Clarissa Jennings has climbed the political ladder from campaign aid to campaign manager and now she's made it into an elective office of her own as a state senator in Minnesota. Clarissa has been a popular senator and has made great strides in getting her legislation passed and helping her constituents solve their most pressing concerns. When US Representative Alex Hogan throws his hat into the ring for the Minnesota governorship, Clarissa knows that the doofus that she helped get elected to his first term in office is in no way qualified to run their state, so she does the only logical thing and throws her own hat into the ring for their party's nomination. Let the political games begin!
This is the third book in the Perpetual Campaign series with many characters returning for the new campaign to help defeat the detested Alex Hogan rather than to get him elected.
The character of Clarissa is charismatic, idealistic, honest, populist, and immensely likable in spite of being a politician. No matter which side of the political line you might be, you'd probably want someone like her representing you. If only real politicians could be like her and actually survive the rough political games without losing touch with the people and with her idealism intact.
Most of the political supporting cast is back for this installment, including Clarissa's husband Carter Jennings who has now retired from his consulting career as political advertising guru to become a househusband. Hogan is still the incompetent twerp he's always been and now he's trying to ride that incompetence to an even higher office with the help of some big donors with shady connections. And then there are the politicians and their staffs from the opposing party with their own mud to throw.
There are plenty of dirty tricks, media madness, the unrelenting grind of the political stump, and looks inside the reality of campaign politics to keep the action going.
This book can be read as a stand alone, but for full enjoyment and better understanding of the personalities and histories of the characters, it's recommended that the series be read in order.
Recommended for political junkies and anyone enjoying a story of a political fight with a good guy to cheer on.
The third installment of The Perpetual Campaign is a winner, just like the first two books in the series. Throughout this driving story, I wanted to punch the characters in the face. Even the women. Even the supposed "good guys." Chris Truscott has such a detailed knowledge of the workings of a political campaign that he presents a "you are there" profile of both sides of the agenda. And as I mentioned in an earlier review, he flays both parties with reckless abandon. Left, Right, Center, all portions of the political spectrum kneel before his riveting expose.
One message is clear: winning election or re-election is Job #1. Any community aspirations, altruistic objectives, and even benevolent goals come second to the almighty vote. It is always said that the candidate needs to get in office before they can do any good, but this "perpetual campaign" is fraught with people for whom being elected is paramount.
I greatly admire Mr. Truscott's writing style. His narrative is solid, descriptive situations dynamic, and people flesh and bones, with a few warts thrown in for good measure.
Thanks again, Chris, for a rip-roaring read. The only person who should be upset with you is Clarissa who, by the end of this story, (or the beginning of the next) turns 40. How could you treat her so cruelly?
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Written with the knowledge only an insider can bring, Picking a Fight is a tightly-woven and engaging political thriller about the lengths some politicians will go to for the almighty vote. Fictional as this book is, I found it eye-opening and enlightening.
A fast-paced story made more real with its cast of well-drawn politicians.
Senator Clarissa Jennings gets my vote.
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