is videotaped in bed with a bimbo. Conrad's job now becomes how to defuse this potential bombshell. The descriptions of over-all campaign strategy, interactions of the staffs, and ploys and counter-ploys of the opposing candidates and their campaigns are well done. And there is at least one murder and some mysteries to be solved along the way. For a reader looking for some light and amusing reading, this book is recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Most books about politics tend to be thrillers. A quiet, incisive meditation on the seductiveness of the power that a political office confers, the people it attracts, and the way it all plays out is unusual. But Sleeping Dogs by Ed Gorman is exactly that. No plots to blow up the White House unfold; no bio-terrorists loom. Instead, this novel looks at an Illinois Senate race from the perspective of political consultant, Dev Conrad, an operative who's only too realistic about what politicians are like. Dev stays in the game though it often sickens him. He's good at it, and on some level, he likes the political arena, always hoping to find a politician he can promote for more than a paycheck.
Sleeping Dogs has a cast of characters that turns out to be multifaceted and complicated. No one is exactly what he/she first appears to be. In Sleeping Dogs, the actions are in proportion to the actors, each scene inexorably follows the one before it. I hope we run into Dev Conrad again, working for a politician he can like. One of the most interesting questions posed in the novel was this: what do you do if you like the voting record and the political stance of a candidate, but not the person him/herself? That's a question we need to think about. This was a terrific book.
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