Top critical review
Really Murdering The Capitol - and Literature
on April 28, 2012
I sometimes read this sort of pulp; it has many readers, and I find myself wondering what I've missed. And once again I find I haven't missed all that much. Is such books, the characters are an inch deep, the prose is often more than clunky, and the stories are filled with gratuitous sex and violence, and Capitol Murder is no exception. Here's there's a terroristic plot to kill lots of U.S. citizens, and there's more-than-mild corruption and intrigue within Federal government organizations. About story specifics I won't say more.
All this leads me to wonder what draws people to read such books. First, I think, there's the sex and violence. Then there's the gut-level actions and reactions of the characters, which appeals to the baser instincts of readers. But the primary draw here is the twists and turns of the plot. Readers enjoy trying to outthink the writer as he or she unearths plots, murders, terroristic acts, and the like. And Margolin does provide this, along with a fairly accurate depiction of Washington D.C., both political and architectural.
What's bad about such books is that they do a good job of inflaming gut-level passions against various government organs while paradoxically inflating the U.S.'s moral base against other nations, against supposed enemy groups, and even against various religions. In other words, they're doing FOX News' work for them.
This is hardly literature, working as it does against the elevation of the human spirit and experience. But there is a remarkable level of intelligence at work here. If only it could be put to more constructive use.