A grieving man disappears with the body of his dead bride and imperils his father's bid for the presidency.
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Above the Fold
Above the Fold
Gov. Frank F. Cotton is out of his mind. He has learned of his son’s nighttime ghoulishness and panic has set in. It is the kind of sordid scandal that can bring about ruin. He’s seen good men go down in flames for less. Howard Dean with the animal scream in 2004. Edmund Muskie with the phantom tear in 1972. And if press got a hold of this? Frank F. will not let it happen.
Thomas Cashman is thinking outside the box. Given the circumstances, he finds this idea deliciously funny. A mercenary with secrets of his own, his top priority is to find young Calvin Cotton and his stiffening bride. Thomas has an unorthodox idea. He will enlist the aid of washed up novelist Billy Baylor to help understand what motivates the deranged young man he seeks. Billy Baylor is drinking whiskey in a scrubby, downtown bar. Ultimately, he is happy because he will probably die in his sleep. It could be tonight. It could be tomorrow. Either way, it will be peaceful. He has published twelve novels and invented a new genre. He likes to call it “suburban necrophilia.” Billy Baylor has made a career out of writing about the extreme measures a man will take when pushed to madness by the loss of a love. Only one of his novels had a happy ending. He regards it as his one failure. Since his wife and daughter were killed in a car wreck, he doesn’t believe in happy endings. Set in the early days of the primary season, "Dirt" is a fast and ugly tale of the treachery and desperation behind an American campaign. The hunt for Calvin Cotton is a sordid thrill ride along the same frozen back roads where candidates smile, shake hands and try to keep their secrets buried. In the bid for the most powerful position in the world, one man’s dirt is another man’s gold.
Again, the mysterious stranger grinned. He twisted on his
stool to gain more intimate ground.
“I came to talk to you. You’re Billy Baylor, celebrated author
and dedicated drinker. I need your help.”
Billy took a sip of his beer and stared toward the other end of
the bar. He was intrigued but stoic. He’d sooner chew the glass
before him and swallow it than reveal interest to this
wisecracking stud in what looked like an Armani suit.
He turned to the grinning man beside him.
“What do you want, Tanqueray? You’re a little old to be
working on a term paper.”
Still smirking, Thomas Cashman nodded.
“A man of little patience. I appreciate that. Let me get right
to it. I work for some powerful people. One of them has run into
a thorny situation over in Boblin and I was asked to help. The
nature of this trouble is such that I am coming to you for
assistance. Because of your particular area of expertise.”
Billy snorted with the beer halfway to his lips. “You mean
“No. I mean the removal of a dead person from a grave.
Inspired by love, of course.”
The rim of the glass was at his lips now, but Billy stopped.
His entire framework of muscles seemed to stop working,
including his heart. It was such an odd thing to hear in this place
where nobody talked about his work.
“Tell me more,” he said with a voice that was a little coarser
for the whiskey, “about the man with the purloined bride.”
“I will,” Cashman said. “Take a ride with me.”
Midwest Book Review
"Another provocative, engrossing, fast-action novel by Mark LaFlamme! Greed, deceit, unscrupulous politicians, a stolen corpse, and a tragically sympathetic protagonist blend together to deliver a winning story you won't be able to put down.
The author, also a journalist, ably captures the 'dirt' of American politics of our turbulent times. If you've ever wondered what happens behind the curtains of a presidential election, you must pick this one up!"
--Mayra Calvani, Midwest Book Review
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