An old-school Southerner is recruited to run a political campaign in a dangerous African election.
Clinton Shartelle doesn't seem like a good choice to run a political campaign in Albertia. For one thing, he's American, and Albertia is a small coastal republic in Africa, about to be cut loose from the English Crown. For another, Shartelle is Southern and fiercely proud of it, and his ideas about racial politics veer unpredictably from progressive to rigidly old-fashioned. But Shartelle is the best, and the political future of Albertia is too important to be left to anyone else.
If history is any indication, this first fair election will probably be the country's last. Rich natural resources make it attractive to businessmen on both sides of the Atlantic, opening Albertia up to political corruption. For his part, Shartelle is hired to make sure that a British industrialist's favored candidate wins the presidency. But the opposition is backed by the CIA, for whom murder is just another political tool.
"Ross Thomas is without peer in American suspense." - Los Angeles Times.
"What Elmore Leonard does for crime in the streets, Ross Thomas does for crime in the suites." - The Village Voice.
"Ross Thomas is that rare phenomenon, a writer of suspense whose novels can be read with pleasure more than once." - Eric Ambler, author of The Mask of Dimitrios.
The winner of the inaugural Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award, Ross Thomas (1926-1995) was a prolific author whose political thrillers drew praise for their blend of wit and suspense. Born in Oklahoma City, Thomas grew up during the Great Depression, and served in the Philippines during World War II. After the war, he worked as a foreign correspondent, public relations official, and political strategist before publishing his first novel, "The Cold War Swap" (1967), based on his experience working in Bonn, Germany. The novel was a hit, winning Thomas as an Edgar Award for Best First Novel and establishing the characters Mac McCorkle and Mike Padillo.
Thomas followed it up with three more novels about McCorkle and Padillo, the last of which was published in 1990. He wrote nearly a book a year for twenty-five years, occasionally under the pen name Oliver Bleeck, and won the Edgar Award for Best Novel with "Briarpatch" (1984). Thomas died of lung cancer in California in 1995, a year after publishing his final novel, "Ah, Treachery!"